Looking for funding

Putting Together A Funding Application

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    All of the information on this page may appear just to be common sense. It is!
    Please remember that the reason for the failure of the majority of funding applications is due to a problem in applying, whether through filling a form in incorrectly, applying for something the funder doesn’t fund, or whatever.

    Take a look at our online funding directory

    Step one – the planning

    Your group needs to plan exactly what it needs in relation to what it does. Be realistic – no funder is going to fund a group in the long term that it doesn’t know, so plan for up to three years but no longer. Make sure you cover everything, for example the purchase of new expensive equipment may increase the cost of your insurance.
    Split the costs into capital (equipment) and revenue (wages) as some funders do one and not the other.

    Step two – the figures

    Now that you have a working figure you need to decide the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into the application. For example if you needed £25,000 for your project, would you prefer to have it in one bid (hard to get) or might you accept it in chunks of £5000 (more writing and time but more likely to achieve).

    Step three – find the funder

    If you don’t already have a funder in mind then you need to find one. Contact us at CVS for advice, we can provide any or all of the following:

    1. A suggested list of suitable funders.
    2. An appointment with you to use Funder Finder.
    3. Check out our online funding directory

    Through any or all of these options you will end up with a list of potential funders.

    Step four – contacting the funders

    Armed with your information, read through what you have.

    • Which possible funders looks the best bet?
    • Will they give funds on the information that you already have, for what you need?
    • Check deadlines – if they only give annually and the date has gone do you want to wait another year? Check websites for this information if you don’t have it or look in the guides at CVS.

    Now you need to ring the funders up. Tell them briefly what you do and what you want. Ask if it is the type of project they would look favourably on. If it looks promising ask for a form, if that is the correct method of applying. They may say they have no money left for the current year in which case move on. If they won’t fund at all at least you haven’t wasted a lot of time in an application, again its time to move on.

    Step five – putting together the application

    If it is a form, when you get it, make a couple of photocopies. You can fill in a photocopy first, so any mistakes won’t mess up the form. When you are happy you can transfer the information across.
    Whatever the method of application read through the information you have. Make sure the information you have is up to date. Collect together any documentation e.g. a constitution that you need to send. Will photocopies do or are the originals needed?
    Now write the application exactly as asked, give the amount of detail requested and answer all the questions. Sign and date and take a photocopy of the application. Keep to the point in your application, don’t make extravagant claims or be over emotional. Make sure your figures are accurate.
    If you need to write a letter consider the following points when applying:

    • Who you are
    • What you do
    • Where and when you do it
    • Who will benefit
    • What are the costs
    • When it will start
    • How much is required
    • What results are expected

    Try to be brief, the letter should not be longer than 2 sides of A4 paper. They can always request more details later.

    Step six – the outcome

    Your application may be acknowledged, before you get a definite response, this could be in any of the following ways:

    1. Acceptance.
    2. Outright refusal.
    3. Request to reapply at another time.
    4. Request for more information before a decision is made.


    Read through all the terms and conditions before accepting. Are you happy to accept them? There will be some level of monitoring and paperwork; can you cope with it? Everything is fine? Then go for it.

    Outright refusal.

    Do be prepared to bite the bullet and find out why you were refused. It could be that they have run out of money or another legitimate reason. It is not your fault. Another day, another funder!

    Request to reapply at another time.

    In this case it is down to whether you can wait and the time delay involved. It may well be a case of finding another funder; it’s your choice.

    Request for more information before a decision is made.

    This is very common. Hopefully you sent all the information that was requested, if not they will tell you at this point. Perhaps they are not clear of some point and want more detail or need to see estimates and the like. If you don’t understand what they are wanting ask for clarification. Don’t forget to photocopy everything before you send it off and keep all letters.

    The future.

    Do build up a good relationship with your funders. Keep up to date with monitoring procedures, don’t let your funders have to nag you. Invite them to see what you are doing; send them any newsletter you produce. Keep on the right side you may need them again!