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 – initially a simple Equal Opportunities Statement is 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. ( Or a Vulnerable Adults Policy).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’ .
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?
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).
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