Knowledge based Funding Opportunities

Many partners ask the e.p.a. team to help with their funding. It’s challenging to provide a general concept, that fits for many different purposes and for different civil society organisations all over Europe and beyond, but we are happy to offer this knowledge based guide as a basic orientation and good starting point for your successful fundraising.

We won’t show you where to fund raise, but how to fund raise and what you need to prepare and to think of to be successful.

Before you start your fundraising research, you should ask yourself …

  1. Who are you fundraising for and why?
  2. How is this funding going to help?
  3. What is the proof of this need?
  4. Where will this project take place?
  5. How much are you asking for?
  6. What would you spend the money on?

And always remember:

“Not every good idea is a project.
Not every project is a good idea.
And a project cannot do everything!”

e.p.a. believes there are four main ways to gain funding:

Individual Giving
from well-known local celebrities, local shop keepers, crowd funding

Private Bodies

Charities and trusts that are set up to fund specific wishes of the donor

Statutory Funds

International, European, EU, National, Local/City Authority etc.

e.g. from a sponsored bike ride/run supported from a local entrepreneur

Funders offer different things

One donor might only fund capital costs and not salaries, another donor might have a ceiling of €500 so no point in asking for €2.000 unless you have, or know, where the other €1.500 are coming from. Some funders only allow one application, other may want to commit to supporting you for a number of years.
Some (like the EU Erasmus+ Programme) you can apply each year and if you have many international friends, the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe may support you.
You may get some inspiration from other projects with a similar focus and take a closer look at their supporter logos. Research what funding is available in your Local Authority Youth Department.

Multi-funding opportunities

It is important to consider how to target your fundraising. An example is wanting Sports Equipment for your Young people. It could be a Sports Development project, or a Health Education project, or sports for Mothers and Children project, or sports for special needs children project.
This is not an invitation to lie, but to consider carefully what funding is available for what purpose and maybe to direct the project in a particular way.

Your organisation’s capacity

Have a look at the funder’s rules and conditions and try to estimate, if your organisation, your resources can cope with the administration of the grant (i.e. application, approval, bookkeeping, evaluation, final report). It makes no sense if your organisation meets all the formal criteria and runs a wonderful project but may seriously suffer from the extensive administration of the grant!

Putting your “fund raising” together

To make an application to any of the funders mentioned above, you need to produce at least 80% of the following. If you have this information ready, you’re able to fill in most funders’ application forms:

  • Latest financial statement of your organisation
  • Breakdown of your current funding
  • Balanced Accounts from last financial year
  • Detailed budget of the project you want funding for
  • Detail of other funds you have obtained
  • Description of the purpose of the funding you seek, with documentary proof of need
  • Details of your organisation’s legal status/constitution, management
  • Up to date leaflet/newsletter describing your organisation
  • Letters of support/ press cuttings/ Web based mention
  • Last Annual Report
  • Details of Staff, key people, volunteers
  • Quotations, if asking for capital and salary costs
  • Detail/statistics of how many people will benefit from your project
  • Time scale start and ending dates
  • How will you evaluate your project?

Identify your strengths as a selling point

The importance or urgency of the need you are addressing

Try to make sure you have identified the real issues which need to be addressed.
Lack of provision is not enough. You have to demonstrate a reason for what you want to do.
Have you got research/documentation to back up what you want to do.

Emotional appeal (handle with care!!)

The sad truth is that many, if not most decisions on funding have an emotional element.
Don’t disguise it by using jargon. If for example your young people are disadvantaged, explain how and in what ways you will improve their situation.

Innovative or imaginative?

If you are doing something new, interesting, innovative or imaginative: Demonstrate why and how?

Cost effective

This means being clear about the beneficial outcomes and if possible, how it is quantifiable/proven?

Some thoughts on different elements of an application

Summary (keep it brief)
Who is applying? (name of your organisation with a brief paragraph of what you do)
How much? (total cost of the project / amount requested in application)
To do what? (say clearly, briefly and accurately what you will do)
What way will you do it? (How will you achieve your aims?)

Introduction (establish your credibility)
Some background information about your organisation (its size, current funding, legal status, management structure, who are members)
Your past achievements and evidence of your track record
What you do, where are you based, when did you start, what led to this application?

Issue/problem being helped (What is the need you are helping?)
Show that it is demand led – not supply led!
Show that it is real! (i.e. not a solution looking for a problem!)
Show it is important and solvable!
Why is your organisation doing it? (Is any other organisation doing the same thing?)

Programme and Methods (Here we show what we want to do about it.)
What are going to do about the problem/issue (objectives)?
What Methods will you use? (a plan of action)
How will you evaluate your project?

Budget (you have costed it properly)
It must be clear, comprehensive, and realistic.
It should add up and be balanced. (showing other funding where necessary)
It could include non-money support (volunteers, free goods, services etc.)

Future Funding (Have you thought about the long-term implications?)
Will the project continue after the application funding finishes?
Will you need more money to continue?

Double check
Before: Read the application form at least twice before filling it in and always remember to answer their questions not what you think are their questions!
After: Then ask a friend to re-read the completed application to ensure all questions are answered and most points in this description (above) are covered.

Finally, don’t forget …
… to thank the officers/trustees for looking at your application and to mention a contact, if any further information is required (your name and phone number).

Good luck! If you would like to discuss the topic of fundraising, please contact us.