We’re online with our new website and we’ve launched our first blog about funding. This is the first of many articles that we’ll publish regularly. We’ll aim to keep you up to speed with our latest news, as well as offering guidance, advice and tips to help you to manage and grow your equestrian organisation. You run a lifestyle business or you may even volunteer for a club or charity! So we’re here to help it become as enjoyable as possible, and help you can make it successful with ease.
Our first blog concerns funding, a subject close to many of our customers’ hearts.
If you operate as limited company, a sole trader or joint partnership, you may find that funding options are somewhat limited. But don’t despair; working with Connected Thinking means that you will get advice on how best to structure your operation so that the door to funding opens just that little bit wider.
Before you get started you should know that obtaining funding is a highly competitive business and that bids often fail. There may be many reasons for this but in our experience, failure to win much-needed funding boils down NOT having the following. Does anything resonate with you?
1. Clear Objectives and Realistic Expectations
Why do you require funding? What amount are you hoping for and why? You’ll need a pragmatic understanding of what funding can and can’t achieve and we’d like you to know that it may not be the silver bullet that solves all the issues that you are currently encountering. Bid applications without a confident, professional approach will in all likelihood, be politely placed on the “reject” pile.
You must reflect the funding body’s objectives in your bid application. Are your outcomes in step with those of your potential funder? Have you demonstrated a need for your services and a true engagement with your “audience”?
2. A Business Plan
Whether you’re a business or a charity, a clear, focused document, although not required in full detail, will help to identify what you need the funding for. Do you have one?
A Constitution or Trust Deed will be needed if you run as a club or a charity.
3. Good Organisation Skills
It takes, in our experience, upwards of a month to get all our clients’ paperwork together (see below), to marshal it into order, to draft and complete the bid and to submit it to a funding body on their behalf.
Missing the deadline through an unrealistic understanding of the sheer amount of work involved is quite frankly, not a good look! You will kick yourself and believe us, it will be stressful. And painful.
4. Vital Paperwork
In order to secure funding, you will need proof of what we’ll call your “credibility”: those all important copies of your affiliations to various National Governing Bodies (for example, BHS, ABRS and The Pony Club) confirm your legitimacy and reassure funding organisations that you are credible in your sector.
Policy documents (child protection, vulnerable adults and so on) provide vital proof that you cater to the highest standard for people using your services. Do you have current versions of these to hand?
5. Price Lists and Marketing
You’ve got some customer friendly information on what you do and how you do it – or have you?
Funding bodies would like to have this information, please.
6. Good Housekeeping is vital for Funding
By which we mean those endless pieces of paper (showing incomings, outgoings etc) which may have been lost in the black hole that is your desk drawer. A friendly, knowledgeable accountant to get all your paperwork in order and to field HMRC on your behalf could really help. The most recent audited or accountant-verified accounts are an essential if you’re looking for funding.
Talking of financial documentation, a funder will also want to see previous evidence of partnership funding (the money you may already have raised thus far).
And, don’t forget your bank statements for the last three months.
As specialists within the sector, Connected Thinking can help you with all of the above, including your accounts! We’ve supported various equestrian organisations in their bid applications, with a very high success rate, although we do say it ourselves. Would you like us to help you?
Note: This is an excerpt from a blog post originally posted on http://www.horsemart.co.uk/