Posted tagged ‘voluntary and community sector’

Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: Step Ten

May 27, 2012

Final Read-through

If you’ve followed the first nine steps (plus the odd addition along the way), your bid should be in pretty good shape.  Quite rightly, the Ten Steps blog finishes with Step Ten, and covers the final read-through.  It’s a rather more important stage than you may have assumed!


Successful Bid-writing: The Power of Words

December 9, 2011

Ah, the power of words.  I was running a course on tendering for local authority contracts in Devon a couple of months ago, and on the evaluation forms one participant wrote “I never realised that the WORDS mattered so much.”  It raised a wry grin from me … well actually I had to supress a bit of a laugh.  Just what else do we have to persuade a funder to give us money?  Videos, slideshows, photo-montages are all well and good but I’m yet to find a charitable trust or foundation that doesn’t still want something written down! (more…)

Corporate Fundraising – is it possible in a recession?

January 13, 2011

I promised in the last blog to come back and cover unit costing in a little more depth.  But before that I’d like to divert briefly from the Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid, and say a little bit about corporate fundraising in difficult recession times.

I’ve been developing a new training course with my colleague Margaret MacKenzie of The Swan Company ( – strapline “taking the cold out of calling!”).  She’s an expert in business-to-business relationship building, and we’ve come together to combine specialisms and to help charities and VCOs to find ways of extracting cash from businesses. 

So will a business, facing another difficult year, stump up funds to a local charity?  We would argue that it depends on how you approach them.  And this highlights a really bad habit that I think VCOs fall into.  We tend to focus on what WE need, and how brilliant OUR project is, and we think that this is enough to convince the whole world to be hugely impressed and instantly give us all the funds we need.  Well here’s the reality check – it ain’t that easy.  Businesses are not charities and they aren’t grant-making bodies.  They need a reason to give out their hard-earned cash, especially at the moment.

And what we will be helping VCOs to explore in our new training course, is how to show the businesses that there are good solid reasons, and that supporting a local charity can make good business sense.  We need to think not about what we need, but what we can offer.  This also has the advantage of making the relationship a more equal partnership, rather than one of supplicant and benefactor.

So we’ve got some guinea-pigs coming along to the first “Cracking the Corporate Coffers” day on January 19th, and I’m happy to write more on this topic if it’s of interest.  Click through to my website for details of the training course

Next time though, it’s back to the Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid.  I think we’re up to 8b!

©  Tamara Essex 2011

Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 6

June 20, 2010

Demonstrate Your Track Record: 

As well as having a superb project that exactly hits the priorities of your chosen funder, any charitable trust or foundation needs to feel confident that your organisation is robust and that you have the capability to successfully manage the project you are proposing.

Spell out that your organisation is robust, has delivered a range of projects successfully before, and has managed budgets of a similar size.  List a few specific projects that have worked well.   If this is a larger project than you have managed before, use other ways of demonstrating that you have the skills – you might have a Trustee with a financial background, or a member of staff who managed large projects in their previous job, or a Trustee who works for a larger organisation and manages large budgets, for example.   (more…)

Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: step 5

January 11, 2010


Oh this is a big topic!  Getting to grips with inputs, outputs and outcomes is a whole two-day training course – more than can be dealt with in a short blog!   Still, I’ll do my best 🙂     (more…)

Passing the test is not the same as learning to drive …..

November 14, 2009

Doing GCSE Spanish last academic year was quite frustrating at times, as the curriculum was focussed on passing the GCSE exams, rather than on improving our Spanish.  Being an Adult Education class, most of the attenders had homes or family in Spain, or travelled there frequently for work, and were interested in genuine communication.  However our homework kept focussing on “work experience”, “penfriends”, and “hobbies”.  Fair enough I suppose, because that’s what the exams focussed on.

This week I’ve been developing course materials for an NVQ course in community development.  I’m delivering the Fundraising and Resources for Community Groups elements.  But instead of being able to actually practice different tasks within writing effective fundraising bids, the participants must complete “worksheets” that demonstrate that they have been told the theory of writing bids, and that they have understood what they have been told.  Not that they have tried it out for themselves!  Indeed such are the constraints that I have even needed to drop some practical sessions from my regular course, in order to fit in a simple worksheet to cover the differences between core funding, revenue funding, and capital funding.  A section which would take a minute and a half in my normal “Ten Steps to the Perfect Fundraising Bid” course.

But I must be fair on the participants, and whilst I’m sure they would rather learn the practicalities, they also need to pass their NVQs in order to get themselves jobs as Community Development Workers, before they can help voluntary and community groups with their fundraising.  And they need to “evidence their learning” with these completed worksheets.  So that is how I will deliver the course. 

But I’d rather ensure they knew how to help our struggling rural community organisations REALLY to write the perfect fundraising bid!