Writing good fundraising proposals
Anyone in the the "3rd sector" charity organisations know that having money to provide vital services and projects is an almost constant battle. There are lots of ways that you can try and gain support such as business sponsorship, develop a foundation of regular donations and special events. Another way is to try and get money from grant giving trusts and foundations. Before I go any further, I should say that I am a UK hubber, therefore a lot of my info will be UK based. However, I hope I will share with you a few good principles that will be helpful for anyone.
Where to look?
There are lots of places where you can find out about grant giving trusts and foundations. A simple search in BIng, Yahoo, Google (or your chosen search engine) with terms like "Trust funds", "grant giving" should give you the appropriate results.
One such site is Open4funds is a free searchable site where you can tick criteria and search for appropriate organisations that match your needs. There are other sites out there, some of which are fee based subscription, however Open4funds is free.
Golden Rules of applying for Funding.
Always make sure that you read the guidelines.
This may seem like a really obvious thing to say, but it is one of the best pieces of advice you can get. There are lots of organisations that want and apply for funding. You want to make sure that you stand out. Grant body guides often give you a good idea what the organisation is looking for.
It is a bit like sending in a CV (resume) you need to attract the attention of the reader but not put them off. If it says "in no more than 100 words" check that you have done that. If you go over it says you can not read instructions! Why would an organisation give money to you if you can't carry out a simple task.
Make sure that your project is not duplicated in the area. Give as much detail as you can. If it requires a business plan make sure it is detailed and not figures pulled out the air.
Avoid vague statements and too many buzz words. Buzz words can be useful to show that you have an understanding of the topic, however, too many buzz words without the supporting detail, just says "did not do research" or "they are trying to dazzle me with words".
If filling in an application try to match the criteria with your answers. Application forms can take time, and there is no point in wasting anyone 's time. Yours or the person reading the application form. So don't apply in a hurry and take your chance, its competitive.
Writing your own proposal.
What if there is no application form? Where do I start?
There are lots of template forms and suggestions of how to do a proposal on the Internet. In one sense, you need to find one that suits you.
Here are some helpful Headings that will help you structure it.
History, Goals, and Activities of the Organization
Identify the Need
How will funds be Spent?
Describe the demographic of the area.
Highlight the skills and experience of the staff that will deliver the project.
Some people think that funding applications are easy. They are not. It takes time and energy to carefully craft an application that will stand out and get that support. As with everything, if you have worked on something for a while, you may not see the errors that you make.
It is always helps to get a pair of "fresh eyes" to cast a look on an application before submission. They might just pick up something that you have missed and that may even make the difference between "granted" or "rejected".
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