Lorna Belsey, Senior Manager for Grant Making Operations at Charities Aid Foundation, answers some essential questions on grant funding applications following her recent webinar
Funding grants ensure that charities can continue to provide much-needed services. Over the past year, however, funding has become fiercely competitive. Your charity might be one of many writing grant applications, which unfortunately lessens your chance at success.
Our webinar (above) with Lorna Belsey, Senior Manager for Grant Making Operations at Charities Aid Foundation, explored some of the best ways that charities can secure a funding grant. The webinar proved immensely popular, particularly in terms of audience engagement.
Lorna covered so much ground, but time constraints meant we were unable to answer all of the audience questions during the session. Lorna has kindly agreed to provide some written answers to the most popular questions – and to provide some essential resources – which will give your charity an even greater chance of securing a funding grant.
Some funders don’t mention the grant sizes available. What’s the best course of action, particularly if they don’t have an easy route to be contacted?
There may be other indications of what they have funded in the past that you can find. This might include looking at their website, if they have one, or other sites such as 360Giving, or their Charity Commission returns, where they might provide an overview of their grants.
Can you suggest a structure to a funding proposal where the grant giver does not have an application form?
Funders will want to know about the issues you’re trying to address, why your organisation is well placed to tackle them, and how funding will benefit the communities you support.
They will also want to know how you intend to use the funding, the difference this will make, and how you will measure the impact. Setting these out clearly and distinctly should provide a good structure to your requests.
What tools would you recommend to calculate budgets and costs?
Budget expectations will vary by opportunity so in the first instance check whether the application guidance or the form itself sets out expectations. Check that if you provide a breakdown, the individual components add up to the total amount request.
The NCVO provides some important information on budgets.
How do you proceed if you don’t hear anything back from a funder after an application?
Often funders will outline if and when applicants can expect to hear about their application, so check any publicised dates first as some funders may not be able to provide an update ahead of those timings.
If there are no publicised dates, or they have passed, it can be good to follow-up with a funder to check on the progress.
When making an application and the questions seem similar, should you repeat answers from previous sections?
The questions may seem similar, but they are likely to be asking for slightly different information, so answer each question separately and ensure you’re addressing each question specifically. Avoid writing “see previous response” – try to answer each question in turn and to create an overall picture across your responses.
What are some good resources for charities to learn more about grant funding?
There are many good sites available. Here are just a few examples that might be useful: