How to get the funding you need to make the impact you want

How to get the funding you need to make the impact you want

2 Aug 2016

With access to investment finance and grant funding very competitive, it’s often hard for social enterprises to get the funding they need, to make the impact they want.

For this reason it's vital to plan applications carefully, as failed bids can snowball into rushed applications - perhaps the next one will give you the green light to make the impact you are so passionate about.

Social enterprises generate their own income through the services they provide, but many need financial support to achieve their social objectives. Therefore, having a strong fundraising strategy in place can go a long way in helping organisations expand their social provision and amplify their social impact.

So, instead of just pressing ahead and getting another application submitted, stop, take a step back and develop a fundraising strategy.

There is no hiding the fact that creating a good strategy can take a lot of head-scratching and hard work, but in the long run a great fundraising strategy will help you:

  • develop a more considered approach to funding
  • increase your chances of success
  • help you continue your current work
  • expand your services into new areas of work
  • develop multiple revenue streams
  • raise more regular long term funding
  • engage with stakeholders
  • review your social impact planning and provision.

To help you get started, we thought we'd share a few things we've learned through our successful and unsuccessful attempts at fundraising over the last few years.

Don't go it alone

Fundraising should not be about one person sitting down and writing a grant application in isolation. The best place to start is to engage staff and stakeholders on how the company can best meet its social aims and objectives.

Developing a written fundraising strategy is essential in helping you plan and prioritise your fundraising work and taking a long term view will help you avoid rushed applications, therefore increasing your application success rate. It will also help you better target grants that are right for your community offer.

Keep it in proportion

The depth of your strategy document will depend on your group's fundraising ambitions. If you only require a small sum for a one off activity, you probably don’t need a detailed strategy. However, it's still important to research and plan how to apply for funding.

Involve beneficiaries

Fundraising needs the commitment of everyone in your organisation and this should not stop once the strategy is written. Regular updates and reviews are essential to keeping your strategy relevant to stakeholders.

At Poached, alongside our social impact reporting, we invite past trainees and volunteers to our monthly team meetings, to give an objective account of the impact we are making. This directly helps us to prioritise the areas we should be developing.

To find out more about the social impact we make visit our social impact page.

Get help when you need it

If you're interested in developing a strategy for your organisation we recommend contacting your local voluntary action council for more information, or attending The School of Social Entrepreneurs next workshop on Developing a Fundraising Strategy.

This blog is part of our Amp Your Impact campaign - share your great practice using our #ampyourimpact hashtag and follow us on Twitter.

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