Finding funding: tips and ideas for your small Birmingham community group

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Your small Birmingham community or voluntary group has a project or activity in mind, for which you need to find funding. But where do you look?

And before you begin the application process, how do you create a list of funders to approach?

As a small charity ourselves, Birmingham Community Matters (BCM) has lots of experience of finding funding.

We also work with the expert team at Get Grants (www.getgrants.org.uk) to hold fundraising workshops for small community organisations.

This blog post brings together tips and ideas for finding funders who would be interested in supporting your work.

Finding funding for new groups

For newly registered groups, it is a good idea to approach funders who are comfortable with funding new groups and are based locally.

In Birmingham, we have the Heart of England Community Foundation (HoECF), which manages grant funds for a number of donors. You can view HoECF’s current available funds and eligiblity here.

Meanwhile, the National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All programme is open to newly established groups. The National Lottery has other grants that you might be able to access too.

Finding funding for all small groups

Here are four tips from John Ellery from Get Grants, to help you find funbding:

1. Make use of a grant funding search engine

Several websites have useful databases of grant funders. Birmingham Voluntary Sector Council has a funding search site called Engage for Funding, which is free to use.

Another site is My Funding Central. This is free to use for organisations with an income of less than £30,000 (you may be asked to prove your group’s annual income)

‘This is easily the quickest way to get yourself a good list of potential funders,’ said John.

2. Sign up for Get Grants’ newsletter

Sent monthly and received by thousands of fundraisers, Get Grants’ e-newsletter contains details of grant programmes, important deadlines, and advice on how to be successful when applying for grants. They’re so useful, John said he even keeps them on file and uses them as a searchable database when seeking specific funding for clients.

You can see previous editions of the newsletter and sign up for future mailings at www.getgrants.org.uk/newsletter.

3. Find funders who have supported similar organisations

Another great tip for finding potential funders is to visit the websites of organisations similar to your own and see who they have thanked.

‘Most organisations will have a thank you section or our supporters-type page,’ said John. ‘Here you’ll find lists of organisations that you immediately know have an interest in supporting causes like yours. Often you will find small trust funds or benefactors that aren’t big enough to have their own websites. It’s always worth sending them a letter’.

4. Look at registered charities’ accounts

Following on from the last point, take a look at the public listings on the Charity Commission’s register for charities that support causes similar to yours. Their annual accounts will often list the organisations that have funded them, which provides another useful starting point for deciding where to focus your applications.

See details of bid-writing training sessions from Get Grants.

Share your tips for finding funding

Let us know if you have any other tips for finding funding.

Contact BCM for help with your funding submissions

For small community and voluntary groups in Birmingham, BCM is happy to look over your funding applications before you submit them. Keep an eye on our Events page (or subscribe to our Eventbrite channel) for news about upcoming funding workshops. Or contact us about booking a one-to-one session with a BCM helper.

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