Fundraising in a recession is not a hopeless task as it might seem. While it is true that the recession has caused a reduction in funding levels, opportunities and increase competition for it, it is also still true that there is still funding to be won! Here are my top tips for winning funds in today’s market:
Don’t Waste Your Time Guessing….With the media full of gloom it is easy to believe that we are all doomed and that there is no funding available at all, so why bother right?…100% sure this is the case? Get focused and informed by researching the funding landscape for yourself. Sign up for funding related newsletters, look everywhere, not just creative related funds, be active, visible and ensure that you are in the right place and the right time when opportunities arise. To get you started, check out Funding Central’s newsletter: http://www.fundingcentral.org.uk and Government Funding website http://www.governmentfunding.org.uk/
Get Your Story Right….Make sure the funder finds a great story about you and your practice. In challenging times, funders are more likely to invest in individuals who have a proven track record. So the more funders know and see evidence of you and your practice the more likely they are to contribute to your cause. In today’s social media driven environment make sure that your online presence is great, that you have recommendations from others, your previous funders and supporters are given credit (and thanked) and that it proves that you are responsible. Just look at how the design collective, Pidgin Perfect, website showcase their projects, collaborators and media practice: http://www.pidginperfect.com/
Be Confident and Unafraid to Ask…..Don’t become pessimistic or lose your enthusiasm and optimism about your cause. This is a sure way to lose others enthusiasm in you too. The most successful fundraisers are confident, positive and unapologetic. Make sure that you are too, as it will be infectious and others will see the value in what you are doing and aim to do in the future. Check out this Youtube clip by Courtney Spence that clearly highlights how inspiring and influential your confidence will be in your fundraising activities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y91nijAWzXY
How’s Your Proposal Doing???…..Make sure your applications are as good as they can be. Great proposals are; well researched, well written and clear in their purpose. Over *50% of proposal and funding applications are rejected straight away by funders because they simply don’t match the fund eligibility criteria. So spend the time to research and understand fully the funding that you are interested in and make sure that your proposal matches their criteria. (*http://www.governmentfunding.org.uk).
Finally, Keep Going…Be persistent and look at a variety funding sources. If you are continually unsuccessful, look honestly at your strategy; are you as focused as you can be?, are you matching the funders criteria fully, are you approaching the right funders? What can be tweaked or improved in your proposals or approach? Do you need to seek further advice on your funding approach? Don’t forget that the GSA career service is available to GSA graduates too…
Here are some more sites that are packed full of tips for fundraising in a recession: