A musician, a publisher and a producer have joined Angel Media’s new training course to learn the secrets of bidding for funding. Expert Gary Parker of CNT Associates is the trainer. Gary has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for clients from the Big Lottery, Arts Council and other sources in the voluntary sector, arts and community media. So the course includes case studies showing how to write winning bids – and to build in sustainable development so that the project does not collapse as soon as the grant runs out.
The trainees on the one-day course at the Thames Innovation Centre in Erith found it well worthwhile:
“Really informative course on fundraising from an obvious expert and insider. Felt like I could use the info to find success in my next arts funding bids. Clear delivery and tons of info – I recommend it!” Devaki Thomas, musician
“Great course. Gary brings a dry subject to life, navigates you through the mass of information out there and rounds off with the tools needed to create the perfect bid. the course is clear and insightful. i thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to those who have a bid to write – or would like to have the world of fundraising demystified.” Mina Patria, publisher
“With the practical exercises and clear explanations, this course gave me the confidence to approach funding bodies and get my creative projects off the ground” Jane Whyatt, producer
One example of ‘how not to do it’ is Bexley Community Media, a local online radio station funded for three years by a grant from the European Social Fund. During the three years the group ran a popular radio station and trained dozens of volunteers. But they failed to build new revenue streams, went offline and closed down as soon as the original grant was spent. Another pitfall is that many organisations do not check in advance whether or not they meet the eligibility criteria. Surprisingly, almost three quarters of all applications come from groups that are not properly constituted or do not have the correct paperwork and policies. According to Gary Parker, almost all applications from eligible bodies succeed.
A tricky part of the course is the jargon-busting quiz, in which trainees have just five minutes to answer twenty questions defining the strange, specialist terms that funding bodies use. Equally challenging is the task of finding the best funder for your project from the thousands of local, national and regional government, EU, City Livery Companies and charitable trusts. Perhaps you might be better off starting a crowdfunding campaign, getting fans and wellwishers to pre-order tickets, products or service – or offering them prizes in return for investment…? Gary’s takeaway pack has all the info you need.
For creative people who are not used to handling accounts, presenting evidence and creating market research surveys, this course is invaluable. As Parker says “Great projects don’t win funds. It’s great bids that succeed.” And to ensure that the training does not go to waste, he is running a follow-up session in early 2015 to put the theory into practice.