Why preparation is the key to (funding) success for your organisation

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance is merely the demonstration of their championship character.”

Alan Armstrong

Most of us would never dream of entering a marathon without some sort of training programme beforehand; we wouldn’t sit down for an important exam unless we knew something about the subject matter; and hopefully we wouldn’t attempt our driving test without any experience of driving a car!

To get your club, school or charity to the point where it is regularly, and consistently winning funding grants needs a similar attitude towards preparation.

The groundwork you put in before you even open that first, second or tenth application form will help you focus your thoughts, choose the most appropriate funders, and will save you a huge amount of time when it comes to actually answering some of those application form questions.

So where to start?

I would always begin by creating an Organisation Fact File. This is a document, folder or file that keeps all the factual information about your organisation in one place. It contains information that you will be asked to provide, over, and over again. Items such as your website address, all your social media details, names and addresses of committee members, any relevant ‘numbers’ such as OFSTED reference number, VAT registration number, Company number and so on.

You might include your organisation’s Mission Statement, the Objects of your organisation as stated in the constitution or simply the main postcodes of the areas you work in.

You will be asked for much of this information every single time you write an application, and it is easy to waste precious time searching in multiple files, asking colleagues, or even worse – finding that you don’t actually have any record at all for this vital information.

It can seem a big task to pull all this information together in one go, so why not set yourself a target. Spend 15 minutes everyday for the next 5 days gathering the information for your Organisation Fact File.

If you need some help head over to the free Facebook support group Straight Forward Funding and Organisation Support and ask away. You will also find a free Organisation Fact File template document that you can use, saving you even more of that precious time.

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