We’ve seen hundreds of funding applications. And we’ve spoken to hundreds of people trying to find funding for their charitable projects. These 10 top tips are the result of everything we’ve learnt. Keep them in mind when you’re trying to get funding on ActionFunder, or anywhere else!
Don’t forget that applying for funding on ActionFunder is a bit different from the usual grant application process. On ActionFunder you don’t have to fill out lots of paperwork. Instead, you sign up to the platform (for free) and then create ‘projects’ that you want funding for. Creating a project is quick and easy. And once your project’s up on the platform, it’ll be seen by all the funders in your area.
Right, back to these 10 tips. Big shout out to our favourite funding expert, Corinna Hartwig (aka The Funding Doctor) for helping pull these together.
Create a strong budget
A strong budget is essential to show the funder how you plan to spend their money. Here’s how to create one:
1. Before you start, you need to define the goals of your project. Include your whole team in this and remember to be ambitious.
2. Now it’s time to write a list of all the things you need to get to your goal. This might include a team of people, use of an event space, brochures, a minibus, food to feed a crowd… Write it all down, including how much of each item you need and how much each item will cost.
3. Go through your list and cross out all the items you can get for free, including the things you can beg, borrow, or barter (the 3 B’s). Once that’s done you’ll have a budget.
For more advice on how to write a brilliant budget, read this article.
Speak the funders’ language
It’s important to consider why the funder’s giving away their money. This will help you decide whether you want to be part of their mission. If the answer’s yes then you can use what you know about their goals to your advantage. Here’s how:
4. Get to understand what the funder wants. You’ll be better at demonstrating how your project is a great solution for the funder if you understand their motivations. Do they want to do good? Do they want to feel good? Do they want to look good? Consider how your project could help the funder reach their goals.
5. Look out for keywords that the funder uses to talk about what they want to achieve and use them in your project pitch (or funding application). A great place to find more useful keyworks is in local, regional and national funding strategies which you can search for online.
6. Remember funders want to fund outcomes and impacts, those tangible changes that your work will achieve. So when you create your project pitch, focus on the need that you want to address (the problem), who/what your project will benefit (the solution) and how it will create an impact (the long-term changes that your project will make happen).
7. Use active language e.g. Improve, Develop, Change, Build … to show that you’re motivated to make change happen.
Measure and report your impact
So you’ve won funding. Great! Now you need to keep your funder informed as to your progress and overall impact. This is a key part of the funding contract and if you do it well you’ll increase your chances of getting funding next time. Here’s how:
8. Share how your project’s progressing with pictures, videos and short posts shared on social media (or on your ActionFunder dashboard). If you’ve won funding on ActionFunder you’ll have to do this as a part of your funding contract. This is a great way to connect with your funder and to celebrate what you’re up to with all your supporters and potential future funders.
9. Measure your impact. Measuring your impact can feel like a pain. You’ve won funding, done all the work and now you have to report on it? Surely that’s too much to ask? Think again! Measuring your impact will ensure you keep a record of what you’ve achieved which future funders always like to see. And it’ll remind you to celebrate your achievements with your team which is a great way to keep them engaged.
On ActionFunder we’ve simplified the impact reporting process by cutting out the unnecessary questions and creating an easy online form which prompts you to report on the outcomes of your project and the positive changes your actions have triggered in 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?) measurements.
10. Gather and share the evidence of your impact (through surveys, photos, videos, interviews etc.) to support your impact reporting and help you to learn and improve what you do. Gather evidence before you start your project and then again once you’ve finished to show the difference you’ve made. Share the results with your funder (in your impact report) as well as your team and all your other supporters (on social media and your website if you have one).
Are you ready to find funding? Sign up to ActionFunder today Don’t forget to use all the things you’ve learnt here to make your project pitch a success.