Competition for funding has always been fierce and CICs can sometimes face the toughest battles.
Ideally a CICs source of financing would be its trading income rather than being reliant on funding. But we understand that some CICs will need funding to get off the ground, for some specific projects or to help with expansion.
The Road to Success
Many of our CICs are very successful in their applications for funding but we also hear the opposite, that funding is difficult to access and, in some cases, is drying up altogether! So we have pulled together some tips that we have gleaned from funding bodies over the years that we hope will improve your chances of success.
Basically, successful funding applications are less to do with the CIC model and more to do with the funding application itself.
Research and Contact
You are always going to stand a better chance of success if you follow these basic steps before putting together any application:
- before you approach a funding body, do your research. Make sure that the activities of your CIC and/or your community of benefit will be of interest to the funding body that you are applying to
- checkout any website that they may have or see if there is any information about them elsewhere online or in other literature
- don’t be afraid to contact the funding body before sending the application. Ask if your activity or community of benefit will be of interest to them and find out any basic criteria that they look for, such as a minimum number of directors
- do not try blanket emailing. Funders do seem to be able to sniff out even the most professional mail-merge and they don't like them, so if you do this it is likely that your time and effort will be wasted
To help you further, we have provided a list of do's and don'ts when it comes to applying to a funding body or grant giver:
- contact the funder beforehand to check eligibility
- complete the application form correctly
- enclose a stamped addressed envelope when requested
- give an idea of what the benefits will be, as projects may have to have an impact on the local community
- apply to funding bodies whose criteria you cannot meet
- apply outside the geographical area of benefit
- request more money than you need
- send the application as part of an un-targeted mass mail-out
- send too much supporting material, particularly glossy annual reports
The Institute of Fundraising
Finally, we always point CICs to the Institute of Fundraising who are always happy to advise you on any specific questions that you may have. They also offer general guidance about fundraising and the law. Their website includes blogs featuring:
- frequently asked questions as well as introductions to key points
- research and reports
- techniques, legislation and other essential information
- voices of the fundraising sector
We hope that by following these basic steps and tips that you will find it easier to access funding and that your CIC will go from strength to strength. Good Luck!