Have you checked that you are prepared for funding, ensured that your project idea is an attractive proposition to funders, and identified a fund that you are eligible to apply for and want to know what next step to take?  

In this article, GRANTfinder will look at the pros and cons of submitting bids in partnership with another organisation, as well as giving practical tips on how to seek out and manage a successful partnership.

To lead or not to lead?

That is the question. It may seem natural to want to be the main applicant in the bid, but there are pros and cons in letting your partner take the lead.

Being sought out as a partner means that you are working on someone else’s project rather than engineering a project from scratch. However, the key benefit is that you can be involved in a project without assuming the financial and reporting responsibilities as lead partner.

Qualities of a good partner

  • Expertise
  • Track record
  • Complementary
  • Ability to travel
  • Financially stable with a capacity for match funding
  • Reach
  • Trust
partners to avoid

  • When their interest lies purely in the cash injection funding can bring
  • Unresponsive
  • Too self-interested
  • No track record
  • Token partners
  • Poor skillset

find detailed descriptions in our free Funding Toolkit

Identifying partners

Partners can be sought through a variety of ways. A good first port of call is to review if your organisation has any existing partnerships which would be relevant for your project. If a brand-new partnership is required then networking at sector-specific workshops can help you find the right match. Trade associations, Chambers of Commerce, and targeted partner search facilities may also be useful.

Important steps in setting up a partnership

The first step to take is to define the structure of the partnership. Establish how tasks will be assigned, including setting up activities in the style of work packages and nominating task owners. Decide which financial and accounting system will be used to keep track of project costs. Determine a reporting system and establish how information will be collated and reported back to the funder.

Essential documents:
Memorandum of Understanding - a document that outlines the partner’s willingness to be involved in the project
Partnership agreement - a contractual document which can be written at any point before the funder provides confirmation that the project has been chosen and immediately after acceptance of the project
Three stages in exploring a potential partner opportunity
Send a half-page email – introduce your organisation; your proposed project; and why you have decided to approach them
Follow up with a phone call – provides an opportunity to identify appetite for the project
Arrange a meeting – either as visitor or host. Visiting an organisation gives a good idea of the culture of the organisation and how well they work together as a team


Are you wondering what’s next in the funding process?

If you would like more support with the next step in the funding process. GRANTfinder has created a Funding Toolkit which provides guidance on the 7 key steps to funding success – including identifying funding, working with partners, and tips on how to write a successful application.

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Or, if your projects are research based, download the Toolkit here.

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