Guidance on grant fundraising
If you can't ask parents to support yet another event or
you need to cover the cost of a larger project, then applying to a
GRANT MAKING TRUST is probably the solution for you. Ben Wittenberg
explains just how simple the process can be.
Read the full article in the summer 2013 edition of
Head to our sister site, FundEd, to find out how to access our database
of grants for schools.
Grant making trusts are charities, which exist to give away
money through grants to other organisations that actually do the
work. Collectively they give approximately £4 billion in the UK
The first step
Know what you want to do, in terms that will help you identify a
like-minded funder willing to support you so you can find the right
trust. Most funders will have criteria based on one or more of the
Prospective funders can be found by:
Checking your local authority - their website may have a grant
finding search engine
Get some direction from your local Council for Voluntary Service
either online or in person (navca.org.uk).
Using a search engine to find information about who is funding
similar work in your area.
The Directory of Social Change publishes a number of print
directories of grant makers, most of which will be available at
your local library, or can be bought from dsc.org.uk.
Create your shortlist
This is the only really tricky part of the process - narrowing
your list down to a handful of funders that are right for you. The
best thing about grant making trusts is that there are thousands of
them, all funding different things in different ways, which means
you are highly likely to find a potential funder, no matter what it
is you want to do. The worst part is exactly the same. Find out
absolutely everything you can about the trusts you have identified
and to make sure you are eligible. The resources above will help
with this, some trusts may have their own website, and you can find
more information about them via the Charity Commission website (charitycommission.gov.uk).
Improving your chances
Each grant making trust will have slightly different criteria
for funding - look out for:
areas of interest
limits to the size of grant they will give
the types of organisation they support
who they have funded before.
This should get you to a point where you are ready to start
applying to a targeted list of funders with whom you have a very
good chance of success. As a rule, if you don't meet a
trust's stated criteria, don't apply to it.
The numbers game
Decide how many applications to make, and for how much.
If your project is within the parameters of a number of trusts,
then apply to all of them.
If your shortlist has a handful of trusts that give a maximum
grant of £25,000 and you are looking for £75,000, consider making
multiple applications for part-funding. Be aware of the application
timescales they all work to, and be prepared for what you'll do if
you only get part of the money you are asking for.
The easy bit - writing the application - you know what you want
to do, you know who will benefit from it, and the trust you are
applying to exists to achieve the same things. All you have to do
is communicate that to them really well. If they have an
application form, that will give you the structure and the
information they need to assess your application. If you are asked
to apply 'in writing to the correspondent', don't panic! Keep your
application clear and focus on the following:
Ultimately, all funders only ever want to know two things
from their applicants: will supporting this project help us to
achieve our own objectives? And can the applicant deliver what
Top tips for applying to grant making trusts:
Read the guidelines!
Read the guidelines again!
Do you meet the funder's eligibility criteria? If not, move on
and find one where you do.
If the funder does not have specific guidelines, then try to
ensure you are at least familiar with any geographical preference
the trust may have and note organisations that have been funded in
the past - is their project similar to your own?
If the trust or foundation states that they are willing to offer
help and advice before an application is made, then contact them to
discuss your proposal beforehand - an initial telephone call could
save both of you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
If the funder uses an application form, make sure that you
complete it as fully as you can - incomplete application forms are
likely to be the first ones to be filtered out.
Where no application form is used, be concise in your written
letter of application and include your latest annual report and
accounts. Don't enclose any unnecessary materials at this stage -
most trusts don't have time to read them, and if they are
interested in your proposal they will request this material at a
Application letters should be no more than four sides of A4 -
brevity is the key to getting your application read!
The proposal should be written by someone who has a thorough
understanding of your organisation and the project that you are
requesting funds for - this person should be the named contact,
should a potential funder require further information.
You must be able to demonstrate a need for the funding and be
able to directly relate this to how it will help you serve your
beneficiaries - in this case, the children at your school.
Be realistic about how much you are asking for.
Don't rely on a positive response from a single trust or
foundation - apply to as many relevant funders as you can to
maximise your chances.
Be patient, and be prepared to never receive a reply! Some
funders acknowledge receipt of every application they receive, but
most only contact successful applicants or those that they are
The above is intended as guidance only. We
recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific
reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child
protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held
responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on
the guidance provided.
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