supporting, developing and representing community groups,
voluntary organisations, social enterprises and volunteering

Funding Hints and Tips

  • FVA has a long and successful track record in working with organisations of all types and sizes in Fife to secure, manage and report on funding. We've secured millions of pounds of funding here in Fife and brought in millions of pounds worth of funding from a range of funders throughout the UK. We provide free, one-to-one funding support tailored to your organisation's requirements, as well as training sessions related to funding and financial management.

    Importance of a good funding application
    Applications for funding far outweigh the funds available that funders can distribute. The main aim is to give money to organisations and groups that can evidence the difference they will make and where the greatest needs are. There is much competition and in order to succeed, any application needs to stand out and show that you are well-managed, have financial accountability, and can provide evidence of successful project development as well as local reputation.

    When should you apply for funding?
    Before applying for funds careful consideration must be given to the ability of your group/organisation to take on the extra responsibility and work involved if you are successful. Clear and robust governance arrangements, good financial management and sufficient people with the time and skills to manage the organisation and oversee the funded activity are all essential. If you've not got these key ingredients, or you're not sure, FVA can help - we have an organisational health check which is free and will identify strengths and areas for improvement. We'll even help you with any improvement actions as required.

    Be clear about who you are and what you do
    In the local area your group may be well known, but you must remember that a potential funder has no idea who you are or about the project or the work that you do. Clear distinguishable aims setting out your objectives should show how you achieve success. A good, short mission statement capturing the project's main activities, purpose, and who the users are gives a lot of information but avoid any jargon!

    Do we need to be a registered charity?
    Not all funders require you to be a registered charity but there are many who do. If you don't have charitable status but feel this is something you wish to explore, our Capacity Building team will be able to give expert advice and assist you with all steps involved in becoming a charity or adopting another suitable structure depending on your needs.

    Is an up to date constitution important?
    All funders require some sort of governance document, articles of association, constitution or set of rules that clearly sets out why your group exists and what it can and cannot do. The constitution needs to demonstrate clear leadership and include rules about who is eligible to be members, how the committee is formed and office bearers are elected, how decisions are made, how the finances are managed, what the procedure is for calling any annual or special general meetings. The document should then give an overall picture of good practice and reflect how your organisation operates. Again, our Capacity Building team can assist in drafting a suitable document for your particular needs.

    Planning a Project
    Most funders are able to quickly tell where an application has been properly thought through and planned before the submission. You will need to demonstrate how the project will be managed and resourced, who will benefit and how, but you should not forget to include how the project will be monitored and evaluated as funders will look for a progress report at regular intervals. Make sure that costs are realistic as under-pricing a project can lead to serious problems.

    Who can we apply to for funding?
    A lot will depend on the level of funding you are looking for. Potential funders will determine on other things like the benefiary group, the area where the activity will take place and, in some cases, the legal form of your organisation (some funders won't fund Community Interest Companies (CICs) for example). A list of main funders in Fife can be found on the right hand side of this page.

    Identifying funding sources can be a daunting task, so we've put together a list of main potential options for most organisations, to give you a flavour of what's available (see right hand side). There are lots of other possibilities out there, though, you do need to choose carefully and make sure your project is the right fit for both the funder and for your project before you apply. Not only will you have a greater chance of success, you will also not close off a funding source that might be more valuable for a project further down the line. Many funders won't fund the same organisation more than once in a short space of time.

    There are also opportunities to apply for local funding through Fife Council's Community Investment Team who can be contacted on 03451 555 555 Extn. 441233.

    Funding Scotland is a website that can be searched to identify potential sources and can be accessed through both Fife Voluntary Action's offices throughout Fife and our website (see the link at the top right of this page).

    Why do some applications fail?
    Common simple mistakes are surprisingly often the main reasons for failure, e.g. the application form was incomplete and missing some basic contact details or you have failed to provide sufficient information. Fife Voluntary Action staff come with a wealth of experience in supporting organisations to understand potential funders' criteria and can usually assist you to strengthen any weak areas in order to demonstrate the advantages of your project.

    Top Funding Tips
    • Check the closing date carefully before application completion - late applications will be ignored by almost every funder;
    • Any questions should be directed to the potential funder as any contact prior to application submission may give you valuable information and count in your favour;
    • Carefully check the criteria and funding objectives to ensure that what you are setting it out is applicable and meets the objectives of the funder - no matter how good your project is, they won't fund it if it doesn't meet their criteria/priorities!;
    • Make the application form clear and concise, ensure the numbers add up and that you've added all of the additional information/documents requested (for example accounts, constitution etc.);
    • Ask someone to independently review the draft application. If they find it confusing or unclear, there's a good chance that the funder will struggle with it too;
    • Make sure you fulfil criteria to provide appropriate progress reports;
    • If successful always thank the funder and make sure you credit them in any publicity - press articles, notices, leaflets etc. and send the funder a copy;
    • Tell the funder how the project develops and take photos.

This page was last updated on 17 September 2020.
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