Support Cambridgeshire 4 Communities is a free self service portal which enables voluntary and community organisations to browse, search and apply for grants to support their work. Follow this link to access the site and register for the service. This service was produced for locally-based, small community, voluntary or charitable organisations.
If you would like to find out more about the portal before registering, Support Cambridgeshire have published a recording of their ‘Find your Funding Workshop’ which explains how to get the most out of the Support Cambridgeshire funding portal.
Support Cambridgeshire also has a list of funders organised by areas of work. This database can give you a pretty good idea of the types of organisations to look out for. From ‘general purpose funders‘ who will fund a wide variety of projects, to funders that specialise in activities related to the environment – including conservation, open spaces and climate change. From small grant providers to kick start a community project, to funders for large capital projects, and lots more.
Anyone involved in the voluntary sector in Cambridgeshire can also subscribe to the Hunts Forum mailing list to receive newsletter and funding formation as well as other information relevant to the sector straight into your inbox.
An alternative to seeking grant money would be through fundraising projects such as crowdfunding. If you are new to crowdfunding Support Cambridgeshire has put together this handy guide explaining what crowdfunding is. If you are interested in starting your own crowdfunding campaign check out these top tips for crowdfunders to help you along the way.
Support Cambridgeshire’s guide to Writing Successful Funding Applications covers the things you need have in place before applying for funding, such as a bank account and appropriate policies, what funders want to see in your application, how to demonstrate need, writing our outcomes, outputs and impact, and your monitoring and evaluation. The guide also provides an example of a good funding bid and suggests some useful grant funding search tools.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has also produced a Writing a Fantastic Funding Bid guide covering the ten things funders look for, how can you show what impact funding might have, top tips for style and tone, how you can increase your chances of receiving further funding, and provides links to other national sources of advice and funding.
Where to find additional guidance
Still not sure whether a bid you’ve written is quite right? Your local CVS organisation (i.e. your local council for voluntary service) will be able to offer more guidance when it comes to specific funding applications. Check out our Your Local page to find your local CVS organisation.
Showing funders your project addresses a need
Its important to provide evidence to support your funding application, and many of the funding guidance out there emphasis the importance of evidencing need – i.e. demonstrating that the project you want funding is providing a solution that isn’t otherwise being solved, and that people want to solution to the problem you propose in your application. To help you unpack this CCVS has put together a guide to Evidence Need. This guide explains what we mean by ‘need’ in funding applications, how you can go about demonstrating demand for your project, and how you can demonstrate your project is the most appropriate solution to the problem you have described.
Project Planning and Management
If you have an idea for a project, it’s useful to get your ideas down on paper early. Once you have the general what you’d like to do and, most importantly, what you would like to have achieved at the end of your project, you can then begin working out the practical details to turn your idea into a reality. Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services have created a useful Project Proposal Template to guide you through the process of putting a project together step by step.
There are two versions of this resource available. If you are familiar with project planning and are just looking for a simple template to make your life easier, you can download a blank version of the template here.
However if you are new to project planning, you can download a version of the Project Proposal Forum with notes on how to fill in each section and some supporting guidance explaining each section. You can download this version here.
Project planning and setting out your Impact and Outcomes
Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services [CCVS] have put together an introduction to impact, outcomes and planning tools. Organisations seeking funding are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they are delivering their desired results. CCVS Introduction to Impact, outcomes and planning tools unpicks what funders mean by impact and outcomes and gives an overview of the planning tools that are available to help applicants demonstrate social impact.
You might even want to use the CCVS Outcome Monitoring Design Form as a template to help you write your project outcomes.
Monitoring and Evaluation: Demonstrating your success
After you have completed your project, funders will want to know whether you have achieved your desired impact and outcomes and they may ask you to stipulate in your application how you are going to measure the success of your work. CCVS and Hunts Forum have provided a Monitoring and Evaluation guide taking you through what to monitor and evaluate, the evaluation process, and setting indicators. Once you have better idea of what it is you want to evaluate you can then start thinking about collecting information. CCVS and Hunts Forum Collecting and Managing Monitoring Information is a good place to start here.
Funding Master Plans
One of the many skills you’ll develop as you delve into the world of grant funding is that there is an art to knowing where to look for funding opportunities. This is where it can help to have some sort of funding strategy. This can help you narrow down your search for funding to the organisations that are most likely to want to fund the type of project you’d like to do.
If you are a friends of group, or any group with some responsibilities for managing a park of green spaces, the My Community website has a guide on the types of activities that you may need to raise funds for, and how you can develop an income generation strategy. If you are interested in raising funds for larger projects such as refurbishing play equipment, landscaping, or running events, this guide is a good place to start. Especially if you don’t already have a funding strategy. Check out the My Community website to access the guide.
One of the benefits of developing a funding strategy, is that it helps you decide what it is you want to focus on over the year, three years or even five years. These plans are not set in stone, they can change and evolve depending on your opportunities and circumstances. But having a plan will give you a general direction of travel that can help you seek out those funding opportunities at align with your priorities.
For example, lets say you’re really interest in restoring nature in your park or green space, there are a number of different activities or projects that would help you reach your goal. Perhaps this could mean tree planting, habitat creation such as ponds and wildflower meadows. Once you have these ideas in mind, you can then start exploring the different avenues for generating the funds to carry out these projects.