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How To… Find funding for your Green Hub

Funding your Green Hub activities is always going to be one of your key concerns. But don’t despair, it doesn’t need to be scary, read our top tips and you will be well on your way to success.

Funding Drop-In Session

1. Make a plan

Before you start, plan out a few key things that will help you in your search for funding. Think about:

  • Who do you want to work with? Children, adults, families? Diverse groups?
  • What is the theme of your work? Is it themed around the environment, food insecurity, homelessness, and isolation?
  • What are you asking for money for? Is it a one-off event, or a six-week project?
  • Are there staff members that you need to pay to run your hub, or will it be run by volunteers? (Remember, volunteers don’t equal “free” – you still need to factor in costs of brews and uniform, equipment for your volunteers!)
  • Will you make money from your events, and re-invest this in your organization, or use the money earned to pay people?

2. What type of organisation is your hub?

This will determine what types of funding you can access. Are you a CIC or CIO, or a fully registered charity? Are you a constituted community group (a community group with a governing document)? Quite often you will need some sort of structure in place, as many funders do not fund individuals or sole traders.

3. How long have you been operating?

Some larger funders only fund organisations that have been operating for a minimum amount of years – sometimes 2 years or more. Sometimes you may need a minimum turnover as well.

  • Some funds support small, start-up organisations – try UnLtd if you are interested in funding an idea for a social enterprise/charity that you have not launched yet, or are in the process of launching.

Types of funding

Do you have a fund in mind, or are you looking for any type of funding?

  • If you are just starting, look for small grant programmes. Some key funds that will fund Green Hub activities include the National Lottery Community Fund – their Awards for All programme is ideal for small projects and requests for under £10,000. Another key funder is People’s Postcode Lottery which have a small grants programme.

  • Often supermarkets and big chains will have foundation trusts that help groups. Key ones include Tesco (administered by Groundwork), Coop, Screwfix and B&Q.

  • If you live near an on-shore, or off-shore windfarm, then they will usually have funds available for community projects. Grantscape is a good source of information on funding available from energy companies.

  • If you live near a waste disposal unit/tip, they often have open funds. Grantscape is another good one to have a look at for these.

  • Trusts and Foundations are usually a good place to go for small, specialist grants.

  • Some funders will fund “core costs” or “overheads” as part of a funding application. Others may offer “unrestricted” funding, which is funding that can be used for anything, including energy bills, and staff salaries, that doesn’t have to be fixed to a specific project.

  • More and more, funders are looking for partnership projects. Especially if you are a small organization, think about your network and how you can work together with others to apply for bigger funds to maximise your reach and impact. Remember, together you are stronger!

  • Be strategic with what funds you apply to – make sure they are relevant and appropriate to your organization. Writing funding bids takes time, and you don’t want to spend a long time on a bid that is not appropriate for your organization.

  • Join organisations such as GrantFinder (paid site) to find funds. Look at your local CVS website, which usually has local funding opportunities. Lancashire County Council, for example, runs a free-to-use funding page that covers the whole of the UK.

How to apply

Now you have worked out which fund you would like to apply for…how do you apply?

  • Each fund is different. Don’t reuse a full application – you can reuse bits, but make sure you tailor each application to the fund you are applying to. It can be obvious if you haven’t read the full details available.

  • Sometimes funds will ask you to make an online application. In this case, you may be able to copy and paste the questions into a Word document to work on offline and copy and paste your answers back online when you are ready to submit.

  • Funds will usually ask you to submit a costed budget plan alongside your written application. Take time to research this properly, and obtain quotes if you need them. Demonstrating that you have taken time to cost out your proposal will show funders that you are committed to delivering the work.

  • You will usually have to answer four to five questions, detailing the history of your organization, what you will do with the money, who you will be working with, how that will help the intended beneficiaries, and if you are working in partnership. There may be other more detailed questions localized to the fund or specific aims of the fund.

Tips

Here are a few final tips for writing a slick application

  • Make sure you write in the present and future tense, rather than the conditional tense. Instead of “if we got the money, we would spend it on (x)”, write, “With this funding, we will buy (x) and develop (y) project”.

  • Make sure you ask someone separate from the project to have a look over your application. Your project is your baby, and you know all the ins and outs. But it’s easy to forget to explain something when it becomes second nature to yourself.

  • Be concise. The more to the point, the better – funders have to read lots of applications, and a clear, concise application that demonstrates why you are the best candidate will stand out the most.

  • Make sure you are clear about who your beneficiaries will be, and include any demographic statistics if you think it will help. You can find demographic statistics on the government websites and your local authority public health team should have publicly available statistics for your area.

  • Reach out for help. Some funds will have grant advisers who are there to support you through the process – Groundwork funds are often like this. Also, reach out to your local CVS organization, they usually have a dedicated funding officer and run courses to support your development.

  • Remember – writing funding applications is a skill. It may seem daunting at first, but the more you do, the easier and less overwhelming it will become. It’s a competitive market out there, but the more practice you get, the better. Have a look at our funding page for information on open funds. And most importantly, Good Luck!

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