Nick Lawford is a Fundraiser and Project Manager who has worked with/for organisations such as Nottingham Playhouse, Youth Creatives Award and Hello Thor Records. In this talk Nick shared his knowledge about fundraising that he has gained through his experience with these organisations and many more.
This talk focused on providing advice for applying for funding in the UK. The main areas to remember when applying for funding are:
Do Your Homework - it’s important to understand what the funders’ priorities and criteria are and to think about how your project will help them to meet those criteria. Make sure you read the guidelines – there is lots of information and videos on the websites of funders like ACE and the National Lottery Community Fund. It’s there to assist you, so make the most of it.
Take Your Time - plan ahead and take the time you need to properly craft your funding application, in the way that you might craft a piece of art. Make sure you proofread your application, and where possible ask someone else for their feedback on it. If there’s a deadline for the funding programme, make sure you start your application well in advance.
Don’t Be Shy - sadly none of these funders have an endless supply of money to give to creatives and community groups to make brilliant projects happen. These funds are very competitive and they receive many more applications than they are able to support. Also, for a business, whose core purpose is not funding community projects, it’s very easy for them to say “no”. So don’t be afraid to sell yourself. Tell them about your achievements and who you’re working with, and share your very best work.
Be Realistic - while it’s important to sell yourself to tell funders how brilliant you are, it’s also really vital to be realistic about what you can achieve. Don’t over-promise and make sure what you’re proposing is something that you are able to deliver, within the budget.
Keep Going - it’s easy to be disheartened if you’re not successful, but it’s important to keep going. In Nick’s experience as a fundraiser he stated that he gets turned down a lot and it can be really disappointing, especially when he has put a lot of time and effort into an application. You may have to accept that sometimes it’s not the right project or the right time, and that there are other opportunities out there. So keep going and keep trying!