The success of your group depends on its ability to secure the resources needed to make a difference to your beneficiaries lives. This section will help you to develop the skills and knowledge to secure those resources.
Fit for Funding
Before you start applying for grants, you need to make sure that you have the basics in place. Funders need to know that they can trust you with their money, and that your project or organisation is well managed and likely to succeed.
Here are some of the key areas you need to think about. Most funders will need this information!
Legal identity - What legal structure does your group have?
Aims and objectives - Does your group have a clear understanding of its aims and objectives?
Governing document - Is your governing document relevant and up to date?
Management - Is your group well managed?
Policies - Do you have policies in place that cover the work you do?
Insurance - Does your group have insurance to cover its legal responsibilities?
Finances - Does your group have good financial sysstems in place?
Fundraising strategy and business plan - Does your group have a realistic plan in place?
Our Fact Sheet includes further details on being Fit for Funding.
Developing a Fundraising Strategy for Small Groups
It is often assumed that a fundraising strategy is a sophisticated document that is put together by a professional fundraiser, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Put simply, a fundraising strategy is a written plan which details future projects for your group and how you intend to fund them. It helps you to plan for the future, identify actions and timescales and possible funding sources for your work.
The strategy is an internal document for your organisation, so it is up to you how detailed you make the plan and it should be appropriate to your funding needs. If your requirements are very straightforward you may only need one side of A4, but if you have more complex requirements, such as ongoing costs or a large capital project, you will probably need a larger document.
The strategy should cover a timescale that is appropriate to your organisation. Looking ahead 2 to 3 years should give a good overall picture without being too vague. The strategy is intended to be a working document and, in particular, the Action Plan and Opportunity Appraisal should be updated on a regular basis.
The content of each fundraising strategy will vary depending on complexity of project, amount of funding required etc. but each strategy will have some common features.
As a minimum we recommend that you should include the following:
Description of your group’s aims and objectives.
Description of your group’s legal and management structure.
Description of current activities and how they are funded. Case for Support Statement
Why should anyone give money to your group? You need to detail the reasons why a potential funder should support your cause rather than any of the many other worthwhile causes that approach them. In order to do this you need to write and agree an easy to understand and engaging statement that builds your case for support. Future plans
Identify your plans for the future – are you planning to sustain existing services, or expand or contract?
What are your priorities for this future work?
How much funding do you realistically need for each area of work?
When does your current funding run out? When do you need to apply for more? Opportunity Appraisal
What are the realistic opportunities for your group to secure the resources it needs?
Grants, Corporate Giving, Individual Giving, Fees & Charges, Community Fundraising, Volunteering, Contracts, Loans / Social Investment. Action Plan & Resources
An action plan should detail the actions you will carry out in relation to raising funds.
The plan should include details of who will carry out the action and by when.
Any resources needed to carry out the action need to be identified.
Our Fact Sheet includes further details on developing a Fundraising Strategy and an action plan template.
Searching for Funding
Searching for funding can be a time consuming exercise, regardless of the type of project or the level of funding required.
The funding landscape can be fast-moving with opportunities that have short timescales, new funding sources being launched and existing funding sources coming to an end. Knowing how to find this information and keeping up to date with new initiatives will give you the best chance of being successful.
Northumberland CVA is able to offer one-to-one advice and support to voluntary and community groups and organisations within Northumberland. We also organise regular funding events that allow local groups to meet with local, regional and national funders.
In addition we produce a number of resources:
Our Ebulletin - with information on funding news and events.
Deadline dates - includes known deadlines for funders with an interest in Northumberland.
Funding News - news articles with a relevance to funding.
Funding Search Engines
Most organisations charge fees for access to funding search engines but a number are provided for free.
Funding Central – www.fundingcentral.org.uk (Free to organisations with an income below £100,000)
Grants4Northumberland – www.grants4.info/northumberland/
North East Guide to Grants for Voluntary Organisations - www.vonne.org.uk/funding-and-support
This guide (often referred to as the FINE guide) is an easy to use book detailing over 100 Charitable Trusts and Foundations that have a significant grant-making presence in the North East of England
Directory of Social Change - www.dsc.org.uk/publications/
Produces a wide range of books including The Directory of Grant Making Trusts, The Guide to New Trusts and The Guide to Major Trusts.
A number of funders produce their own newsletters which provide information on available funding and recent awards.
Our Fact Sheet includes further details on searching for funding.
Getting further support