Friday, 15 June 2012

Top Tips when Applying to Trusts and Foundations

With increasing pressure from cuts in government and local authorities, many non-profits are focusing their attention on seeking funding from grant-making trusts and foundations.

As a result of this, most trusts and foundations are over-subscribed; receiving more applications and proposals than they are able to fund.

Although many may be receiving more applications than ever before, many of them are still keen to give all the support they can to the right organisations and the right projects. The key is to ensure that you ask the right funders for the right amount in the right way.

If you are able to demonstrate that funding your organisation or your project represents the best use of their charitable funds, then you are almost there!

Some interesting facts
The estimated total number of trusts and foundations in the UK is 8,800. CAF monitors the top 500 trusts and grant making charities in Charity Trends (as ranked by their grant making expenditure), and their grant making of just under £3 billion*  last year represents about three quarters of the value of all charitable grant making, and 10% of the UK voluntary sector’s income.

According to the Ross Case Survery Universities received slightly less income in 2010-2011 from Trusts and Foundations than previous years. 

The brutal facts we need to know about applications Trust and Foundations receive*
  • Almost 50% of applications received  are ineligible
  •  Only 30% of those eligible were of a high enough quality to be considered by the Board
  • Of those seen by the Board, 70% were approved
  • This means that only 15% of all applications get Board consideration

Top Tips

Allow yourself time to do the following
  • Read the guidelines
  • Get authorisation – and internal ‘buy-in’
  • No deadlines? Create one!
  • Prepare the draft proposal
  • Seek advice on and prepare costings and amount you are asking for
  • Consult with peers, collaborators, project members

Study your Trust or Foundation
  • Identify the most appropriate person to ‘lead’ the application internally  
  • Take a look at some case studies – what and how much they give to – annual reports reveal a lot!
  • Target the proposal / application to their guidelines and ethos
  • Find out about who reviews and assesses the proposal
  • Read all the guidance notes – including assessment criteria

Identify and justify your costs and your ask
  • Good projects cost money - be realistic
  • Identify the required time, posts, equipment, travel - explain why each item is needed
Ensure you’ve answered the following questions
  • Why does it matter?
  • Why now?
  • Why you?
  • What’s the impact / public benefit?
  • Will your project engage new people? 
  • Ask for feedback
  • Analyse feedback carefully and objectively
  • Can you resubmit?
  • Whatever happens, you are further on than where you were before
  • When you’ve incorporated feedback you could  re-use improved proposal once you’ve also revamped the format

If you've any comments / suggestions tweet me: 

Niamh, @niamhini

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