Preparation before you start fundraising
Updated: 15 Jan 2019
Whatever your project, you will need to raise money to make things happen. Funding may be available to your group from a variety of sources. However, to be successful you must be able to convince funding bodies that you are worth supporting and that the project is led by the needs of the community. Research the project well in advance by considering the following questions and suggestions.
What are the reasons behind your work?
Can you convince a funder that your work is needed? Have you obtained statistics from local councils or other bodies on the levels of deprivation in your area? For example. '...in the estate, unemployment stands at 65% amongst young people under 25 years...' Illustrate your figures with a description of how people are affected.
Also, define where your project is located. Is your work limited to a certain geographical area, such as an estate, an electoral ward or village?
What are you trying to do?
What is your group hoping to achieve in the long-term? Is there a problem that you are trying to eradicate or prevent, such as unemployment, substance abuse or vandalism? Think about what you are aiming to change or to happen, for example '...eradicate vandalism in the local estate...'.
How will your group achieve this?
How are you going to reach your long-term aims? Have you a plan for what your group will be doing in the first, second and third years? Do you know who will be carrying the work out, for example, volunteers or a member of staff, and what their responsibilities will be? Try making out a monthly timetable for your work to ensure that you are on track.
What will the benefits of your project be?
Funders will want to know that their money is being well spent and is making something happen in your area. How can you measure that your project is working?
Can you talk to people to find out if they feel better about themselves and their area? Could you measure the levels of certain activities, for example '...we estimate that our project will reduce new incidences of graffiti in the estate by 35%...'?
How much money do you need?
It will be difficult to convince funders to part with their money if you are unsure of how much you need yourself. A detailed and realistic budget will show that you can use the money wisely and have thought your project through. If you are applying for a project which will last a couple of years, remember to include inflation costs.
Have you got permission?
Some projects might need permission from landowners, landlord, or the local authority before they can start. A funder will want to see permission has been given, where necessary.
Have you got support?
Support from your local community, local authority or other agencies will give your project credibility. You may wish to ensure that all sections of the community are involved from the outset, as this will encourage community participation and ownership. Funders will want to see that there is a high level of community involvement in the project, or what is sometimes called self-help.
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will be well on your way to preparing a strong case for funding.