To impress funders you need to master the art of the funding application. To help you sharpen these key skills we’ve compiled these 10 top tips.
These tips came from our favourite funding expert ‘The Funding Doctor’ in a recent series of workshops she hosted for ActionFunder users. They were based around 3 key areas – budgeting, speaking the funder’s language and reporting your impact.
Doing a brilliant budget
A strong budget is essential to show the funder how you will deliver your project. Here are The Funding Dr’s top tips on how to create one:
1. Define the goals of your project. Be ambitious and write everything down. Share your thoughts with your team and refine together – the people delivering the projects are best placed to know what’s needed!
2. Create your plan. List all the resources that you will need, both humans and materials! List quantities. Compare prices from different suppliers to understand the cost
3. Remember to use the 3B rules: Can you Beg, Borrow or Barter what you need?!
For more in-depth advice on how to write a brilliant budget, read this article.
How to speak the funders’ language
To write a great funding application, you need to understand what funders want and their motivations – why are they funding? What impact do they want to see?
4. Try to understand the funder’s motivations – they want to do good, feel good and look good.
5. How does your project fit into the funder’s agenda? Have a look at local, regional and national funding strategies to understand where your project fits. Find out what their agenda is, pick up keywords to reuse them in your applications. You will be able to demonstrate more clearly how your project is a great solution for the funder if you understand their motivations.
6. Remember funders want to fund outcomes and impact (tangible changes over a period of time). When writing your application, present the needs of your community, who the project’s beneficiaries will be, and how your project will create an impact in the medium/long term. Think beyond about the long-term changes you hope your project will create.
7. Use active language! – e.g. Improve, Develop, Change….
Measuring and reporting your impact
Impact reporting is a part of the funding contract. Do it well to make your funder happy (and increase your chances of repeat funding!). Here are The Funding Dr’s tips:
8. Establish a baseline before your project starts – Use the theory of change to articulate your thoughts: the theory of change maps out the needs your project will answer, the actions that will be taken in response and the outcomes you predict. Read this article for more helpful information on how to use the theory of change.
9. Measure your impact: What is the outcome of the project? What positive changes have your actions triggered? Your measurement should be both quantitative (how many people did you reach, how many trees did you plant?) and qualitative (do people now feel less isolated? Can you see birds coming back to the area?)
10. Gather evidence of your impact – Use surveys. Use “befores” and “afters” to show improvement, take photos and videos if possible, and collate your data! You can produce a presentation afterwards, or use free tools such as canva to create assets.
We want to get your projects funded! That’s why we created ActionFunder. ActionFunder allows you to get in front of businesses and foundations that want to fund community organisations like yours.
It’s also why we’re hosting a series of free workshops, jam-packed with expert advice, to help you build the skills needed.
Sign up for our upcoming workshops including ‘How to use social media for your project’ and ‘A different take on impact measurement’ right here!