Another year goes past, and I, not unlike a lot of other people and organisations are waiting for news back from funding applications made to charitable trusts to assure another year of existence. And i was wondering ‘is there any way to guarantee getting funding from grants?

Yes there are other creative ways of being funded as a charity, and having at least 4-6 funding streams is advisable. But I was wondering – what would be the sure fire ways of being a guarantee to get funding for faith based youthwork practice? Of course, there are some key things like being governed correctly, being transparent, having clear objectives, being original and sadly also being active in a certain area, and the correct research has been done, all of this surely is helpful.  But according to all the different applications for funding, and there are 1000’s, each has specific criteria – so what are some of the ways of being able to guarantee funding?

  1. Be the right kind of size. Some trusts want to give to a small charity, others a large one. So be just the ‘right’ size.
  2. Have the right kind of position in regard to faith. Not no position, or a proselytising position, but the ‘right’ position
  3. Be innovative neutral. Some funders want to fund the continuation of something, others want something new and innovative, so have the ‘right’ amount of innovation.
  4. Have a cupboard.  For all the equipment that you can easily get for funding. You can replace the staff you cant get funding for and their salaries, with the cupboard full of equipment that you can. Just put that cupboard in the middle of the youth centre.
  5. Be new and have experience at the same time. Trusts like that, yes new and experienced.
  6. Be in consultation with young people and allow them to direct the charity, but also have a 5 year plan and agreed outcomes.
  7. Have some reserves, but not too much that the trust doesnt think you dont need them, or too few that they think that you’re too desperate, but the right amount.
  8. Have the resources and skills to create your own policies and governance, but don’t be part of or branch of a larger organisation who can help to keep your costs down.
  9. Do the kind of work with young people from challenging backgrounds,  that is kind of unpredictable and chaotic, and do the work in a way that brings immediate results.
  10. Have an inclusively and openness and also is also targeted towards young people who have specific disadvantages or who can meet targets.

Once you’ve cracked all of this and written 1000’s of words in statements and forms, then and only then will you have funding guaranteed.  It’s best to avoid over ambition and dreaming from the outset of a project, but also to listening and building from and with local strengths and gifts. Trying to fit a project or methodology of practice to funding is the wrong way around. However it’s so tempting when other avenues are short, and the sums of money potentially large. I am sure there are other impossible contradictions and dichotomies in the world of grant applications. Feel free to add you own below…

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