'Basic mistakes' derail half of applications for funding

Too many applications are missing essential information or are ineligible, fundraisers have been warned

Applications are missing essential information
Applications are missing essential information

Up to 50 per cent of applications by charities to major funders fail because they are missing information or do not meet application guidelines, convention delegates heard yesterday.

At a session called How to Win the Big Funders, Sam Dixon, trusts and foundations manager at the charity Missing People, said charities were making obvious mistakes such as putting forward projects that were outside funders’ stated concerns. "A lot of people miss out basic stuff," she said.

According to Dixon, a third of applications to BBC Children In Need failed because of technical mistakes or ineligibility. She said half of applications to the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All scheme were missing essential information and half the applications received by the grant-giver The John Ellerman Foundation were outside its guidelines.

But she said charities could be creative in making their projects fit the stated outcomes of big funders such as government departments, Comic Relief and the Social Action Fund.

Dixon said Missing People was now 18 months into a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund after she spoke to the charity’s services team and got their input for the proposal. "It was about peer support and building on our own expertise," she said.

Also speaking at the session, Louise Farnell, director and founder of Capidale Consulting, said partnerships
between charities were important in winning large funding pots – the Big Lottery Fund had said that only partnerships would be able to receive the largest grants, she said.

Farnell quoted an unnamed donor who said: "Organisations working in partnerships demonstrate they are on the front foot".

- Read more news and comment from this year's IoF National Convention

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