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Top 5 tips for a tip-top event – Part 1

events make your calendarAlthough we understand that all projects are different, we thought it might be helpful to put together some of our ‘top tips’ for running a project event. Over the next four weeks we’ll be putting out our five top tips to help you with the planning of your event.

So here are your first five things that you might want to think about when planning your event:

• Make sure that you start planning early! We recommend at least three months before the event, as that gives you time to agree the purpose of the event, secure a venue, finalise all the details and get all the invites out as early as possible! You might even want to send ‘save the date’ emails to your VIPs so you can make sure they are free.

• Speak to your stakeholders – what do they want from the event and how do they want to be involved in planning it?

• Keep funders informed so that they can make sure we are free and attend the event. Also, remember to add any other funders’ logos to any invites and publicity materials you send out.

• What budget have you got? Make sure you think carefully about your event before you apply for funding, so that you can get what you need, but also so that your event is good value for money.

• Speeches? Think about whom you want to do speeches and start getting those written early on – make sure you get all your ‘thank you’s in too!

There will be more tips in the next e-bulletin.  If your group/organisation would like support or assistance with planning your event please contact SCVO on 0121 525 1127.

Five Steps to Success in Fundraising – Part 2

Top tips grafHow did you get on with our previous five top tips? Here are another five top tips designed to help you with your fundraising activities.

Step 6 – write a good application
Write as clear and succinct an application as possible, making as good a case for support as you can.

Step 7 – manage the application process
You need to decide:
• who from your group will contact the funder and how
• whether an application should be put to them right away
• whether a meeting or a visit could usefully be arranged (where you are already known to the funder)

Step 8 – say thank you
Say thank you immediately if you succeed in getting the grant. Make a note of any obligations or restrictions on how you use the grant. Make sure your
organisation sticks to them!

Check if the funders need you to acknowledge the grant e.g. listing them in your annual report, in press releases or in newsletters and if you need to use/display their logo on your leaflets or publicity material.

If you are turned down find out why. Ask if you can meet to discuss your application.  Check if it is possible to reapply. Keep a note of any reasons you are given for being turned down.

Step 9 – keep in touch
Keep in touch with those who are currently supporting you but also with those who could do in the future.

Step 10 – go back
Ask those who have supported you this year to give further support next year. Go back to those who have turned you down if you feel they may be interested in new or future projects.

Five Steps to Success in Fundraising

5 top tipsAs a Charity fundraising is your lifeblood, which can be both challenging and rewarding all at the same time. You deeply rely on the success of your fundraising performance to be able to deliver your activities. Detailed below are a number of tips aimed at helping your organisation to be more successful with your fundraising activities.

Step 1 – keep the facts at your fingertips

Make sure that all the information you will need about your organisation and about the project is readily available.

Step 2 – get your organisation known
Get your organisation known to funders, the general public and other groups who can help.

Step 3 – develop grant winning ideas
Some ideas and some projects are so good that they have no difficulty in
being funded. Think about your work, and see if there are ideas or projects
that will more easily win a grant.

Get together with other groups, locally and nationally, to exchange ideas. Keep an eye on what others are doing, keep in touch with local trends.

A good idea:
• sounds fresh and interesting and captures the imagination
• seems obvious, even though no one has thought of it before
• has a catchy title
• fits with current thinking or concerns
• is different and stands out in the crowd
• has aspects which will appeal to several funders
• shows value for money
• adds to existing provision or involves working with other agencies
• has realistic targets
• is achievable

A fundable project is:
• specific – a piece of equipment or an aspect of your work
• important – both to your organisation and to the need it is meeting
• effective – the outcome should be worthwhile and bring a recognisable benefit
• realistic – the project should be achievable
• good value – value for money for the funder
• topical – it should meet current issues and concerns
• relevant – to the funders’ particular areas of interest
• bite-sized – not too large or small for a funder to support although costs may be shared through several small grants

Step 4 – sort out your fundraising strategy
Think about how your organisation is to be funded over the next few years. Is this realistic and what do you need to do to put your organisation’s funding on a secure footing?

Think about how you intend to attract funds for the project now and in the long term.

Step 5 – research and identify likely grant prospects
Match your ideas and projects with the interests and priorities of likely funders, and their levels of grant making to the amount of money you need.

Stay tuned for next weeks e-bulletin for five more tips.

Your Six Top Tips for Writing Better Funding Applications Part Two

top-tipsHow did you get on with our previous seven top tips? Here are another six top tips designed to help you write better funding applications.

1. Check Your Figures
It is confusing to read through an application where facts and figures don’t add up, so make sure the information is consistent throughout. The individual cost items you request on your cost breakdown should equal the total amount that you are requesting.

2. Make It Legible
Please DO NOT write in block capitals. It makes our job more administration-heavy if we have to convert everything.

3. Proof Read
Always, always proof read your application before sending it. Incorrect information wastes time and is easily avoidable.

4. Bare Minimum
At the very least, ensure you have done the bare minimum for your application. To send in information over and above what is requested is fine (as long as it does not equate to War and Peace). But to fail to meet even the minimum requirements is the quickest way to ensuring an unsuccessful application.

5. Be Different
We know that there are certain things that are not covered by statutory funding. And we know that the current climate means even more ‘every day’ items now need to be funded. But we don’t want to read 100 applications asking for the same thing, and we certainly are unable to fund them all. Please try to make your projects different and interesting.

6. Funders Talk
Funders talk to other funders. We like to share information with each other, particularly if we have experienced problems with an organisation. If you are applying to multiple funders, make sure you are consistent, and ensure you follow the rules.

Your Seven Top Tips for Writing Better Funding Applications

Early Help Innovation FundHave you ever wondered what is it that funders are looking for, and whether there is anything you could do to make sure that your application has the best possible chance of success? The tips and hints below should help you ensure that you tick all the boxes and avoid some of the common mistakes.

1. Read the Guidelines
Make sure you are eligible before sending. Don’t assume that because you were sent a link to the Funder that this automatically makes you a suitable organisation for funding. If you’re not sure, call first – funders don’t want you to waste your time filling in a form if you can’t apply in the first place.

2. Short and Sharp
A good application should be concise, communicating as much information about the organisation and project as possible in a succinct manner. An application that waffles on for pages will send assessors to sleep, and will almost certainly be overlooked.

3. Plain English
Don’t use jargon. If abbreviations and acronyms are necessary, use them sparingly. The best way to ensure your application is read thoroughly is to write in plain and understandable English.

4. Spell Check
Spelling and grammar errors make an application look sloppy and unprofessional. Please paste your written answers into a word document to check them for spelling errors before submitting them.

5. Make Your Case
Ensure that you make a clear case for your project – the most important information is what you intend to do, why it’s necessary and what the long term impact of your project will be.

6. Present Yourself
Your application is often the only opportunity the funder will have to find out about your organisation and your project. If you don’t follow instructions, or fail to sell yourself, this is the impression they will be left with. Think of it as a job interview – first impressions count!

7. Read the Question
We were told this at school, and it still applies. Ensure that the answer corresponds to the question, and gives the information that they require. There are documents titled “Completing the Application Form or Guidance Notes” on the funders websites. Use them – this tells you what the funder is expecting to see in your application, so make sure you read and follow them.

Stay tuned for next week’s e-bulletin which will have more top tips to help you to write better funding applications.

Five Top Tips for Web Writing Part Two

Your-brand-onlineHow did you get on with our last five top tips? Here’s another five top tips aimed at helping you to write better web posts for your organisation.

1. Use 400 words maximum for any web page. Think about introducing more pages, rather than forcing readers to endlessly scroll down.

2. Instead of repeating information, fill your copy with links to elsewhere on the site. That’s how people use the web and it’ll make your site more search engine friendly.

3. Links to other websites will also help increase your Google visibility.

4. Fill your copy with the key words and key phrases that people might search for to find you. These will make your page more likely to appear in searches. If you are a youth charity you may want to have the words ‘troubled teenager’ or ‘unhappy teenager’ occur frequently in your pages. You might not use those terms as an organisation, but that might be what people search for.

5. It only takes one click to keep or lose a web reader. So, at the end of your article, give readers somewhere else to go on your site. Think of action, like donate, sign petition or download more information, then offer the action before they go elsewhere.

Coming in our next e-bulletin are five top tips to help you write better funding applications.

Your Five Top Tips for Writing for the Web

top-5-bloggersWriting for the web can be very challenging not only does every word count but you have to grab the readers’ attention from the get go, as you have less space than on the printed page. You also need to make your website attractive to search engines.

Here are 5 top tips for great web writing:

1. Think about who is going to read your website and write with them in mind. You only have a short time to grab the readers’ attention, so they need to know immediately that your words are relevant to them.

2. Use short sentences. Longer ones will have to flow over two, three or more lines when being read online.

3. Use lots of subheadings to break up long chunks of text. Try to restrict yourself to three words per sub head.

4. Bullet points are useful to outline your ideas quickly. But use maximum of five at a time. For longer lists, use numbers.

5. Only use one idea per paragraph, and keep paragraphs short.

Come back next week to see another five top tips to help you with your web writing.

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