Determine the need
Build a rationale for your project
Identify the following:
- What 'problem' or 'issue' is it that you are seeking to tackle
- How your experience enables you to tackle this 'problem' or 'issue'. This is related to:
- What is the added-value of having your organisation/trade union/ TUC carry out this project, rather than another organisation
- How this issue can best practically be addressed by a project (i.e. the methodology to be used)
It is hard enough to write a good funding application but nearly impossible if you are unclear about:
- What you want to do and/or
- What you need to do to support those who will be benefitting from your activities
Only apply for funding for projects that fit your organisation's values, priorities and skills and that take your organisation towards it strategic goals. If you don't, you are in danger of becoming 'funding-led' and will end up doing a not very good job on projects that don't really fit your strengths and aims.
- Focus only on funding for projects that fit with your priorities and which build on your strengths.
- Be clear and agree on the project(s) and activities for which you need to raise finance, before you start looking for funding.
- Make sure you have sufficient time to research and clarify the bid, build any partnerships you need and complete the application form/bid.
- As developing and pursuing funding applications can take a lot of time and resources, consider 'does the benefit to the organisation outweigh the cost'.
Developing the evidence base and a needs analysis
There are two steps that need to be taken before researching the evidence base. First, decide whether this is a project. Once you have determined this, it then needs funding.
Many funders will want evidence that demonstrates you have researched and have a detailed knowledge of the needs of your client/target group and of the 'need' for the project. Therefore:
- Demonstrate you understand your client group (interviews, literature etc.) and use this to build and refine your approach.
- If you are extending or refining an existing project, consider conducting interviews, a survey or focus groups with your existing clients. Use this information to shape the content of your project and maybe even write it up into a report that you can cite as supporting evidence in future bids.
- Research evaluations (simple google searches can be helpful here) of activities similar to your own and cite any evaluations of your own activities. Cite how you learned from these.
You should ensure you can fully show how the project fits to existing need and potential funder's priorities (or other funder priorities should it be a bid to a Trust or Foundation etc).
Next: Finding partners