the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity

Funding for your charity

If you are a charity who is currently seeking funding to continue, expand or develop your projects then there are many routes you can pursue for financial assistance. These include loans, investment, grants or even just useful advice to help your organisations development.

Seeking support can often seem like a daunting task; some applications for funding can be extremely complicated and time consuming. But with some simple preparation and organisation there may be valuable funds available to your charity.
This short guide has been put together to make the overwhelming task of applying for funding a little more manageable and achievable for your organisation.

  • Getting started

The first step is to decide whether applying for funding is the right decision for your group. There may be more time effective ways – such as holding a fundraising event or soliciting donations from supporters – for you to raise money that might be less demanding on your time.

Ensure that you have sufficient time to dedicate to the application process and the delivery of your project. Additionally, you should evaluate whether you have the resources – both equipment and expertise - to deliver your project if you receive funds.

It is important to know that many schemes and charity support organisations receive hundreds of applications from a diverse array of groups, and it is possible you will be competing against groups much larger, with greater resources, than your own.

Before you start completing application forms there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success. By planning thoroughly and ensuring that your organisation’s governance, accounts and future plans are up to date and well maintained you will be able to present a convincing case that should help you stand out from the crowd.

When deciding whether your organisation is ready to apply for funding you may want to consider the following:

  1. Check that your group is formally set up. This may involve ensuring that you have a governing constitution, committee and trustees. You will also need to have a registered bank account. For further guidance visit the Fit4Funding website.
  2. You will need to ensure that you are a registered charity. Details can be checked by visiting the Charity Commissions website.
  3. Be clear about what your aims and objectives are in the future. Being able to present a detailed plan of what you hope to achieve will be crucial to securing any funding in the future. If you are unsure about aims and objectives click here.
  4. You need to consider how your charity would work if you were successful in the grant application. Be able to prove that you have the right staff and expertise to deliver your objectives or that you will be able to seek external support if needed. If you need help with organisational development click here.
  5. If you are seeking funds for a specific project then you need to make sure it has been correctly planned and costed. If you want help with project planning click here.
  6. Ensure you are able to offer a detailed budget for what you intend to do with the money. If you need help with budgeting click here.

All of this information and more is available at fit4funding.

You might also want to read the Charities Aid Foundation’s short ‘Jargon Busting’ guide at this stage.

  • Applying for funds

When beginning any application, ensure you are able to answer some of these basic questions:

  • How much money will you be applying for?
  • When do you need it?
  • What do you need it for?
  • What resources will you need in the future for your project - equipment, skills, volunteers?
  • Most schemes will want measurable results and regular updates on progress. How will you be able to deliver these?

  • Potential funders

Each scheme will have its own very specific criteria, but having a good idea of how to answer these basic questions will stand you in good stead.

If you have checked the basics and are ready to find funding then there are multiple grants and schemes you can consider. Some support is targeted for very specific services and charities, whereas others are available to a relatively wide array of applicants. Some schemes offer small levels of investment, whereas others can provide large grants for individual projects. 

It’s always best to check specific grants and schemes to see if your charity is eligible for support. Here are some groups that might be worth investigating:

Regional providers of funding information:

Some grants are available for regional groups.

  • You can search for grants to local voluntary organisations by visiting the DirectGov website.

  • The Application Process

After you have identified a funding scheme you will need to begin completing the application forms.

Each grant will have its own unique application process, but a few things to consider before you start are:  

  • Double check that your group is eligible for support from the specific scheme.
  • Make sure you have the correct closing date for the scheme you are applying for.
  • Check whether you will have to fill out an application form or write a letter. Check what supporting information will be required. 
  • Practise filling out your application form on a photocopied duplicate first.
  • Ensure that your application form is neat, clear and concise.
  • Make sure you know who the application form needs to be addressed to.
  • Do not automatically assume that the funders are experts in your field. Make your application accessible for all.
  • State how much money you need, what you need the money for and why.
  • Be realistic in the amount you are bidding for – don’t feel that you need to bid for the maximum amount available.
  • Ensure your budget adds up, is realistic and fully costed.
  • Demonstrate how you plan to monitor/evaluate the project and what will happen to the project when the money runs out. 
  • Enclose appropriate supporting material - accounts, budget, annual report, constitution, leaflets etc.

  • Evidence

The most important factor in your application is including  established evidence and analysis. For example, if you are aiming to provide a service for young LGB people in your area, you will need to demonstrate that local demographics make this a pressing concern. If you want to demonstrate a need for outreach services for elderly LGB people or a need to tackle homophobia in local sport, your case will have far greater credibility if relevant research is included.

Stonewall has compiled detailed research and polling data across a wide variety of issues. This information is publically available and can be used to add extra weight to your application. Be sure to cite any external research you include in your application forms correctly.

A list of our most recent publications and research can be found below:

Asylum

  • Asylum and humanitarian protection for lesbian, gay and bisexual people (2009 - available in digital format only)
  • No going back: Lesbian and gay people and the asylum system (2010)

Attitude Research

Education

Employment

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Goods and Services

Hate Crime

Health

Housing

  • The Housing Guide: An introduction to housing rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people (2010)

Media Research

  • Tuned Out: The BBC's portrayal of lesbian and gay people - research (2006 - available in digital format only)
  • Unseen on Screen: Gay people on youth TV

Sport

 

  • After you have applied

Once you have applied be sure to keep a record of all correspondence from your submissions – even those where you have been unsuccessful. This will be valuable in the future to improve your applications and should be filed for your own records.

Importantly, make sure to receive confirmation that your application has been received by the appropriate contact.

Once your application has been submitted be patient but persistent. Make sure you are aware when the grant scheme closes and establish when you can expect an indication of whether you have been successful in your bid.

If you are successful…

If your application has been successful it is worth checking with your new funder what reports will be needed over the coming months as you begin to use your extra resources. You will need to have a plan to demonstrate how you will measure outcomes and results and how you will communicate your successes. Additionally, you may want to make arrangements for your funding partner to visit your new project to see your work in action.

Be sure to keep accurate and up to date records of how the money is being spent throughout the project.

You may wish to seek outside advice on how to manage organisational development and increased numbers of staff or volunteers. This can be found at fit4funding.

It is crucial that you keep comprehensive records and accounts of how the money has been spent throughout the project.

It will also be worth considering how you plan to continue your work once your initial funding has been used. Consider whether your project is a one-off venture or a service you’d like to provide indefinitely.

If you are not successful…

If your application is unsuccessful you should investigate whether there is any feedback available from your initial application. This can indicate how you can improve in future applications.

Many funding schemes are intensely competitive and it is always worth applying to other schemes that may more specifically support your area of work or exploring alternative means of fundraising.

  • Other links

  • National Council For Voluntary Organisations – the National Council for Voluntary Organisations - aims to give a shared voice to voluntary organisations and to help them achieve the highest standards of practice and effectiveness in all areas of their work.
  • FunderFinder information leaflets 
  • Lottery Monitor - Independent monthly magazine covering all aspects of awards to good causes from the Lottery
  • Business in the Community - Movement of companies across the UK committed to continually improving their positive impact on society
  • Association of Charitable Foundations - Support organisation for grant-making trusts and foundations of all types
  • DirectGov offers a comprehensive guide for charities seeking advice or funding.
  • NAVCA - NAVCA is the national voice of local support and development organisations in England.
  • Institute of Fundraising Codes of Practice - The Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for UK fundraising. Its mission is to support fundraisers, through leadership, representation, standards-setting and education, and it champions and promotes fundraising as a career choice.

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