Applying for funding - Top tips
Fundraising is not something you can ignore. People don't get involved in voluntary activity because they want to do fundraising and so, all too often, one or two people find themselves called "The Fundraising Committee" while the rest get on with the "real" work.
If this happens it's likely that the "Fundraising Committee" will get depressed and give up, the organisation won't have enough money to do the "real" work, so other people will get depressed and give up, nobody wins.
Getting the money to do what you want to do is a central part of a group's activity. If everyone takes it seriously, thinks about getting money well in advance of needing it and then puts some time and effort into getting it, the chances are that you will actually find yourselves with the money and the time to get on with the real work.
Help and guidance
So what do you do?
The first thing is to make a shopping list. This may turn out to look like a budget for the next financial year but it is not necessarily that, and it is not the Treasurer's job. The Treasurer keeps track of the money but the group should decide what's needed. Put down everything you might need. This might include:
- Rent of a building
- Rates and insurance on a building
- Money for electricity, gas, phone
- Wages or expenses for volunteers
- Cost of publicity material
- Cost of equipment
- Hire of a hall or room
- Cost of stamps and stationery
There may well be other things! Work out what each of these is going to cost and add it all up. It's then a italictitle of working out who to go to for what.
In general, if you want:
- Salaries and running costs you should look to statutory sources of money or the National Lottery
- One-off items of equipment try trusts or companies
Whatever you do will probably take longer than you imagine. Some statutory grants and other schemes happen once a year and you may need to start planning 18 months in advance. Some trusts only meet once a year. Think ahead. If you're going to go carol-singing round the pubs at Christmas, don't start planning it in mid-December.
It may be better to grow slowly and develop in the direction you want rather than go all out for any money that's around and find yourselves having to cope with a whole lot of bureaucratic red-tape in a game where someone else always makes the rules.
Keep a note of which bodies you've approached, when you approached them, and what the result was. Then you'll know who to go back to, and when. And you won't lose all the precious information about funders that you've painstakingly built up if the person in your organisation who has been writing the letters leaves the group.
Say thank you
If you do get help from someone, thank them. Send them your annual report or press cuttings, tell them what you've done with the money, invite them to come and see what you do, invite them to your Christmas party - whatever seems appropriate. You're trying to build up a relationship with funders so anything you do to increase communication is important.
This information is reproduced with the kind permission of FunderFinder.