Applying for grants and other options

By Lindy Sharpe

It is a cruel fact of organizing events that the expenses often arise before you have earned the money to pay for them. For example, you may have to pay a deposit on the venue. You are confident that you will earn enough in entry-fees to cover the cost, but how to find the money up-front? This is where small grants can be really useful, and there are probably more sources than you think.

But be prepared. Applying for grants can be time-consuming and fiddly. First you have to find the funders or 'grant-making bodies'. Then you have to work out whether you are eligible. Then you have to fill in a form, which may be blissfully straightforward (to be fair, many bodies making grants to small, voluntary organisations have realized that incomprehensible forms put people off applying). Or it may ask you for all sorts of obscure information, which you have to put in three different boxes. If you then don't get the money, it seems like a big waste of time. HOWEVER, if you hit the jackpot, you will feel hugely chuffed and public-spirited.

Our tips:

  • Start with your local council. Small grants may be available
  • A large number of other organisations also give grants. They usually have preferences for the kind of thing they finance. Look for funders that give grants to local, community, environmental or horticultural causes. There will be directories of funders in your local library.
  • Another option is local sponsorship. Ask local whole food shops, gardening centres or businesses if they would be prepared to make a donation to your costs, in return for a mention in your publicity/leaflets.
  • Start your fundraising early on. It can be a slow process, and most funders will not pay retrospectively.
  • If you can find someone who has fundraising experience either to join the group or to meet you and give some advice, it will be a huge help
  • Start small. Every little helps.
  • This page was added on 26/01/2008.
    Comments about this page

    Thank you for all the advice am thinking about starting a swap in Essex.

    By sandie
    On 15/02/2011

    this is a great help...thanx
    thanx 2 to anthony of book-cycle for directing me to you :)

    By Robyn [eat YOUR greens Project]
    On 15/02/2011