Funding tips 4 & 5

This guest article is by Corinna Hartwig and Julia Witting of Funding Doctors. Funding Doctors is a social enterprise which provides practical advice and support for other social enterprises, community groups and small charities looking for funding or help with business planning.


The Funding Doctors continue with the third in their series of 7 Top Tips for successful fundraising, telling you all you need to know to pull off a successful project — whether it is starting up your very own out of school club, adding an additional service or securing funding for new resources.

Tip 4: Failing to plan is planning to fail

You'll need a Business Plan, a Fundraising Strategy, a Budget and Financial Plan, a Project Plan and a Communications Plan. You'll need to develop processes: reporting to stakeholders, running consultations, tendering for supplier bids. Sounds excessive? It's not! It's vital preparation for a successful bid. You'll need all this to ensure that you manage your club smoothly and to provide evidence to potential funders that you and your club are credible and likely to succeed.

Create an Evidence Dossier too. Document the history of your club - how much is it needed and loved? Gather letters of support from local stakeholders — local councillors, the church, the school and childminders and the parents — and the children too!

Don't forget to plan for post implementation. Your project won't stop on opening day. Think about the sustainability of your club. For example, What on-going costs will there be? Have you budgeted everything, including your salary and insurance?

Tip 5: Take a long hard look at your team

Build a core team for your fundraising project who believe in the vision and support each other, and will stick with it to the end — a team that won't take no for an answer.

Hopefully you've got a team including willing volunteers already. Do a 'skills audit'. You'll need all sorts of skills in your team: leadership, project management, creativity, researchers, negotiating, relationship managers, volunteer managers, scrap-bookers, fundraisers, event managers, financial management, technical, marketing, communicating, practical do-ers. Have you got skills gaps? The Funding Doctors can help you do a skills audit.

Give everyone 'job descriptions' so that everyone is focussed on doing their bit and you don't get dependent on a single employee or volunteer who is too overloaded. Use all this information to help you manage your fundraising project efficiently, and to demonstrate credibility and competency to funders.

Evidence of volunteer/community involvement is a key theme in many funders' criteria, so try to involve the community as much as possible at all stages of the project. Put a value on the donations of time and expertise to show funders what you have achieved already and to show your stakeholders just how much the real cost of your efforts is.

Don't forget that everybody working with children needs to be DBS checked!

Related articles

Top funding tips
Funding tips 2 & 3
Funding tips 6 & 7
Developing your funding mix strategy