Applying For Small Grants
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Applying For Small Grants

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Everything you need to think about BEFORE you fill in the application form

Everything you need to think about BEFORE you fill in the application form

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  • 1. Applying for Small Grants
  • 2. Before You Begin
    • Usually to apply for funding you need to be a constituted group – that just means you need to have a written list of the rules you are going to use to run your group.
  • 3.
    • A constitution usually contains information like:
    • The name of your group
    • The aims and objectives of your group
    • Details of how your governing body is chosen - usually this will be called the Management Committee
    • Details of how people can become members of your group
    • Details of what will happen to any money, equipment or other items of value (assets) that your group owns if you ever decide to wind the group up
    • The date you agreed to accept your constitution/rules
    • Signature of the officers of your committee - officers are committee members with special responsibilities - these are usually the Chair, the Treasurer and the Secretary
  • 4.
    • If you don’t have a constitution at the moment you can get help from the NCVS Group Development Team.
  • 5. You may also need –
    • A bank or building society account – make sure this is in the name of the group and that it needs at least 2 committee members to sign to operate the account. (Although you might find it useful to have more than 2 signatories).
    • An Equal Opportunities Policy or Statement – you can find a simple Equal Opportunities Statement on your disk. This will be fine to be going on with but you may want to develop a fuller policy and procedures over time.
    • A Child Protection Policy – if your group is working or plans to work with people under 18, funders will expect you to have a Child Protection Policy. You can find resources to help you develop an appropriate policy on your disk. ( Or a Vulnerable Adults Policy).
  • 6. What Funders Want To Know
    • Funders vary in the type of projects they will fund, the size of grants they make, their application process and so on – but they all want to know more or less the same things – in more or less detail depending on the size of the grant.
            • WHO is applying?
            • WHAT do they want the money for?
            • WHY is this project necessary?
            • WHO will benefit from the project?
            • HOW will they benefit?
            • HOW will you show that they have benefited?
            • HOW MUCH money will it all cost?
  • 7. FOCUS is important
  • 8.
    • Keeping a clear focus on what you want this particular piece of funding for is very important.
    • Too many groups need lots of different things and find it very difficult to actually explain clearly exactly what they are asking for at the moment.
  • 9.
    • Breaking your needs down into separate projects and answering the questions below for each one, will help you to do this more effectively.
            • WHO is applying?
            • WHAT do they want the money for?
            • WHY is this project necessary?
            • WHO will benefit from the project?
            • HOW will they benefit?
            • HOW will you show that they have benefited?
            • HOW MUCH money will it all cost?
  • 10. Why do Applications Fail?
  • 11. Why do applications fail?
    • These are the top reasons why applications to the BIG lottery Fund fail….
      • Missing information
      • Amount requested outside the programme limits
      • Project does not meet the programme outcomes
      • Project is outside the programme policy
      • No SMART outcomes
      • Need not established
      • Insufficient funds available
    • Please Note: Numbers 1 to 6 are completely under your control.
  • 12. What Makes A Good Application?
    • A close match between the project you need funding for and the type of project that the funder wants to support.
    • Strong evidence that project is needed (and not just wanted).
    • Clear indications that the organisation isn’t working in isolation.
    • Demonstrating an awareness of current priorities.
    • Involvement of the project’s users in the design, implementation and management of the project.
    • Good value for money.
  • 13. Good Fit
    • The best applications tell the funder very clearly that they will be delivering the kind of outcomes that the funder wants to support.
    • Sometimes this means looking at your projects more creatively. For example, if you wanted to recruit young people to work on an environmental project – like clearing a section of canal – you could obviously look at funders who want to support this kind of project.
    • But you can also look at the other outcomes your project will be delivering – which means you could also access other types of funding.
  • 14.
    • Crime – in that you will be providing positive activities that build citizenship and community values, the young people you work with are less likely to become involved in crime.
    • Health – the young people involved in your project will also be taking regular physical exercise – something that strikes a chord with the whole childhood obesity agenda.
    • Education – your project will be building key skills like teamwork, problem solving and communications skills.
    • Looking at the whole range of outcomes from your project – not just your immediate aims – can unlock additional sources of funding.
  • 15. Evidence
    • Being able to demonstrate that your project is needed – rather than just wanted – is increasingly important to funders.
  • 16.
    • A good example is an application for a minibus. Lots of projects want one – but
    • it will cost you a lot of money on an annual basis to keep it on the road
    • unless you are going to be using it more or less all day, every day it represents a huge capital investment that will be lying idle a lot of the time – funders don’t like that.
    Goodbye!
  • 17.
    • Funders want to know that the project you want funding for is based on need - that it’s based on a demand by real people that needs meeting – not just something you think your group would like to do.
    • Unless you’ve consulted your users or potential users, you have NO EVIDENCE that there is a need – or even a desire for what you are proposing.
    • You can also use statistics to demonstrate need .
  • 18.
    • There is an excellent resource for local information on the Nottingham City Council Website called NOMAD
  • 19. Joined Up Working
    • Funders want to know that your group is not working in isolation, that you aren’t trying to duplicate work that’s already being done and that you are making the best use of available resources.
    • This comes down to knowing what’s on your “patch”.
  • 20. Stakeholders
    • Stakeholders is a word that’s bandied about a lot – and it means more that the people who use your project – it includes:
      • Other groups working in your area or community
      • Other groups doing similar types of work
      • Other groups working with similar people
      • Public agencies funding similar types of work or services for similar types of people .
  • 21.
      • You should at least KNOW who your stakeholders are – and ideally you should be talking to them on a regular basis.
      • So that you all know what each other are planning so that you can avoid duplication or competition and identify any opportunities for joint or complementary projects.
  • 22.
    • You should also be engaged with any support organisations that relate to your work – so you get opportunities to network and stay “in the loop” for information about new developments, funding opportunities, available training etc.
    • For example Enable for any projects to do with training or NYON for any projects around children and young people.
  • 23. User Involvement
      • You need to be talking to your beneficiaries on a regular basis. Ask them what their problems are, what they need, what they don’t have access to. Don’t assume you know what’s best for them.
      • Talk to other groups working in your field, or with a similar user group.
      • Contact any national or large local organisations working in your field, or with a similar user group.
      • Talk to people outside the group too – sometimes its hard to see the wood for the trees – and a fresh perspective can be useful – ask them how they’d solve the problem – they may come up with some interesting and imaginative ideas.
  • 24.
    • Increasingly funders are interested in knowing how project users are involved in the design, implementation and management of the project.
    • They are less interested in projects that “parachute in” and more interested in projects that are “owned” by the people they are designed to benefit.
  • 25. Value for Money
    • Good value doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest option – the big out of town carpet superstore may offer the cheapest price per square metre.
    • But a local store, even if a little more expensive, may offer additional benefits, like some free offcuts, friendly staff, ability to fit the carpet in the evening etc. as well as supporting local jobs by keeping the money in the local economy.
  • 26.
    • And, of course, some services just are expensive. The cost of providing a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, for example, is quite high but it could help the two deaf members in your group participate more fully in your activities – but it will be very expensive per head to provide.
  • 27.
    • Just because only a few people will benefit doesn’t mean it’s not good value and it’s not a good reason to cross it off your shopping list.
    • And of course – it could attract more deaf people to access your services .
  • 28.
    • If you have only found half a dozen older people who want to go to a lunch club once a week then a minibus is not a good value solution.
    • Paying for a couple of taxis, using a community transport scheme or providing expenses for volunteer drivers would be much better value solutions.
  • 29.
    • Try working out what it actually will cost to provide your service to each person using it.
    • Are there any better value ways of doing it?
    • Try looking at a range of solutions and costing out what each one would cost to provide
  • 30.
    • Value for money doesn’t mean doing things “on the cheap” – funders want to fund viable, good quality projects.
    • Asking for less money than you really need to do a proper job does not increase your chances of success and could leave you with serious financial problems later.
  • 31. Problem Solving
    • However essentially generous they are – funders are NEVER going to be interested in buying you a minibus, a computer, an admin worker, a community jacuzzi or whatever it is you are asking for.
    • Funders are basically uninterested in what you buy with their money.
    • What funders are really interested in is using their money to solve problems .
  • 32.
    • Funders may be interested, for example, in solving the problem in elderly or disabled people living in isolated areas with no access to facilities or community activities - by providing a minibus to take them to community centres, lunch clubs and trips to the seaside.
  • 33.
    • They may be interested in helping your group to provide a more effective and efficient service by providing you with a computer or some training or an admin worker.
    • You might even be able to sell the idea of a community Jacuzzi if you can demonstrate that it would solve a genuine problem that this particular funder cares about.
  • 34. Problem Solving
    • Some funders are interested in small scale actions that will alleviate the symptoms of a problem – like providing food for local homeless people.
    • Other funders are only interested in larger scale, perhaps national or even international, actions like funding a UK wide hostel building programme.
  • 35.
    • Some funders like quite concrete solutions to problems, others prefer to fund research into the causes and possible solutions to problems.
    • Some funders are only willing to fund work that tackles the underlying causes of a problem, for example poverty – they are not interested in making things a bit better for a few people in the short term.
    • It is your job to make sure your application goes to a funder that is interested in the same problem as you AND is interested in funding the type of solution you are proposing.
  • 36.
    • Usually this type of information will be in the guidelines (if there are any) but you may also need to do some research – looking for information about the type of projects they’ve funded most recently is a good place to start.
  • 37.
    • Try their website if they have one, directories or just asking them directly for a list of their recently funded projects.
    • If they turn out to be mainly large research grants – they are unlikely to fund a summer playscheme.
    Hard Work Research Planning GRANTS
  • 38. Defining the Problem
    • Write down in clear, simple terms what problem or need you are trying to address.
    • Local funders – such as Nottinghamshire Community Foundation - are likely to be familiar with your area and its problems and not require any additional local information.
  • 39.
    • For other funders, some brief information about your area and its problems can be useful. But do keep it brief, specific and ACCURATE.
    • Get some hard facts that you can quote. Saying that Rundown Estate, Anyshire is an area of multiple disadvantage is a lot less effective than saying things like;
      • The educational attainment rate is X% below the county, regional or national average
      • The unemployment rate is X% above the national/local average
      • Incidence of coronary heart disease is X% higher than the UK average
      • The average age of residents is XX
      • XX% of households are dependent on benefits
  • 40. Solving the Problem
    • Funders also want to know that the problem is –
    • Solvable – that the solution you come up with will really help to solve the problem.
    • Solvable by you – does your group have the capacity to deliver this solution right now?
  • 41.
    • Be realistic –
    • A small community group cannot solve a problem like world poverty – that’s a huge international issue that can only be addressed by governments working together.
    • But a small community group could adopt and provide resources for a school in a developing country for example, or raise money to pay for a well in a specific village or pay for the education of an individual child.
  • 42.
    • It is much easier to raise money for a specific project than for running costs or general funds.
    • You need to start thinking in terms of projects .
    • A lot of funders like to know they are supporting a specific piece of work with specific outcomes.
    Projects
  • 43.
    • Some funders will only support new pieces of work – sometimes you may need to think creatively about this.
    • If, for example you run an activity on Mondays and you now want funding to run a second session on Wednesdays – this second session is a new piece of work - it isn’t something you are already doing.
    • Doing MORE of the same thing can be classed as new work
  • 44.
    • Some funders will support some or all of your core running costs, some won’t.
    • You will find this information in their guidelines.
    • Even where a funder doesn’t support general running costs, it is reasonable to include any ADDITIONAL running costs in your project budget – an extra day’s room hire, or additional staff hours for example.
  • 45.
    • Funders are particularly interested in projects that:
      • will have a measurable impact on the problem
      • deal with a specific piece of work
      • provide substantial benefits
      • are achievable
      • offer good value
      • are relevant to the funder’s interests and priorities
      • are the right size – neither too big or too small for their fund to support
  • 46. Added Value
    • Many funders are VERY interested in funding projects where their money will buy a lot of output – schemes that will make their money go further – schemes where the effect of the grant will be greater than the amount of money involved would imply.
    • The Americans call it ‘getting more bang for your buck’ .
  • 47.
    • Most voluntary and community groups depend on volunteers in some way from the people on the management committee to the people involved in delivering activity.
  • 48.
    • Don’t think you are coming to the table with an empty begging bowl.
    • Think about the volunteers involved in your project and what you would have to pay people to do that work.
  • 49.
    • If your project is going to have a management committee or steering group of 6 people meeting for 2 hours a month, every month – that volunteer time is worth at least £3,000.
    • Think of the volunteer time attached to your project and cost it. Think of any other contributions you might be making and cost those too.
    • Make a list of all the volunteer work that is involved in your project and find out what it would cost to pay someone to do it.
  • 50.
    • Funders are often very interested in knowing about any additional contributions – either in cash or kind – that their money can help you to lever in to your project.
    • Is your local council, health service or a development agency, like Enable or CVS providing support and staff time to your project.
    • All these contributions can be given a monetary value.
  • 51. Partnership
    • Partnership is often the name of the game with funders.
    • Any organisation contributing anything to your project is a partner.
    • Give your partners a stake in the project – after all, your success is their success – try and get them to see your project from this point of view.
  • 52.
    • Be creative when thinking about partnerships.
    • A supermarket chain might be just as likely to second a computer expert to your project to help you set up your website as they are to donate buns for a playscheme.
  • 53.
    • Think about all the people at local colleges and universities – and what they are studying.
    • Someone, somewhere would probably find it useful to do some work with your project –
      • design some publicity
      • help you draw up a business plan
      • provide architectural drawings for your extension
      • give a talk to your users
      • decorate a special cake for your centenary
      • write a history of your project
  • 54. The Project Plan
    • If you don’t have a map – how do you know where you are going?
    • Before you start writing your application you need to draw up a project plan.
    • You need to know what is going to happen and when.
    • If you don’t have a map – how do you know where you are going?
  • 55.
    • Who the project is for – for example –
    • Older people (over 50) living on the Nether Wallop Estate.
    • You should also know – or make a reasonable estimate of how many people will benefit from the project.
  • 56.
    • Where and when - the project will happen – for example –
    • Every Monday from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm from June to December, at the Nether Wallop Community Centre.
    • Obviously you need to check venue availability (and cost) before you complete this part of the plan.
  • 57.
    • What the activity will be – for example –
    • 11.30 – 12.30 Gardening session
    • 12.30 – 1.30 “Healthy Eating” lunch
    • 1.30 – 2.30 Social activities, guest speakers etc.
  • 58. Planning Exercise
  • 59.
    • Consultation – How do you know this is what’s needed?
      • Who have you asked? What other groups or agencies have you talked to?
    • Why is it needed - What are the problems that this activity will alleviate?
      • For example – social isolation, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, lack of mental stimulation, lack of provision in the area, improving the neighbourhood environment, promoting “pride of place” etc.
  • 60.
    • What work will be involved in running the project – and who is going to do it?
    • Are you going to use paid staff, volunteers, seconded workers from other organisations – or a mixture of these?
    • Who is going to do what?
  • 61.
    • You might need to think about access – will you be able to cope with all comers? Or do people need to contact you before their first visit? (This is a good way of alerting the ‘meet & greet’ team to look out for newcomers).
    • What will you do if you plan for a maximum of 30 people and you are regularly getting 50 people?
    • Will you need to police check any or all of your volunteers? Do you know how to do that? Or how much it costs? Or how long it takes?
    • Do you need a policy or guidelines on working with vulnerable adults/children?
  • 62.
    • Do you need to train any of your volunteers in first aid? Where can you get that training? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
    • Do you need any special insurance?
    • Do you need to comply with any laws or regulations?
    • Do you need any new or replacement equipment?
  • 63. Planning the Budget
    • The budget is where you should start – if you don’t know what you can afford to buy then you can’t describe your project accurately.
    • You will obviously need to know how much this is all going to cost.
    • So you need to be researching costs.
    • Do not guess how much things cost – find out.
    • Get quotes, look in shops, study suppliers catalogues and price lists.
    • Ask other groups how much things cost them
  • 64.
    • Funders want evidence that you can handle any money they provide effectively.
    • Do you have a track record you can tell them about?
    • Do you have the skills to handle this amount of money properly – if not, how can you get them?
    • They also need to know that you have costed the project accurately and completely, that you can keep adequate financial records and control spending.
  • 65. What is a budget?
    • A budget IS NOT a shopping list.
    • A budget is your plan of how much money you need to do whatever it is you want to do and how you are going to spend it.
    • It is an invaluable tool for both you and the funders.
    • The project budget is an essential part of your project proposal.
  • 66.
    • Keep notes in your central funding file about how you’ve arrived at your figures so that you can explain them if asked.
    • For example, if your total figure for training is £500.00 – you need to know that that is made up of 1 Health & Safety course at £200, 2 x First Aid courses at £100 each and 5 x ECDL courses at £25 each etc.
    • (It would also be useful to keep details of the suppliers or providers you got these prices from as this sort of information is easy to lose or forget).
  • 67. Using the budget
    • The purpose of the budget is not just to help you get a grant – it’s a working tool.
    • Use it to monitor your spending and income on a month by month basis.
    • It should warn you if you are overspending or under-spending against your plan under each budget heading.
  • 68.
    • If you get an early warning you can act on it – perhaps your funder will let you move money from one heading to another.
    • Perhaps you can control your spending better, perhaps you can work out what the shortfall will be and start doing something about it now – like trying to raise some extra cash.
  • 69. -341 -84 134 50 -195 245 50 -62 112 50 Travel 39 9 11 20 13 7 20 15 5 20 Photocopying -55 -27 42 15 -18 33 15 -10 25 15 Telephone 100 100 100 100 100 100 Rent Var Act Bud Var Act Bud Var Act Bud Mar Feb Jan
  • 70.
    • If your actual spending varies wildly from your planned spending you have got a problem.
    • Does it mean you are not operating as planned?
    • Does it mean your budget needs revising?
    • Do you need to talk to your funder about it?
  • 71.
    • Not talking to your funder about any financial problems is like ignoring letters from your bank manager about your overdraft.
    • It won’t make the problem go away and it will only make it worse in the end.
    • Be honest and ask for advice about what action you can take to rectify the problem.
  • 72. Budget Planning
    • Use the budget planning list on the right to help you identify the budget headings you will need for your project.
    • You will find it easier to manage your finances using a computer spreadsheet program (or an accounts package for larger projects).
    Other costs Publications Professional fees or subscriptions Stationery and office supplies Advice or consultancy Printing and publicity Administration Equipment Management Rent or Room hire Council Tax Training Insurance Transport Furniture or equipment Travel Telephone Volunteer expenses Postage Salaries or sessional fees
  • 73. Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Monitoring
    • An on-going process involving continuous and regular collection of key information about a project as it happens
    • Evaluation
    • A systematic assessment of whether the stated aims and of objectives of the project have been achieved, lessons learned and any other relevant information after the project has ended
  • 74.
    • Regular Monitoring can include:
      • Numbers of beneficiaries
      • Number of activities
      • Volunteer hours
      • Outcomes achieved
      • Feedback from participants
      • Amount of grant spent
    • You will be expected to report
      • At least annually but can also be quarterly or 6 monthly
      • At the end of the project
  • 75. SMART Outcomes
    • S pecific
    • M easurable
    • A chievable
    • R ealistic
    • T ime Based
  • 76.
    • Use words that indicate change – like:
      • More
      • Better
      • Increased
      • Reduced
      • Improved
  • 77.
    • For example –
    • 50 older people (50+) will have engaged in regular physical exercise by 31 December 2010.
    • 20 young parents (under 25) will have attended healthy eating cookery classes and increased their intake of fruit and vegetables by the end of the project.
  • 78. Evaluation
    • Drawing out the learning from the project
      • To what extent have people benefitted?
      • Was the project delivered in the right way?
      • What could be improved?
    • Draws out both positives and negatives
  • 79. How does monitoring & evaluation help?
      • Develops better planned and more responsive projects
      • Getting feedback as you go along can help you stay on track
      • You can change things that aren’t working before it’s too late
      • Proves your project is working well
      • You have up-to-date, good quality data available for interested stakeholders
      • The information can support future funding applications
      • Informs and improves your future delivery
  • 80. Getting Help With Your Application
    • Groups that get help with their funding applications are statistically at least TWICE as successful as groups who “go it alone”.
    Get Some Help
  • 81. Sources of Support
      • NCVS Group Development
      • Help to identify funding sources
      • Case work
      • Resource Library
        • FunderFinder program
        • Fundraising resources & directories
      • “ Funding Flash” website & e-alerts
      • Partnerships e-bulletin
  • 82. Sources of Support
      • Fit4funding http://www.fit4funding.org.uk/
      • Funding Central http://www.fundingcentral.org.uk
      • Association of Charitable Foundations http://www.acf.org.uk/
      • East Midlands Funder’s Forum http://www.fundersindex.co.uk
      • Nottinghamshire Community Foundation http://www.nottscf.org.uk
      • Know How Non Profit http://www.knowhownonprofit.org
  • 83.
    • The NCVS Group Development Service can help you identify appropriate sources of funding and help you to develop a strong application.
    • To discuss your funding needs call the NCVS Helpdesk on 0115 934 548 or email [email_address]
  • 84. Panel Exercise
  • 85. Good Luck!