Today we hear from Ruth Stephens. Ruth is the Funding and Relationship Manager for Essex at Big Lottery Fund. We asked Ruth is she could share with us her top tips for organisations to help them stand out. Whether you apply her advice to a business case, funding application or presentation it makes good sense.
- Engagement with service users
At the Fund, this is particularly important for us, but any funder will want to know a service is valued by the people who use it. We look for real, in-depth relationships with the people benefitting from a service, and clear evidence that they want a project to happen or continue.
Organisations who have or have planned diverse income streams (including income generation, potential statutory work, a range of funders) and who aren’t dependent on one source will have an advantage with any funder.
- Reach / equalities
Make sure your service is really reaching out to different communities and taking your project to them rather than just being ‘open to all’. For example, how are you making sure Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities are engaging with your work? Are you speaking to different community groups and tailoring your approach to suit them? Most funders will consider this but this is a vital part of applying for Lottery funding.
- Be clear about who you want to help and how you are going to do it
Sounds obvious, but being clear on this (including how your work leads to the outcomes you have set) is often challenging. Ask someone who knows nothing about your project to look over your plans, do they understand it easily?
- Local context and partners
Again particularly important for us, how does your work fit into the local context and other services? Are you working with a range of partners? Strong applications will show a range of relationships and understanding of the context of a project’s work.
Photos with thanks to Silverline Memories