A to Z of funding (F)


Feasibility study

Funders may want proof - or at least good evidence - that a large project is feasible before investing large sums of money in it.

A feasibility study should make clear the conditions under which a project is feasible. It can involve:

  • looking at the experience of similar enterprises,
  • thinking through practical problems,
  • making projections about level of use, resources required, how income will be generated in future and sustained, necessary co-operation from other agencies, and
  • specifying the management and organisational requirements.

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Full project funding

In this model, each 'project' that an organisation seeks funding for has associated with it an appropriate proportion of the organisation's overheads. You would need to explain on what basis you were dividing up your core costs.

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FunderFinder is a small national (UK) charity that produces software for grant-seekers: GIN for groups wanting to identify charitable trusts and foundations that might fund their work and PIN, which pinpoints trusts and foundations which might fund an individual person. FunderFinder sells GIN and PIN but many local development agencies have them as a (free) resource for local groups. FunderFinder also produces Apply Yourselves, free software to help groups write effective funding applications and Budget Yourselves, free software to help groups write and use budgets effectively. Both are downloadable from their website.

FunderFinder is at:
65 Raglan Road
Leeds LS2 9DZ
telephone 0113 243 3008
website www.funderfinder.org.uk</u>

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Funding strategy

A funding strategy is a way of thinking ahead about the money you will need to carry out what you want to do, and planning how to get it. It is essentially a management tool for your organisation, though it may also help convince funders that you know what you're doing.

What it looks like and how detailed it is will depend on your circumstances, as will the period of time it covers. It may help to ask yourselves how far you can realistically think ahead. Sometimes organisations may have a 20-year vision but can only realistically plan for a few months ahead.

Management theories often suggest that you start with what you want to do, devise a fundraising strategy which enables you to get the necessary money and then carry out the work. In reality, things are often messier and less clear-cut. Sometimes new sources of money appear out of the blue and organisations, quite sensibly, change their plans to take advantage of the opportunity they present.

A funding strategy doesn't have to be about new work or developing the organisation, it may just be a plan to enable you to keep going as you are. For many groups, staying afloat is hard enough.

Exactly who creates a fundraising strategy for your group will depend on your circumstances. The important thing is that it comes out of the thinking and planning of the organisation as a whole, and isn't just the job of a 'fundraising sub-committee' or a worker. Whoever does it will probably need to think about:

  • current funders and what's likely to happen to that funding;
  • what activities will need funding in the future and how much will be needed;
  • what's going on in the outside world that might have an impact on your funding or on what you need to find funding for;
  • the resources you have as an organisation that can be put in to fundraising (time, money, skills, contacts);
  • the timetables you will need to work to make sure you get the money when you need it;
  • how likely it is that you will be successful (you may just have to make the best guess you can) and what you will do if you don't get the money;
  • whether you need funding for one thing in order to make something else viable; in other words, what your priorities are and whether bits of work are inter-related or stand alone;
  • what are the most likely sources of future funding for the activities that you want to carry out (you may need to first think about the kinds of likely funding - whether from trusts or companies or the council or your own activities, for instance - before you decide on specific funders to approach);

Although it is probably a good idea to write your funding strategy down, having the piece of paper is only a first step. You need to put it into practice and, as well as the obvious fundraising tasks, this will probably also involve:

  • keeping in touch with what's going on
  • promoting your organisation generally,
  • and developing your relationship with current funders.

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The Futurebuilders initiative aims to increase the participation of voluntary and community sector organisations in the delivery of public services. Futurebuilders England, a consortium of voluntary sector organisations, is administering the £125 million fund through 2006. Around 250 investments will be made, of varying amounts and to various types of organisations, primarily in the form of loans but also some grants.

The fund focuses on five themes, deemed to be areas of public services in need of improvement. The themes are: community cohesion, crime, education and learning, health and social care, and support for children and young people.

The telephone number for enquiries is 0191 269 5200 and offices are located at:

1 Carlisle Avenue

Level 14
Cale Cross House
156 Pilgrim Street

Email info@futurebuilders-england.org.uk
Website http://www.futurebuilders-england.org.uk/</u>

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