fundraising

banner-1183407_640

When Grant Funders Say No

Grant funders don’t like to say no. They strongly believe in what charities do and they want you to succeed. Yet many of the applications they receive don’t qualify for funding, often because of problems that could have been avoided.

Knowing the reasons for rejections may help you avoid negative outcomes so I’ve put together a top 10 list given by funders to help smooth your application process:

  1. Applicant and application do not fit the grant givers funding criteria. This is the number one and by far the most important reason why applications get rejected. If you’re requesting any level of grant money, read the basic funding guidelines published by the funder. As well as reading the criteria, funders websites often list previous grants showing the types of organisations funded, the amount granted and an outline of the project.  If you are still unsure, give them a call or write a letter to ask if you are a suitable applicant.
  2. Applications lack the required documentation. Most funders require similar documents in addition to the application and you should have these in order before beginning the grant application process. Usually you will need your Charity Number, Charity Constitution, Charity Accounts, Financial Policy and for capital funding, a lease (or ownership) information and building permissions.  You may also be asked for your organisation's policies – volunteer, health and safety or safeguarding for example, so they should be up to date and readily available.
  3. Nonspecific projects. Funders complain that organisations share their mission, challenges and activities without describing the project they want to fund and the specific amount needed. Tell the funder exactly what you are doing, who you are helping and how it will get done. What specifically will you spend the grant funds on? Describe the specific project with budget, resources required, statistics and surveys of need, expected outputs and outcomes and the overall project timeline.
  4. Project budget not accurate or non-existent. Your project budget should include detailed documentation to support the actual expenses your project will require. A ballpark request for funds to support a project or initiative will be rejected no matter how great the goal or idea. Compile a detailed account of what your project will cost, including documents showing the basis of your expenses. Calculations should be double checked to make sure that your figures add up!
  5. Funding requested is too large an amount for the funding offered by the grant maker. Check the funders criteria and previous awards made to make sure you are within the correct funding limits.
  6. Underestimating the time involved in the grant application cycle. Grant funding is not a quick process and from application to receipt of funds you should allow for a minimum of 6 months, sometimes the better part of a year. The solution is to identify your funding needs as part of your organisation fundraising strategy, start your application research and plan your applications according to submission deadlines.
  7. Work on the project has already started. Funders very, very, very rarely give retrospective grants and this is not negotiable.
  8. You did not show how your project would be sustainable. Ask yourselves “what will happen once the grant funds run out?”. If you do not have a plan to sustain your project or have not made that plan clear in your application it may cause your application to be declined.
  9. Your organisation doesn’t have a track record to deliver this type of project. If the work is new to your organisation, show either that you have piloted the project, are following a similar model that has been successful elsewhere or that you have experienced staff or volunteers who can make the project a success.
  10. Application submitted after the deadline. Prepare and assemble all the correct documentation to avoid leaving the submission to the last minute, especially for online applications. A rushed application will always look like a rushed application.

You should also be aware that your application could be fine but that applications from other organisations fit the criteria more closely or that the money has all been allocated already for this grant cycle. You may want to ask the funder for feedback and use what you’ve learned in your next round of grant proposals. Send your applications to a diverse group of funders and be sure to explain how your project can help each foundation meets its own goals, not only how the foundation can help you meet yours.

Above all—be patient, be persistent, and be positive.

money-230265_640

GASDS Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

If your charity has events where you accept donations you should be reclaiming gift aid from HMRC using the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme GASDS. The maximum donation for which you can make a claim on the GASDS scheme is currently £20 but due to rise to £30 in April 2019, and it's important to note that donations are not a membership or ticket fee

The rules are straightforward, you must already be registered for gift aid and have made a gift aid claim. Your charity can then claim a payment equivalent to gift aid on cash donations of £20 or less, without the need for the donor to complete any paperwork, or for the donor to be a taxpayer. GASDS Claims are made alongside Gift Aid claims using the Charities Online template provided by HMRC. Note that an individual donation can only be eligible for one type of claim. It is either eligible under Gift Aid or the GASDS but not both.

HMRC states that to make a GASDS claim you must have claimed Gift Aid in the same tax year as you want to claim GASDS and without incurring a penalty in the last two years. You must also have claimed Gift Aid in at least two of the last four tax years (without a two-year gap between claims). Your GASDS claim can’t be more than 10 times your Gift Aid claim – so if you receive £100 in Gift Aid donations in a tax year, you can only claim on up to £1,000 of small donations under GASDS for that year (when you actually submit the claim is irrelevant). The maximum GASDS claim is £2000.

I found a really good example on the stewardship.org.uk website:

A charity receives £8,800 in a tax year in eligible cash donations with documented Gift Aid donations of £800 and small cash donations of £8,000. The charity can make claims on all of its donations; £800 under the Gift Aid scheme, and £8,000 under the GASDS because the matching principle allows for a GASDS claim of ten times that of the Gift Aid claim for donations received in the same tax year. The charity will receive £2000 in GASDS (25% of £8000) which is currently the maximum and £200 (25% of £800) in Gift Aid from their £8800 donations.

Good to note that you should inform your supporters that they need to commit to Gift Aid to allow you to make a GASDS claim.

place-name-sign-1647341_640

Telling Your Story for Digital Fundraising

Telling people the mission of your charity is no longer good enough. It has become increasingly obvious in the last few months of blog reading and webinar listening that digital fundraising in 2019 will be all about telling stories about your organisation and stories about the people you support.

Whether we like it or not social media has changed the way we communicate with one another. Social media use is growing; 68% of adults use Facebook; 73% use YouTube and 82% of Baby Boomers use social media sites. When we hear a story, we relate it to our own experiences and how we feel about it. Your story should inspire your supporters to take action and share with their own personal social networks.

Story telling is the perfect way to communicate in personal terms your charity’s mission, impact and to engage with your donors and supporters. Use your website, emails and your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube ….)  to inform the world about what you do and how you are helping your community. The benefits of telling the right story will be bigger donations, increased media coverage for your cause and better connections with your current and new supporters.

A good story turns people from passive to active. Making readers understand and empathise with the subjects of your story, is 100% more effective than explaining what you do in a dry academic report. Great stories resonate with an audience. Decide who your story is appealing to and craft it accordingly. Your story will take shape when you have identified: your most active supporters; what they like; what motivates them; what makes them happy/sad and what’s important to them.

Why not put together a series of stories on the same subject from different perspectives to appeal to different donor age groups and motivations.

Everyone in your organisation should be collecting stories: beneficiary stories; organisation stories; supporter stories; volunteer stories; event stories; donor stories; community stories - the list is endless. They should also be collecting images and making videos! If you want to showcase your organisation and the amazing things you do - what better way to do it than to engage those who do the work every day as well as the people in your community who benefit.

Finally, remember that donors fund people - not organisations - so make your stories about people!

© Copyright 2017 Voluntary Support North Surrey. Privacy Policy. Registered Charity Incorporated Organisation Number 1141587