Support for Groups
Unless you're very unlucky, you should be able to get some help locally at no cost, though the quality of it may vary. Some advice and information may be worth paying for – it may be worth going on a training course, for instance, or buying a book. Just occasionally it may be worth spending money on a consultant to help you with your fundraising, but that certainly shouldn't be your first thought.
Whatever you do, remember that ultimately it's your organisation – not the adviser, or the author of the book or the creators of the software or website – that's asking someone for financial support. Trust your own judgement. And take responsibility for your own actions.
Because money is such a central problem for voluntary organisations and because successful fundraising is dependent upon so many other things – appropriate legal structure, effective management, competent accounting, not to mention knowing the right words to use, – it's hard to predict what information and which organisations should be listed as useful sources of help and advice. Only some of the sources listed below are likely to be appropriate for your group; don't think you have to explore all of them.
Where to go for advice and information about funding
Local development agencies (LDAs)
This is a term used to describe organisations that help 'develop' local voluntary and community groups through delivering a range of different services. They are called all sorts of different things. Somewhere Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), Somewhere Rural Community Council (RCC), Voluntary Action Somewhere, and Somewhere Council of Voluntary Organisations are examples of what your local LDA might be called.
Some areas have specific funding information organisations. They too have a variety of names. South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau and Funding Information North East are examples of dedicated funding advice agencies.
You may find that your local authority can point you in the direction of your nearest LDA or funding advice agency. Or try one of the following:
Other places to goUmbrella bodies: are there bodies covering your field of work, like Drugscope for work with drug related issues, Arts or Sports councils or a National Association of some sort? Use the Directory of umbrella bodies and resource agencies www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/askncvo/directory from NCVO to find a relevant agency.
Your local authority probably has officers that 'liaise' with the voluntary sector and may employ other staff, like community development workers, who are knowledgeable and helpful about funding for voluntary and community groups. Don't think of your local authority just as a source of possible grant aid, they may provide information and advice too.
Explore your local library service. They may have information about useful local contacts and will almost certainly be able to get you books.
Talk to other groups
How to identify the right funders for you
You may write the best funding application in the world but all your hard work will be wasted if you send it to the wrong funder.
You probably need to think about the kind of funder to approach and then use research tools to identify the specific funders to write to.
types of funding and funders
identifying specific funders
Every group will need to decide for itself which funders to approach for what. You might, for instance, ask your local council for help with your core costs and look to trusts and foundations for one-off items of equipment or support for new projects. Or you might ask the lottery for the capital costs of a new building and raise the running costs from earned income and service agreements. There is no single model and no single 'right' way of doing fundraising. But having decided on the kind of funders to approach, how do you find specific details?
The section at the start of this document suggests agencies that may be able to help. The section below gives details of useful books, publications, websites and software. You may find that local development agencies or other support organisations have copies of the books and the various computer-based tools for funder research.
You can get printed directories, software and online resources which provide information about funders. Some information is available free but you have to pay for most of the well maintained resources. You might be able to access some of these free through a local development agency or your local library so it is worth finding this out before buying anything.
books about fundraising
The Directory of Social Change publishes a number of books about how to do fundraising and how to write good applications. They include Raising Money for Good Causes: A Starter Guide,Organising Local Events, Tried and Tested Ideas for Raising Money Locally: Small and Medium Scale Events, The Complete Fundraising Handbook , and Writing Better Fundraising Applications.
If you're looking for books about how to do fundraising, don't worry too much about getting hold of the latest edition or the newest publication. But if you're looking for names and addresses and policy details, it really is crucial to get the most up-to-date edition you can.
Have a look at our leaflet Funding resources for details of current publications.
FunderFinder produces software which helps groups identify appropriate charitable trusts (see our Products section for details). Many local development agencies, local authorities and community resource agencies have our GIN software as a resource for local groups, so voluntary organisations can usually find somewhere to use GIN at no cost. But there are other options which might be appropriate.
The Directory of Social Change produces a CD Rom called The Grant-Making Trusts CD-ROM which is more of a self-contained package than GIN, although it has a less sophisticated search. It has names, addresses and policy details for about 4,000 trusts. The last edition was 2007.
FunderFinder has two free software applications. Apply Yourselves and Budget Yourselves. Apply Yourselves helps groups write effective funding applications. You can download it from this website.
information on the Internet
The DSC also have a website www.trustfunding.org.uk which allows you to search for appropriate charitable trusts. You have to subscribe to the website. Other applications include Grantfinder and applications produced by j4b.
In general there is a lot of useful information about funding, funders, and fund-raising on the Internet and much of it is free. What there is changes – and grows – at a great rate, so it is hard to be specific about where to go. You can expect information on government funding initiatives, and all European funding, to be available on-line. The DSC's governmentfunding.org.uk has information on some central government funding, local and regional government funding, but you now have to subscribe to the website.
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