Fundraising: How we got the grant - Terrence Higgins Trust

Cathy Cole, head of corporate and trust fundraising

Why did you apply to this foundation? We wanted to fund our first post dedicated to offering debt advice to people living with HIV in the Midlands.

For its part, HBOS wants to support money advice and financial literacy.

The foundation used a consultancy called the Smart Company to find projects that matched its criteria. We are not the most traditional route for HBOS - it last granted us £5,000 for housing advice in 1991 - but as the consultancy already knew us, we were asked to provide three brief proposals.

What did the application process involve? We sent the consultant our ideas with as much information as possible in an unspecified format. The Smart Company used those raw materials to develop a proposal we could send to HBOS, which we then checked and amended.

I would certainly advocate the use of an efficient consultancy to trusts and foundations. I only spent about three days working on this grant, which is very unusual because we often work for months to obtain a grant of this size.

The most interesting thing about the process, which ran from November to January, is that we were applying to a mystery funder throughout. We only learnt it was HBOS two weeks before being told the application had been successful.

Is part of the money for infrastructure and training? The £63,000 for the two-year salary covers the true cost of the salary by including National Insurance contributions and pension costs - the adviser will deliver training as part of her role. The remaining £17,000 is for support materials such as leaflets and maybe an online resource.

Did you apply to other funders? We didn't need to because this grant was turned around so quickly after we first started to look for debt adviser funders. Now that HBOS is on board, we hope that some other trusts will start to view our work as less taboo.

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