A to Z of funding (S)


Seed funding

In basic terms, seed funding is start up costs, provided to allow a project to be initiated.

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Social responsibility

The idea that organisations and individuals have a responsibility to the society in which they operate and should contribute to it. Many companies do their grant-making through departments of social responsibility.

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(Statement of Recommended Practice) sets out standards for accounting by charities, including what information should be included in annual accounts. It applies to virtually all charitable organisations in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The only exceptions are charities that have their own SORP (e.g. the SORP for Registered Social Landlords).

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Sponsorship is a term that fundraisers sometimes incorrectly use when making what essentially is a request for cash. "Will you sponsor me in the London Marathon" is actually asking for a donation. "Will you sponsor a page in our programme" is usually a request for advertising. Sponsorship is not a glorified donation, and the fact that you are a charity is largely irrelevant. it is a business arrangement. The charity is looking to raise funds for its work and the company wants to improve its image, promote and sell its products or entertain its customers. True commercial sponsorship is a partnership between the donor and the recipient, for mutual benefit.

The bulk of corporate sponsorship money goes to sport. As a charity, however, you will not be competing for a share of the same budget. Rather, you will be concerned with a smaller, but growing 'market', covering social sponsorship. Achieving success here will be no easier a task than if you were competing in the bigger league, but you can increase your chances by doing the following:

Identifying possible donors opportunities can arise not just because of the nature of the sponsorship (access to a target audience or public personalities), but also because the timing is appropriate (A building company is shortly to open a new shopping complex in your town)
Preparing a sponsorship package a written proposal outlining the project and highlighting all the benefits to be gained by the company. This should also include a price for the sponsorship which will reflect as much the benefits to the company as to yourselves.
Determining the budget head this will identify where the money is coming from, who is responsible for it, and what return is expected. The main possible sources are marketing, corporate image and employee relations (human resources department).
Making the approach arrange a face to face meeting with the person who will make the decision (based on the source above) to give a presentation and discuss the sponsorship opportunities. Only then will you be in a position to find out about the companies needs and how you can meet them.
Contractual issues once you have been successful in gaining sponsorship you will need to agree terms through a contract. This sets out a legal agreement about which you will need to be clear in order to avoid possible problems at a later date.

The above is but an outline of some of the major points you will need to consider before seeking out and obtaining a sponsorship deal. For more in-depth advice regarding this see Finding Company Sponsors for Good Causes (Chris Wells), published by the Directory of Social Change.

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Strategic Funding

Strategic funding is when funders support an organisation either because there is synergy between their overall objectives or because they support the organisation's objectives. It is funding that is not tied to a specific project or initiative. Think of it more as a partnership rather than the giving and receiving of a grant. Funders are unlikely to adopt this model unless there is a very close fit between their objectives and yours and both parties are involved in setting the goals and reviewing progress.

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A SWOT analysis considers Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. Like a PEST analysis, it involves looking at the factors that have a bearing (or might do) on your organisation, and can provide a good starting point for planning.

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