Want to improve your green credentials? Follow these 10 common sense funding tips to improve the quality of your funding applications. Much of the advice can be applied to funding applications of any kind.
1. Is your organisation attractive to potential funders?
Is your organisation efficiently run? Do you have a long-term plan and are you committed to making the project a success? You need to demonstrate to funders that you will be responsible in spending their funds.
2. Set up a project
Rather than a collection of costs, funders want to see that you have given thought to an actual project which demonstrates the following qualities: it has a beginning, middle and end; it has clear activities and beneficiaries; and is made up of something old (experience of applying for funding), something new (an innovative approach); something borrowed (best practice from a project in a different region or sector); and – most importantly for environmental funding – something green (showing sustainability).
3. Find funding
Watch out for your regular Funding News, as well as websites like Funding Central www.fundingcentral.org.uk which can help you identify funding opportunities that match your project’s aims. If you have an idea for a specific project then get in touch with the Funding Team at your local authority and they can tailor a search on Grantfinder or other search site for you.
4. Is it the right funding opportunity for you?
If your project doesn’t meet the aims and objectives of the funding provider’s programme, they can’t support it – no matter how good it is! Make sure you apply to the right programme and demonstrate that you can deliver the funder’s aims well.
5. Really read the guidelines
Make a note of:
- Key dates such as deadline and, if you’re successful, when the funder expects the project to start and when you should have spent the money by;
- Required legal details such as accounts and policies;
- Who is expected to sign the application and whether they will be available to approve sign off on the required day;
- Any ‘hot’ words – words that the funder uses often, that you should mirror back to them – e.g. the funder may be more familiar with the term ‘learner’ rather than ‘trainee’ or ‘delegate’.
6. Mirror funder motivations
Funders want to support those projects that help to deliver their own policy and you need to know what that is! Published information such as annual reports and case studies of previously funded projects can help you identify priorities as can attending funding briefings and conferences which present an opportunity for you to meet funding providers.
7. Structuring your application
Make sure your application is easy to understand. Layout is important here: it is good practice to include: a label – a one sentence introduction that will grab the reader’s attention; a chunk – an introductory paragraph; a list – made up of bullet points and not too text heavy; and a drawing (if allowed) – eg a graph or photograph to help get your point across.
8. Your writing style
Make sure you answer precisely the question that has been asked, avoiding jargon and long words or sentences. Make sure your application comes across as credible – no spelling or grammar mistakes and is accompanied by a budget that adds up and is realistic.
9. A fresh pair of eyes
Using the Funding Team can give you access to a ‘critical friend’ who, using their specialist knowledge of different funding providers, can give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t work in your application. Alternatively, pass your application to a friend or family member who knows little about the project. They will easily spot assumptions about knowledge and any poorly described areas.
10. Avoiding failure
Funding providers say that the majority of funding applications fail due to one or more of the following reasons: they simply weren’t eligible for support; the application was incomplete; there had been a lack of consultation with the people who were set to benefit from the funding; there were concerns about contingency; and there was a lack of dissemination demonstrated regarding project outcomes.
Whatever the nature of your project, whether your project is large or small, using Grantfinder, the Funding Team can help you identify suitable funding opportunities that best match your project’s aims.
Tips thanks to The Green Grant Machine – www.greengrantsmachine.co.uk
Reproduced with permission of North West Parks Friends Forum