Many schools are raising extra funding by applying for grants from grant-making trusts and foundations. No matter how experienced you are, bid writing can be a time consuming and daunting task, so it is important that you take the necessary steps to write a careful and considered application that will ensure the best chance of success.
Here are 3 steps you need to take to ensure your bid is strong and stands out from the crowd.
1. Choose the right funder
Before putting pen to paper, it is essential that you take the time to research the grants available to you. Your first point of contact should be the funder’s website, where you can usually find guidance notes and application materials to help you assess your eligibility. Write down any key words that reflect the funder’s interests, such as ‘raising attainment’, ‘increasing participation’, ‘targeting specific groups of people’ or ‘building a legacy.’ You can use the key words to think through how your project fits with their interests. Some funders don’t mind you contacting them directly to gain initial feedback on your project or insider knowledge on current funding priorities. Check on their website first – and make sure that you have thoroughly read the information publicly available to you. You will not make a good impression if you ask a question that is answered on page 1 of the guidance notes.
2. Plan your time
When you are confident that you have found the right match, it is time to work out how long it is going to take you to research and write the bid. You need to plan this in your diary. Bid writing can sometimes feel like an act of juggling deadlines. Your school might have a pressing need for funding and you have to fit around funding deadlines. Remember that you need to include time to plan, draft, edit and proofread – this is likely to take longer than you first anticipate. You do not want to submit a half-baked bid; this will seriously damage your relationship with a funder.
3. Gather information
Be prepared and have the information you need ready to help you write your bid. You may need colleagues’ input for this, so getting their support early on in the process will really help you keep to your writing deadlines. Think about what makes your school different, its track record, current provision, areas of expertise, the issues it faces and the research and statistics you have to support this. You need to ensure that all relevant information is included in the bid to make it easy for the funder to make a decision to support you.