There are some common mistakes charities and community groups make that mean they miss out on funding – and simple steps you can take to avoid making them.

Ensure you’ve completed the following check list on every grant or funding application.

And don’t forget Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service is here to support you to find the funder most likely to invest in your project or group and to support you to ensure your application gives all the details they’ll need to fund you – Contact LCVS

Before applying for funding, check:

1. Eligibility – Are you eligible to receive a grant from that funder?

For example can grants only be given to registered charities, from particular geographic areas, with income under a certain amount?

2. Funder’s criteria – Does you project meet the funder’s criteria?

Their guidelines will state what they will, and more importantly what they won’t fund. Applying for a project that doesn’t match their criteria is a waste of your time.

3. Need for the project – Do you have evidence to support your project?

Ideally this will involve consultation with project users and other stakeholders as well as identifying the problems your project will address.

4. Project planning – Have you planned your project from beginning to end?

If not this will show in your application. Be clear on how your project will be delivered, what you hope to achieve and what resources will be required before you put pen to paper.

5. Unrealistic budgets – Have you factored in all your costs?

Have you covered overheads, volunteer expenses, maintenance of equipment, for example. Funders understand how much things cost so don’t under or over estimate your budget. Be realistic and make sure your figures add up!

6. Well managed – Can you show their grant is going to be well managed?

Funders want evidence that the organisation is well managed, with experienced trustees. They may also want to see that policies and procedures are in place, for example for handling the finances or health and safety.

7. Timescales – Have you allowed enough time between applying for a grant and starting your project?

It can take between three to six months, sometimes more, before funding is released and funders will not cover work which has already taken place.

8. Reputation – Do you have experience of handling similar sized grants?

Funders are reluctant to give large grants to small organisations that don’t have experience of administering such sums of money. Start with a range of smaller grants to build your reputation and demonstrate you can manage projects well.

9. Questions not answered – Answer all questions on the form!

Most questions require an answer. If a question genuinely doesn’t apply then write ‘Not applicable’ . Don’t write ‘see attached’ or ‘as above’. Funders have limited time and read dozens of applications – the application form should provide all the information they need.

10. What difference will your project make? – Focus on the difference you will see in the people or community you support, not just to your organisation.

For example: A new project worker may ease the workloads of your colleagues but what’s important is that, as a result, 20 people will have support to access local activities, reducing isolation and building social networks, improving wellbeing etc.

Find out more about how LCVS can support you: LCVS group support

  • Get LCVS news and updates, including free courses and training, funding and volunteering opportunities, direct to your inbox: LCVS NewsBite