Funding Fitness

Almost without exception, most funders and donors will expect you to be properly set up organisationally, with an approved constitution, bank account and trustees, charity registration and, for international projects, a partnership agreement detailing clear decision-making, accountability, roles and responsibilities between the partners in Wales and the South. This is why these elements are fundamental to the progression criteria within the UN Gold Star Award Framework for good practise, which underpins the whole Wales Africa Community Links programme.

For international activities, the Charity Commission may require you to demonstrate that appropriate measures are in place to ensure funds do not cause harm through contributing to money laundering, corruption or terrorism; and in particular for projects involving young people, that appropriate child protection policies are in place. You can get support and advice on these issues from your local County Voluntary Council.

Who Where What When?

Before you even begin to apply for funding, you should think through and develop clarity about what you are seeking funding for:

  • Who are the people who will benefit from your project? Who are you as an organisation (eg in the UK) – and who will be involved in making things happen (eg in Africa)? How are you accountable to each other, and to others (eg to donors, or to beneficiaries).
  • Where will your project be delivered? Can you be specific?
  • What is the problem that your project will work towards resolving / changing? How?
  • When will progress be seen – and how will you evaluate whether your project has been effective? How will you prove this to others?

 

Attracting the Right Funding

Funding streams can be diverse, ranging from statutory schemes to trusts and foundations with a specific interest in international development. Before making applications, careful consideration must be given to which sources offer the best fit with your - and your southern partners’ - aims and objectives.

You should think carefully about time, effort and accountability expectations of different funders, and your capacity to manage these. Applications to large funders, such as DfID or the EU, often require:
• many hundreds of hours of detailed project planning and application writing (to funding pots which are massively oversubscribed);
• professional project management to the funders' (not your) requirements, over the lifetime of the project;
• legally binding financial and reporting accountability, for which your organization will be primarily liable (you will usually carry liability for checking overseas partners);
• funds are usually restricted, so cannot be spent on anything other than the purpose originally applied for.

You may be able to raise more (and less restricted) funds, and engage more people, by channeling the same time and effort into community fundraising. Think about it.

Your ‘Funding Mix’

For your projects to be sustainable, you should avoid reliance on just one form of income. Your balance of funding sources should be a mix, ideally between: 

Demonstrating Impact

Alongside these funding constrictions, funders  across the sector have become extremely focused upon the impact agenda, away from supporting ‘activities’ and towards clearer ‘outcomes’. As international development is a complicated arena, you will need to communicate extremely clearly your projects’ results chain: 

Also, ‘development’ is a broad field and different funders may be interested in different types of outcomes. You will benefit from being clear about the exact nature of your projects’ contribution to:  

The UN Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve global poverty by 2015, remain the global framework for poverty alleviation, referenced by almost all organisations working on poverty globally. You should be clear about how your project may contribute towards one or more of the 8 goals on: 

  1. Poverty and Hunger
  2. Universal Primary Education
  3. Gender Equality and Empowering Women
  4. Child Mortality
  5. Maternal Health
  6. HIV / AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
  7. Environmental Sustainability
  8. Global Partnerships for Development
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