Writing a good application
Tips on how to write a good application to increase your chance of getting funded.
Here are a number of things the board members consider when assessing grant applications, and to bear in mind and make clear when writing yours:
- Alignment with our objectives - See Who Are We? and Apply for funding for more detail. We seek to promote enhancement, innovation, and alleviation of hardship. We currently have a particular focus on:
- Promoting technology innovation to enhance the sport
- Reducing the volunteer burden of staging events
- Retaining junior and young adults in orienteering
- Impact - What will be the impact, for example how many individuals will benefit? Some examples:
- Only benefiting a single person - This is less good for impact, e.g. international team representation (although considerations like hardship, or the publicity it can generate [see below], are also taken into account)
- Group projects - These are better, e.g. a whole training camp, or staging or enhancing an event or series of events with large participation.
- Projects that have wider reaching or lasting effects - These are the best, e.g.
- installing a permanent course
- setting up a new university club
- producing a promotional or educational video that will be widely viewed
- developing technology to ease the burden on volunteers
- training coaches and youth leaders to develop others.
- Publicity for us - How can you help build awareness of the Orienteering Foundation? For example, can you mention us and display our logo prominently on maps, clothing, online publicity, websites, news reports, blog posts etc.
- Measurable outcomes - How are you going to measure the success of your project, and what are your targets? Particularly important if you are considering future or multi-year grant applications. For example:
- For a permanent course, how many people use it?
- For event enhancement, how many people attend?
- For online technology, how many times is it used / downloaded?
- For training coaches, how many future coaching activities will they stage?
- For international representation, what is the future pathway for participants?
- Sustainability and multi-year funding - If your project will continue in future years, describe how will you sustain it? We don't want to fund white elephants, so we are keen to see your plan for future maintenance. However, we are reluctant to fund projects over multiple years. Maybe you only need the initial investment because that is more than your group can afford itself, but you have enough to pay for ongoing maintenance / future years? If you are interested in multi-funding, our preference is to only fund a single year initially, and consider funding future years based on successful outcomes from the first year (see measurable outcomes above...).
- Existing finances and co-funding - What are your existing finances and other sources of income? We are happy to help individuals and groups doing worthwhile projects and with hardship. We look less favourable on applications where a group already has significant funds (for example clubs with an already healthy bank balance) - however we will be more receptive if the club is already putting in at least as much of their own funds.
- Financial controls - Where projects include significant expenditure (in the region of £1000 or more) then it is considered good practice to seek at least three competitive quotes and put the details in the application. There may still be valid more important reasons to not select the cheapest (for example quality of goods or services), but if so then these should be stated.
- Learning lessons - How will any lessons learned from your projects be documented and communicated more widely? We are keen to see not just the success of your project on its own, but also how the wider orienteering community can benefit from any learnings.
- Schools funding - We will not normally give grants to schools for capital equipment or for projects that are part of the curriculum or activities which the school should be providing already. We look more favourably on applications where the project is extra to the school’s normal curriculum and where the project strengthens the links with the community outside of the school.
- Club development officer funding:
- Based on our experience, applications typically need to be for a period of 2-3 years, given the lead in time to appoint suitable people and for them to become effective.
- Payments made in instalments (for example yearly) would be dependent upon providing a progress report and assessment of whether the targets have been met or are still capable of being met before further payments will be made.
- Successful clubs must commit to sharing their material, so that we can spread good practice.
- Talk to us! - If you have the seed of an idea, but are not sure about how to develop it into a full project and grant application, or how to get it off the ground, then we'd be happy to provide some guidance. Please contact us.
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