Top ten tips from the Santander Foundation Great applications don’t start with the application form. You should start by reviewing what your charity needs in order to reach its goals over the next year to three years. Don’t chase the money. Have a funding strategy and stick to it. Once you’ve identified which funders you are going to approach visit their own website or get a copy of their latest funding guidelines. Don’t rely on abstracts on other organisation’s websites. Read all of the guidance. If there is anything that you don’t understand, ask the funder. Most funders spend a great deal of time and effort trying to make their criteria and guidance as clear as possible so take care to read it. The reason why most applications fail is because the applicants haven’t met all the criteria. Evidence. Rather than simply attest that there is a need for this piece of work in your area, show evidence that you have consulted with your members, clients, beneficiaries, etc. and that this is the best way of delivering what they want. Also provide evidence of the long term difference that this grant will have for your beneficiaries. Make sure that you include everything that has been asked for. Up to 50 per cent of applications fail because the business plan, budget or annual report and accounts weren’t included. Where the funder uses an application form make sure that you answer the question rather than put “see attached”. Conversely, don’t send things which you have been specifically asked not to send. Use clear language and avoid jargon and acronyms. If you must use initials then use the title in full the first time followed by the acronym in brackets. Ask for the money and state exactly what this will be used to buy. You should include a simple budget at the very least. Please – no more £1,000 computers! We watch the PC World adverts too you know. Cost out each item accurately. Finishing touches – get someone else to read your final draft before you send it. If possible, someone who does not work in your field. Passion sells. The most powerful applications come from people engaged with service delivery. As a fundraiser if you aren’t involved in delivering the service that your charity engages in then use quotations from the people that do and the people that use the services. Make sure that at least one other person has a copy of the application and is fully briefed. That way if you’re away on holiday or maternity leave when the funder calls or visits, then all your hard work won’t be wasted. Don’t make assumptions – most funders are generalists so you need to explain the issues that your charity is dealing with.