Whether you are looking for a modest amount money for a trip or equipment, or looking for a much larger amount to develop your project or building, you can find the right opportunity for your group and present a strong bid with these tips.
To receive regular updates on funding opportunities, you can subscribe to the Youth Scotland enewsletter and follow us on our socials.
You can also consult these resources for general help in finding funding:
- Your Volunteer Centre
- YouthLink Scotland
- SCVO’s Funding Scotland
- Grants net
- Your Local Authority: most Local authorities have a grants programme to support voluntary youth groups. Visit your council’s web-site for more information or give your Youth Services or Community Learning & Development (CLD) team a call.
As you explore the wide range of trusts, organisations and companies that give grants to youth groups, it is important to identify the most appropriate funder for your group. As a minimum, you will want to check that a funder:
- Gives grants in your geographical area
- Is interested in your field of work and the people that will benefit
- Gives grants of the amount you are looking for
In addition, you should think about:
- Matching your aspirations to the funder’s needs and funding priorities -don’t try to squeeze your project into a set of funding criteria that are not really appropriate
- Tailoring the amount you request to the funder’s historical giving
- Selecting for a quality approach rather than mailing circular letters to a large number of funders. Some funders don’t like to be the sole funder on a project, while others do
- Reading the guidelines, and following up with any questions
Remember – you might not be successful, so it’s important to have other potential funders to apply to
Present a vision for your project:
- Be Clear: use a project title that is self-explanatory (like Computers for Kids), and directly express who your project will help and how
- Be Realistic: a project that has measurable goals, meets an identified need, and is achievable with the funding requested (costs neither over- nor under-estimated) will show funders that it has been well planned and organised.
- Be focused: Use surveys, census, council records or any statistics in your area to help prove your project is needed and provide a baseline for evaluation of outcomes.
Good management: when applying for funding, you will also be expected to have good management practices. As a minimum, make sure you can answer YES to the following questions:
- Does your group have a bank account ?
- Do you require two signatures on cheques ?
- Do you prepare annual accounts ?
- Do you have a written governing document (such as a constitution)?
Each application will be different, so be sure to read yours in full and follow the instructions carefully. You should also consider these general rules:
- Assume nothing and avoid jargon – assume the funder has no prior knowledge of your group, organisation or local area. Don’t use acronyms and abbreviations.
- Answer all questions asked – never ever leave a blank question on the form. If a question does not apply to your organisation, write ‘N/A’.
- Use the funder’s language and be positive – use key ‘buzzwords’ from the guidelines in the application where you can but make sure they make sense.
- Be outcome-focused and use words like increase, improve, reduce when describing the difference you want make with your project
- Send all supporting documentation required (if asked). Funding applications can be immediately rejected if supporting documents are missing or incomplete.
If you are successful in securing funding, you will usually be required to provide some form of report or evaluation of your project. Some funders will provide guidance or templates for this but if not, the information your funder will want to know will be summarised in the ‘targets’ or ‘outcomes’ section of your application.
You can find more information on measuring and reporting outcomes in our free toolkits:
Additionally, you may consider using youth Awards (like the Hi5 or Dynamic Youth Award) to help you measure outcomes. You can learn more about these Awards here.