Funding tips 6 & 7

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 fourth 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 6: Where's all the money going to come from?

If you've done all your preparation, you'll be very well placed to start asking for funding. This is where you need to do your research so you know where to look for the money — and think creatively too. Have a Fundraising Strategy so that you can consider all the types of funding sources and don't get too dependent on any single source — they won't all be successful.

There are many different types of grants available but you will need to identify which you are eligible for. For example your legal structure will affect which grants you can apply for. Other factors include whether you need capital or revenue funding. We recommend that before applying for any grants, you should call the relevant helplines, wherever provided, to ensure that your project would be eligible for funding, and has a good chance of succeeding according to any current areas of focus of the relevant funders.

If your bid is rejected, ask for feedback and learn from any mistakes. Have a "Plan B" already up your sleeve. Whilst the application may not have been successful this time, it may be possible to apply to the same funders at a later date or for another phase.

There are other ways to fund your project apart from grants. Think about the sustainability of your club: how much income will it generate, what expenditure will you have? Don't forget the rent and salaries. Consider partnership working or delivering a certain service or programme as part of commissioning or a contract.

Some resources could be donated, recycled or sourced for next to nothing.

Companies often have a community co-ordinator who can be contacted to provide local support.

Be realistic about the timescales for fundraising and funding. Understand the timetable. Some grant providers takes MONTHS to make a decision!

Stick with your vision and don't be tempted to scale it back or do the project in stages. It's harder to attract money for a project that has already started.

Tip 7: Celebrate!

Make sure you throw a good opening party — that takes some planning too! You'll want to celebrate yourselves, but there's more to the opening party than that. It's a chance to publicly recognise your volunteers and donors with good media coverage. It's also a chance to keep the relationships going - ready for your next project.

It doesn't have to cost much — if you've followed the advice throughout this series, by this stage your project will have attracted such a loyal following that you'll be able to call on local businesses to donate some soft drinks and party food.

Let the local press know the details of the opening in advance as they may be able to send a reporter along; people like to know about good news in their area.

Related articles

Top funding tips
Funding tips 2 & 3
Funding tips 4 & 5
Developing your funding mix strategy