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Applying for funding - top tips

23 Mar 2017

For many people, the financial year is drawing to a close. Budgets are tight, and you may be thinking about applying for grant funding to help ease the pressure and allow you to invest in improvements and developments that will benefit your customers. 

This could mean applying to an external body for a grant, or you may be bidding on a pot of money available inside your organisation. 

To give you a helping hand when completing your bid, we asked Darren Starkey from Granted to share his do's and dont's when applying for funding.

5 Top Tips

  • First, plan and prepare your project thoroughly.  Create a business case.  Clearly build a strong and credible case evidencing need and demand for the product or service you want to create.  Then seek funding to deliver the work.
  • Always know the Funder’s mind…understand what they need…research the Funder…read all their guidance…ask the Funder if you are unsure what they want.
  • Eligibility is everything.  Make sure you are eligible to apply for funding or you may waste time and effort making unsuccessful applications. Make sure that the Funder will pay for all of the work you want to do.
  • A bid is a plan.  It can be uninspiring when written down. Your need to provide heart and soul.  Breathe life into your application, tell a story, paint a picture in the Funder's mind. Write in clear English (aim for 12 words per sentence and a maximum of 25). Avoid or explain jargon and acronyms.
  • Have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. One of the main reasons projects fail is due to a lack of leadership or project management.  Prepare plans to manage project delivery and to manage the grant funding.  Create a time line with tasks and assign ownership to individuals.

5 Things to Avoid

  • Lack of clarity, especially about your aims, objectives, outputs and outcomes.  Be very clear about roles and responsibilities…who is accountable, who holds the power, who can make decisions?
  • Inconsistency.  Make sure you tell one story. Write using ‘one voice’, especially if more than one person contributes elements to the bid.
  • Confusing finance drives Funders crazy.  Make sure your finances add up…and that they support and not contradict the story you are telling!
  • Underestimating the amount of time and skill needed to create audit trails, complete monitoring and financial reports and to prepare for audit by the grant Funder.
  • Poor communication.  Most commonly projects fail from a lack of communication with stakeholders (especially the Funder). Create a communication plan identifying what you need to say, when, how and who to. Forgetting to acknowledge the Funder and their financial support can be an unforgivable sin.

If you take this advice on board you will be well on your way to putting together a successful bid.


The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try.


Granted provide professional grant sourcing, bid writing and grant management. Find out more about what they do and how they can help at www.granted.org.uk or you can send Darren an email on info@granted.org.uk 

Darren will also be running a training session around this later in the year - if that's something you might be interested in, please email Sharon on sharon@technicalstageservices.co.uk and we'll let you have the details as they are confirmed.

For a free PDF version of these tips please contact us and we'll send it over to you. 

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