The perfect application really!! Well no, but a useful exercise is to write a case for funding that stacks the odds up in your favour; it does not need to be real, but contain the information and support you would like to have when making a bid.
So what would it contain? something like….
Our members/ beneficiaries have approached us to ask for a development of the service which would enable them to……… They need to do this because no other organisation is able to provide this for them, the lack of this is causing them problems such as…………; if they where able to access this it would enable them to access more services/ improve confidence help them to gain employment/ improve their literacy skills. [ to show project originated with those who will use the service, and identifying how they will benefit]
Following on from this initial approach we consulted more widely with members and they have supported the project idea; we have identified at least (#) people who will take up this service immediately [clearly identified target group/ numbers and consultation with membership]
A small group of members (#) have offered to volunteer their time to help set this up, and have already run a couple of raffles and quizzes to raise some funds towards the costs [ members committed enough to give their own time and generate money to support it]
We have discussed this project with the Council who have committed 50% of the funds if we are able to raise the rest ourselves. However this offer is only available for the financial year. They feel that the work complements their local development plan for our clients and recognize that this new support is not available elsewhere. [commitment from statutory body (I did say it was the ideal, not necessarily reality!), and confirming the project meets local priorities, adding a time limit to the match funding makes you more or a priority]
A similar project was run in a neighbouring county that had excellent results for their members; were are therefore confident that the initiative will be a success. We measure change using a methodology devised with members that enables us to track improvements in peoples well being over time [showing that the approach does work and you have a method to measure changes/ benefits of the work, also again showing member engagement]
There is academic research from (university) that has shown the benefits of this work having both immediate and long term benefits for those taking part [demonstrate the project is credible in its claims, having both short and long term benefits makes the effect more sustainable ]
The project fits within our longer term development for the organisation; it will create new opportunities for members that are shown to have positive results [show that the project is part of your overall strategy and not diverting you from your core work]
We have the management costs in place for the organisation, so all funds secured will go directly to delivering this work [In reality you may need to show good value for money, how you keep overheads down and ensure as much money as possible goes to the service and not management]
Having all this in place is unlikely, but the nearer you can get to this, the better. Some elements should be easy enough such as the consultation with members and having a solid monitoring system in place. You can also do something to raise some money towards the project, even if you only get a small amount it shows you have tried and made the effort.
What is also apparent from a ‘perfect’ application is how much is in the planning and preperation. The actual application is only a small part. Therefore when you are preparing your next application make sure you have done the planning first. By way of example I recently completed an application for Henry Smith Charity for a group that has undertaken an evaluation of the project that they want refunded. The application was so straight forward to write as all the evidence was in the evaluation and they have been speaking with other organisation to identify the need and get their support. They knew what is cost to deliver, what % of people have positive outcomes etc.