23 April 2009

Top ten tips for getting external funding

Prompted by another blog I was just posting on - I dug these out from my files. I thought readers might be interested:

  1. Know the names of the funds you’re considering and who controls them and what they focus upon.
  2. Spend your time finding the right fund to match the aims of your project (rather than trying to ‘shoe horn’ your project into a fund you find out about).
  3. Make contact with people - ideally face to face (network) - use them to explore your ideas for the right project (and shape the proposal) against their objectives.
  4. When going for resources from external funds - the bid/no bid stage is a crucial one. Before proceeding it is always worth thinking hard - what chances have we got - will it be worth all the effort...?
  5. Check eligibility for certain funds rigorously.
  6. Funders tend to like having something to open (yellow ribbon / velvet curtains etc.) - therefore you will increase your chances of success if there is tangible or lasting something to come out of the project.
  7. Recognise the shift in culture that will be necessary in your organisation to bid successfully - the funders are not obliged to give you money - you are in competition - the funders will need to be convinced of your case. This is a different culture to one in which money/resources are allocated by the government to public services.
  8. Put in place now the information links you will need in order to put together good bids - case studies/potted histories of successful projects are very helpful.
  9. Develop a contacts database - you never now when it might be useful to contact that Spanish Eurocrat you met on holiday or just who were that team of Polish police officers that came to visit....etc. (Many EU funds require an international dimension.)
  10. Invest in building partnerships locally - these take time to build and nurture. Check for signs that they are working well or not. Remember you are not seeking to impose your agenda on them (nor they on you...) ...what is your joint agenda?

Hope that these points help - although they may be very obvious

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