Read this before you start - Its worthwhile to bear this in mind!
Ineligible Applications: The Wasted Work of the Voluntary Sector
Directory of Social Change has published research indicating that over one-third of applications to UK charitable grant-makers are ineligible, according to the funders. That's over 360,000 applications in one year - wasted time and effort! Read more at http://bit.ly/dcswapp and http://bit.ly/dscggiv
Background Work - Gathering Information
It is very unlikely that you will only ever want to get funding once. It is therefore important to do some basic groundwork and file this information for future use. This will make the role of applying for funding a lot easier next time.
Begin collecting the following information on:
Write a short history of your group. How it started, what it set out to achieve, how it has grown and the achievements along the way.
Show how decisions are made and lines of responsibility. Keep accurate, up-to-date information about the numbers of trustees, paid staff and volunteers.
Keep copies of Annual Reports, Accounts and important policies and procedures for example, equal opportunities.
Keep details about what users have said about your organization in surveys or thank you letters. Keep letters of support from other organizations.
Facts and Figures
There are two sets of very important statistics. Details about the community in which you work and details about your clients and how the two relate. For example, you may be working with vulnerable clients in an area of high deprivation. Highlight the deprivation issues and show how your work relates to address that need.
For each project produce clear information about:
- The need for the project
- The project objectives
- How these objective fit in to your groups overall aims
- Start and finish dates, or how you will continue this project in the future (an exit strategy)
- How you will measure the success of the project
- The expected benefits or outcomes of the project. Use detailed statistics
- What outside partners will contribute and their details
- Collaboration with other groups or agencies
Involve others in the Planning Process
The most successful projects are those which are fully understood and owned by the organization. Developing ideas, collecting information and monitoring progress is best done as part of a team. However, when it comes to writing the funding application it is best if one person is tasked with completing this part of the exercise (although others should review the application before it is sent to the funders)
As well as members of your organization it is sometimes a good idea to get other interested parties involved, for example, your local authority, other agencies working with a similar client group or service users.