As part of our £10 million celebration, we’ve asked our Director of Grants and Impact, Kate Peters, to share 10 tips applicants can put into practice when applying for a grant through us.
In 2015, the year I joined the Community Foundation, we awarded £800,000 in grants and the total awarded all time was just under £5M. What a lot has happened in four years! It has been a privilege to work with the many voluntary groups and charities which have put £10M to work for our community.
So, applications are vital to our work and putting together a good application is vital for your success. Here are 10 tips to remember when applying for a grant.
- Get your governance sorted – do you have a financial policy and safeguarding policy? Is your Trustee board supportive and knowledgeable? No one chooses to work in a charity because they like admin, but ensuring you have your ducks in a row is vital for your success and securing support from Trusts and Foundations.
- Plan your project – if you have taken time to plan and review your work applying for funding will be easy. You will have all the answers!
- Understand and explain the need – one of the challenges facing groups seeking funding in Surrey is the lack of awareness of the needs hidden in our community. Make sure you tell us how you know there is a real need for your work.
- What difference will what you do make to the lives of the people you support? Being able to describe HOW you achieve the change is the magic which will make our donors want to support you.
- Impact! How will you know if it is working? Show how you will measure the difference you are making. Start small, don’t collect arbitrary data and keep learning at the heart of the process.
- Answer the questions – application forms are not fun but the questions on the form will give you a clue as to how the Funder will make decisions about who to fund. Make sure you answer the questions, just like in an exam!
- Keep it simple – remember your reader does not know your project. What is obvious to you may be a surprise to a donor, so keep it simple and clear, no jargon or acronyms.
- No numbers without stories, no stories without numbers – a case study can be the most compelling element of your application, back it up with evidence, and you are on to a winner.
- Proof-reading – get someone else to read your application before you hit submit, preferably someone who doesn’t know your project as well as you. They will spot any errors.
- Speak from the heart – you can connect with donors by putting your unique, human voice into your application.
Get an application started by sending us an Expression of Interest or call the grants team on 01483 478092. Let’s put another £10M to work!