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Applying to trusts and foundations for funding.

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Applying to trusts and foundations for funding is like applying to any other grant giving body.  The same simple rules apply:

  • Always read the guidelines and follow them:
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  • Check eligibility criterion
  • Make sure that you stick to word counts and answer all of the questions
  • Check out their website and look at the kinds of projects they support and what they generally pay out for them.
  • If you are not sure give them a ring and ask.
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Many Trusts and Foundations however do not have an application form but ask that you send one or two pages of A4 outlining your project/request.   

General things to remember when writing an application in this format:

  • Don’t be tempted to write more than they have asked for.

Get your main points across in the first page if possible, and keep information short and succinct. 

Presentation is important – aim for a professional, clean look:  printed letterhead, logo, website.  Keep things simple and attractive, use a strapline, if applicable, (a short punchy summary of your brand such as Ronseal’s,  “Does exactly what it says on the tin”

Do not write the same letter:  or paragraphs to all funders for all things – make the information relevant to the particular project and follow the criteria/requirements of the particular funder. Think about the size and type of trust you are writing to.

Use positive language and limit buzz words/technical language:  Say ‘we will’…not ‘we hope to’.  If you are uncertain of how you will do something say ‘we plan to’.  Be passionate about what you do.  If you use technical language briefly explain the meaning.

 If asking for salary costs or core running costs think carefully how you will build it in:  sessional costs for salaries or 10-15% for management costs.  Many trusts do not fund core costs unless presented in that way as part of a project cost.

Before you send it:  check for any errors or inconsistencies, and ask somebody else to read it through to ensure it makes sense to them.   Put yourself in the shoes of the funder – what would you want to see to fund a project…have you shown this?

Get a trustee, preferably the Chair, to sign the letter if possible:  the trustees/board should be involved in any funding bids as they have ultimate responsibility for the organisation.

Documents to send with letter:  annual signed accounts (within 8 months of year-end); annual review/report; budget for current year for your organisation and project; job description and personal specifications of relevant roles; first year work plan for project.  (The equal opportunities & child protection policies should either be sent or be ready to send if required – in which case, say so.)

Stay in touch with the funder and keep them up-to-date with progress.

Making an application - What should I include?

A brief description and history of your company.

What you want to do, when and where you want to do it and for how long.

Why is it needed, who will benefit and how.  Use data and case studies to make your case.

Who you will work with and how this work will reach or engage with people if applicable.

How much money is needed (and how you will spend it if applicable).  Be realistic regarding costs and salary scale.  Break-down into capital and revenue if applicable.  A large capital appeal could be split into stages. Do not make general appeals for funding - be specific.

Show any monies you have already raised and where any short fall will come from. Include any other applications you have made or intend to make.

Consider how the project will continue after funding and outline your exit strategy if the project has a finite life.

Make sure you have enclosed any requested documentation.

Do not forget your name, address, phone number and e-mail contact.

If there is sufficient space also consider:

Why your organisation is best to deliver the project

How you will know the project is progressing to plan.

Identified risks & management of them.

Why that trust/foundation should pay for it – how it meets their aims.

Is any other information necessary and if so have you made it clear?