Website and newsletters seem to be awash with new grants and funding opportunities in response to COVID-19 but oversubscription and short timescales make it even more important to make project planning and bid writing as effective as possible. Even in changing times, funders still require very specific information about what you want their money for, what it will achieve and how it meets their COVID-19 funding objectives.

We have put together a quick check list to help you increase your chances of success, but remember we are here to help, and you can contact us at any point for advice and guidance on making an application.

The application process is designed to give funder the answers to the following questions:


While some needs stay the same, others have changed dramatically over the last few weeks; whether you are long established organisation or you have come together to respond to the effects of COVID-19, funders will be looking to fund services that respond to an identified need. Your experience of the current situation and the information you have collected over this short period of time will be crucial to evidence this need. When you are asked about need, think about how you can give an insight into the problems faced, the location you are working in and how your support will make a difference This can be a combination of:

Statistics: use your own numbers, local, regional or national data to show the scale of need

Stories: paint a picture of need with a story, show success with a case study, illustrate project effectiveness through the success of similar projects in different locations

Support: give an overview of other services available, who you have consulted, what support you have, how you work together and how you fill any gaps



The description of your organisation will usually be at the beginning of the application, so this is your opportunity to sell your organisation and its capability to deliver your service! Read the description you have written then use the following check list to make sure it the following absolutely clear:


  • Who/what you are there to help
  • When and why you were set up
  • Your geographical reach
  • What you do or are going to do
  • Your credibility (group or individuals leading)
  • Your achievements or ambitions
  • The support you have for your work



At times like these, everyone wants to know there is a plan. The people you are helping, your staff and volunteers and particularly your potential funders, all want to know the plan. It can be simple, but check it answers all of these questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Why?
  • When?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What are the Risks?

You can do download a simple Plan on a Page template here: (Simple Plan PDF)



With so many things to consider over the current months, the last thing you need to be doing is wasting time on applications that are likely to fail. The importance of the guidance notes can never be overemphasised. Funders are being as helpful as they can and including as much information as possible in their guidance notes and FAQ information.  So, before you start, make sure you have checked out the following information or contacted the funder for clarification:

Eligibility: organisation type, location, objectives, priorities and criteria

Suitability: grant size, grant type, application timescales

Probability: demand for funding and success rates

Then as you are completing the application just be sure you clearly show what your objectives are and how they match the priorities stated in the funder’ guidance notes.



When time is of the essence, you don’t have the luxury of being able to learn from your mistakes, but you can learn from the mistakes of others.  Uncertainty may be having an impact on everyone’s plans but when it comes to the application process itself, the funder will want to know that you haven’t left anything to chance, that you have paid attention to detail, avoided all the common pitfalls and met all their requirements.

So, when you have put your application together, use this check list of reasons for applications failing to make sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle but rather give yourself every opportunity of being successful and delivering your services to the people who need them.

  • Ineligible legal form of organisation
  • Project is outside the funder’s criteria
  • Asking for too much money
  • Applicant did not complete all the questions or attach all the information
  • Applicant missed the funder’s deadline
  • Project benefits the organisation rather than the beneficiaries
  • Lack of evidence of need
  • Objectives unclear
  • Unrealistic targets or outcomes
  • Insufficient details on costings


By LCVS & VCS Funding Ready Team



As list of COVID-19 funds can be found on our COVID-19 pages, the Lincolnshire Community Foundation can also give guidance on the funds they manage and other opportunities

Your area officers at Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Services and Voluntary Sector Services are here to help you with:

  • Identifying COVID-19 Support funds
  • Support with project planning, evidencing need, writing applications
  • Advice on alternative fundraising activities during COVID-19
  • Organisational policies and procedures
  • Funding Health Checks and Funding Ready Workshops 1-3

Boston, East Lindsey, South Holland, South Kesteven –

Lincoln, North Kesteven, Lincoln –