Sustainable Funding for Community Projects


The world of sustainable funding for community projects can be difficult to navigate. Now more than ever there is more competition for fewer opportunities, constant change in the political and economic climate and everything has suddenly gone digital.

That’s why Corinna Hartwig dusted off her Funding Doctor coat to collaborate with us for a webinar about sustainable funding for community projects during Covid-19 and beyond.

Watch the webinar recording to learn your outputs from your outcomes, your crowdfunding from your community shares and much much more!

Watch the Workshop Here
Get the Slides

Some of Corinna’s top tips for funding for community groups:

  1. Make a shopping list of everything you need, then cross off anything with a red pen that is a luxury or a “nice to have”. Then find out which of these you can beg, borrow and barter from your community, and cross these off. The things left on the list are your essential costs. 
  2. Make sure that you are telling the compelling story of your project. This includes why your project is needed, who is benefiting and what amazing things you can do with funding. 
  3. Ensure that you have a wide range of funding streams to ensure that you aren’t putting all your eggs in one basket.
  4. Be specific about what you need, whether you’re applying for grants, looking for CSR (corporate social responsibility) support from businesses, or asking for individual donations.
  5. Remember that sometimes you can calculate the financial value of volunteer time when calculating your income for match funding.

Find funding opportunities for your community project: 

  1. Search online “community grants”+ “your local council”.
  2. Search online “procurement” + “your local council”.
  3. Sites like Funding Central, Semble,, Office for Civil Society, MyCommunity, Community Foundations, Google Grants, Social Enterprise, Plunkett (funding for rural community shops, pubs or woodlands), Voluntary Arts.

Research proving your need and what your funders want:

  1. Use statistical research to underpin the need for your project. Use UK Census Data, the Atlas of Indices of Deprivation for England, the Office for National Statistics, and the NCVO Almanac.
  2. If you are applying for council funding look at your local council’s website to find out what their strategic vision is for different areas e.g. wellbeing, community, environment.
  3. Look for information about what funders have already funded here or on their websites.  

Get community grant funding help for from:

  1. Your local council, you local CVS or Community Action Group.
  2.  Know How Non-Profit, NCVO.
  3. Charity Digital, Digital Charity Lab, for digital support .
  4. The media trust for social media and digital marketing.
  5. Facebook and Linked-In Groups.

Jargon Busters (adapted from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation)

  • Project – this is the activity you do to accomplish the goals.
    • Examples of a project include an event (or series of events), providing training, counselling, venue hire, accessing items or services, etc,.
  • Outputs – the direct results of the project on beneficiaries. 
    • For example, the number of people who have attended an event, who they are (e.g. gender, ethinicity, religion, sexual orientation, experiences of deprivation), number of people who have achieved a particular qualification, received services/help, etc.
  • Outcomes – are generally changes in people, the environment, or the community (beneficiaries), that directly result from the activities or project. 
    • For example, this might be becoming more employable, food & shelter for the homeless, increased attendance at youth centres for young people, ethnic interaction events, etc.
    • More info about outcomes here
  • Impacts – these are the longer-term changes that affect the quality of life of the community and society more broadly. They describe the way in which improved outcomes for the target beneficiaries create a bigger social impact.
    • For example, increased employment, reduced public sector intervention, delayed move to care homes, etc

Examples of  OUTCOMES and IMPACTS from Cambs Community Foundation

Examples of outcomes Increased social interactions, networks and companionship Improved life skills (coping, financial, social, communication etc) Increased confidence and self-esteem Engagement in positive activities Improved trust in relationships Improved aspirations Improved employability Increased participation as a volunteer Improved empathy, understanding, self control and /or behaviour More positive attitude to life Engagement with support Protection from violent behaviour Respite from stress Improved access to help More physically active life Healthier eating Access to basic needs (food, shelter, warmth) Improved access to community assets and facilities Improved access to open spaces. Examples of impacts Improved educational attainment Increased qualifications among disadvantaged groups Increased numbers of young people in employment education and training Improved life opportunities Less bullying Increased levels of employment or volunteering Reduced antisocial behaviour and crime Improved understanding by public and others Improved family stability Reduced isolation or social inclusion More independent living Improved long-term health and fitness Reduced intervention from public bodies Less people without homes or at risk of losing homes Improved community cohesion and interactions Improved sustainability of community groups and assets Improved public perception and opportunities for disadvantaged groups Reduced environmental impact

Regulations, Governance and Good Practice

  1. Get helpful support from Fundraising Regulator.
  2. Know the fundraising rules set out in the Charities Act of 2016.
  3. Ensure your fundraising is compliant with the code of fundraising and check out the Charity Governance Code.

Corinna Hartwig runs Corinna Hartwig Consulting, supporting business start-ups. And, known as the “Funding Doctor” she helps community groups find funding faster. Corinna has personal, practical experience with developing funding strategies, researching funding opportunities, setting up and managing community projects. She has worked both as a volunteer and as a consultant working with a range of community organisations at grassroots level. Get in touch to see how she can support your project one-to-one.

Semble is the UK’s most active platform for community projects. We make sure that local projects get the support they deserve by partnering them with brilliant businesses and volunteers. 

Check out our other webinar resources about how to attract funding for community groups and supporting communities digitally using Zoom. Search our list of funding opportunities for community groups. To be the first to know about these as well as funding opportunities, sign up to the Semble network.

To keep in the loop sign up to our mailing list here.

About the Author:

Keen to make the world a kinder place, Josie supports the campaigns and community teams at Semble to help bring people together. She has worked with migrants, taught sex education and is a lover of all things Latin America. Her interests include food, reading, and dreaming of being a beekeeper.

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