Fundraising is about people, when dealing with a grant provider you are dealing with a person: Make sure you know who you are talking to – names, addresses, genders. Avoid jargon unless you know the funding provider will understand it.
Tell the truth: Funding providers look at projects and budgets and allocate grants all day every day – assume they know more about it than you do. If you are working too hard making your project seem something it isn’t to fit their criteria, they will spot it! Having said that, it is common to make projects flexible so that they can be adapted to different funding providers.
Be realistic: Don’t pretend you can change the world with £5,000. Funding providers will know you are overstretching what you can deliver and will simply think you can’t manage projects or budgets very well.
Apply to the right fund: Make sure you know what the funding provider’s objectives are and relate your project DIRECTLY to those objectives. Repeat their words and phrases to emphasise connections.
Demonstrate support and need for your project: Show that your local community wants the benefits the project will bring. Demonstrate need by researching statistics if the funding provider needs to concentrate spending in certain areas or on groups of people.
Sell the benefits as well as the problem:
- 33% – write about the problems/issues you want to resolve.
- 33% – Write about project details, costs, time, people and activities.
- 34% – Show the benefit to that particular funding provider – show you can deliver and satisfy both your needs and their needs.
Be professional: Make sure your presentation is good and your figures are up to date. Make sure you know when deadlines are and that you meet them! If they ask for information, provide it.
Be clear what you are asking for: Especially if applying for only part of the total project costs, make it clear what the funding provider is paying for and what the benefits will be.
Be persistent: If you are turned down, find out why. Is it a complete no or are there things you could change to be successful.
Say thank you …. whether you are successful or unsuccessful. It is important to recognise the funding provider’s contribution to any successful project.
And here are some tips on what NOT to do … !
Some ‘don’ts’ when fundraising…
- Don’t send speculative mail-shots or circulars – they will probably be thrown away.
- Don’t make general appeals for funds.
- Don’t send lots of additional material unless the funding provider asks for it – or you have asked if it is OK to send it.
- Don’t make assumptions that the funding provider knows anything about you or your work.
- Don’t re-cycle text from previous applications without thoroughly going over the content – information out of context is easy to spot and suggests a lack of commitment and thoroughness.
- Don’t send an application without being absolutely sure of the suitability of your project for that fund. If in doubt, phone up and ask.
- Don’t send an application without thoroughly checking the accuracy of your budget figures first.
Reproduced with permission of North West Parks Friends Forum