The biggest headache as a freelance consultant when working with Charitable organisations is that the majority of them don't have all their information in one easy-to-reach place. This may sound strange to you. Imagine this...you've written an application to one of the top 3 funders who then request further information from the organisation.  You ask: "Can I have these documents and this information please...?" and you are faced with blank expressions and bewilderment and panic ensues! So, they then go off in search of all the said documents and information you need to complete a successful application... you find that everything you need is spread around four different locations and they are not quite sure where to lay their hands on the last three months bank statements... Hmmnn? Wouldn't it be great if when you asked for these documents...someone reached for a folder and said:  "here you go!" Want to know what these documents are? Let me stress to you how important it is to be in a situation where you are absolutely ready to start raising funds (or continue successfully...)  it is vital.. it is as important as writing a great application in the first place. The documents are your:

  • Constitution
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Last 3 months Bank Statements (be aware that some funders want originals)
  • Business Plan (both project specific AND for the Organisation as a whole, clearly showing where the new work/project fits into it)
  • Trustees Details - full names, addresses, dates of birth and specialisms (i.e. Accountant, Solicitor etc)
  • Independent Referrees (for some applications) including full names, addresses, dates of birth and job role
  • Cashflow for each project on how the money you receive will be spent (make it realistic...ask for exactly what you want..more on that another time!)
  • Annual Report.. if you have one and if not a summary of what your organisation does with a clear mission statement.
  • Case for Support - this is the document that outlines why anyone would fund you.  The Case for Support is by far the most important document in your file.  You may need to create one for each project or piece of work you wish to get funding for.

As you will see this is quite a significant array of documents, and imagine how much time you will save once they are all in one place. Why not get yourself a box file right now and go and collect all the above documents, photocopy them and place the copies in the box file, that way, next time you need to provide everything for a funder, you will be prepared and ready to go.  Remember to check regularly that you are holding the most up to date copies of all the documents and you will need to get a photocopy of the bank statements each month (although as I mentioned before, some funders like the Big Lottery Fund want originals) This activity will also give you an opportunity to evaluate which documents you don’t have and put go and get them  - maybe you need to locate two referees that are willing to support your applications or create a Case for Support for the project or even have a conversation with your Financial Manager about the projects Cashflow budget.  Whatever you need to do, having your documents in an easily accessible place and readily available will increase the smoothness of your funding process. Until next time, when I'll be talking about “8 Ways to Raise Funds”.

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