Ask a Regional Manager – February 2020

Our Ask a Regional Manager column lets you ask questions anonymously. Ask us about what we fund, who we fund, and why

Peter Cunnison

In this month’s Ask a Grant Manager, we speak to Peter Cunnison, Manager – West Midlands, about the opening of new grants and what you can expect during the new funding application process.

Peter Cunnison has been at the Lloyds Bank Foundation since 2008. Prior to that he spent 9 years at the National Lottery Community Fund where he held various roles working in programmes from small grants to managing multi million pound grant portfolio’s.

 


How long after we have received a grant can we reapply? Especially if it's for core funding rather than project funding?

You can re-apply for grant funding after your current grant comes to an end regardless of whether it is for core funding or project funding. We will work with you to ensure that you are clear regarding your ongoing eligibility for funding and to manage your expectations in terms of the potential for a successful re-application. The demand for our grant funding always outstrips the amount available and we regularly must make really difficult decisions. We recently updated our process so that we can give an earlier indication of the likelihood of funding dependent on where your work is across England & Wales with our new eligibility checker. It takes less than five minutes to complete and will tell you whether your charity is currently able to apply for support and, if so, for how much.

What makes a strong funding application?

  1. Match the funders criteria – Check and understand the criteria that the funder is using to prioritise and focus its funding and ensure your work aligns with these criteria. Every funder will outline what they are seeking to fund and can be shown in several ways, for example through an overall theme such as criminal justice or domestic violence, or a specific social issue like; ‘Ending Poverty’ or ‘Building Communities’.

    Some funders may also have restrictions in terms of the size of charity income or the type of organisation that they will or will not fund such as registered charities or Community Interest Companies.

    So take the time to read and know these before proceeding into the application.
  1. Articulate the Need – It is vital that a charity clearly and succinctly articulates what need they wish to address. Providing lots of paperwork such as annual reports and website links are useful but can also distract from the process funders need to go through to progress applications to the next stage of the process.

    So you need to be clear from the offset. Take the time to ensure that you know the gaps that exist in provision, if there are any statutory responsibilities through public sector agencies (government, council, Police, NHS etc). Describe how the challenges impact the lives of those you are supporting, but also be clear where this relationship begins and ends. How big is the problem, how many people are affected and why is your organisation best placed to be involved.

    At Lloyds Bank Foundation we look to support charities that have a track record of working in the area they are seeking funding to support and provide a targeted intervention. By that we mean a charity is able to clearly demonstrate a strong knowledge of the specific needs of the beneficiary group and that they have designed a service in response to it.
  1. Can you manage? – Most funders will ask about the governance structure of your organisation. Ensure roles and responsibilities of trustees/Directors, financial responsibilities, management and support for staff and trustees is clearly defined, in place and meets charity governance guidelines.

    Lloyds Bank Foundation provides additional support that can strengthen areas of governance, but it is always better if the charity is up front and shares this instead of the funder ‘uncovering it’. We are intent to work in partnership with charities to not only deliver effective services for vulnerable people, but to ensure that the charities have the people, systems and processes in place to achieve

 

  1. Don’t work in isolation – It may be the case that you really are the only provider of a much-needed service; but the chances are that you are not. Research to find out who else is providing similar services, their location and how your work differs. Then make that very clear in your application. Collaboration is good and it is wise to show how you either compliment or work alongside other agencies or organisations.  

 

  1. Ask for what you need – It is vital that the charity clearly demonstrates the costs they request and clear links with the work that will be done throughout the life of the grant. At Lloyds Bank Foundation, we have gained a lot of experience in this area, so don’t be afraid to ask but ownership of this will ultimately rest with your charity.

    Requesting too much money can lead to an application that is seen as unrealistic and therefore doesn’t progress in the process. However, this could equally lead to a service that is underfunded and unable to deliver. So take the time to understand the full cost of what it takes to provide a service which makes a difference.

 

  1. Know and show what difference you make – Whether it is a monitoring system, databases, questionnaires or surveys, a charity who wants to effect change needs to know if their work is effective. Start with the end goal and ensure that your service users help you to define what that is. Then work backwards to plot what you need to have in place to capture, measure and monitor these changes at appropriate intervals. Don’t worry if you have never done this. At Lloyds Bank Foundation we regularly support charities to improve or put in place either the initial theory of change or the systems they require to record and measure it. However ownership and commitment to this rests within the leaders of the charity.  

Have a question you want to ask our Regional Managers? Submit your questions here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you can see the answers. 

Cookie Notice