If you think you’re ready to submit a funding bid, you might need to think again.

Too many organisations embark on funding applications in the certainty that they have a good chance of being successful. But the evidence suggests that even the most noteworthy projects can be turned down if their applications aren’t up to scratch.

But why do funding applications fail, and what can you do to improve your chances of winning that all-important bid? We’ve used our skills, knowledge and experience of supporting funding applicants to put together a strategy for successful funding bids.

The funding landscape

In 2018, a survey of funding practitioners conducted by GRANTfinder found that substantial sums of money are available for a wide range of organisations, including charities, social enterprises and private sector companies. Almost a third of the respondents had budgets of £100,000 to £1 million for their funding programmes, while almost 20% had budgets in excess of £1 million.

Clearly, there’s a lot of money available to fund a variety of projects. The survey underlined the importance of organisations achieving a greater awareness of all the funding opportunities available to them.

Why do funding bids fail?

The most common reason why bids are turned down is competition: more often than not, the number of applications exceed the available budget. But there are other key reasons why funding applications fail:

  • Ineligibility of the applicant
  • Unclear outcomes
  • Failure to demonstrate the viability of the applying organisation
  • Incomplete application
  • Poor standard of presentation

The seven steps to successful bidding

There’s not much funding applicants can do about the ferocity of competition for funding. But they can definitely adopt tried and tested practices that can make all the difference between success and failure.

  1. Consider your funding readiness
  2. Be clear about your project idea
  3. Identifying funding
  4. Bid preparation
  5. Working with partners       
  6. Writing a successful bid
  7. Dissemination

For more detailed guidance on successful funding applications, download our guide to successful funding applications.

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