April 29, 2021

How to write a proposal for charity funding

Charities will always have the generosity of the general public to help them fulfil their mission. However, they will also have several benefactors, funds and organisations that they rely on to donate large amounts. If you’re finding your feet as a charity or you’re about to commence a new round of funding – you’ll need to get a proposal together.

A proposal should make a strong case for why your chosen cause deserves funding. This means not only showing why it is worthwhile but also proving that any funding you receive will be used effectively. If you’ve not written a proposal for your charity before, let’s take a look at what’s needed to kick things off. 

Do your homework

When it comes to fundraising, the temptation is there to simply cast the net as wide as possible. However, sending out lots of proposals isn’t as effective as finding a foundation that shares your values and regularly supports causes like yours.

First, network your existing contacts to see if there are any pre-existing relationships that you can leverage. Then start researching high-profile donors, hopefully there will be some who are on board with your objectives. There are several routes you can pursue, such as private funds and specialist foundations. While current circumstances make government resources a less likely prospect, we would recommend you keep them in mind for the future.

Finally, be sure to keep your finger on the pulse of grant requirements, deadlines and disbursement dates. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on any crucial funding opportunities.

Create a convincing cover letter

When it comes to cultivating interest in your charity, the cover letter is a make-or-break moment. The goal is to make it clear exactly how prospective funders can make a difference. Anyone who picks up your cover letter should be able to understand almost immediately what you are looking to achieve. Therefore, while you may have a clear vision for your charity, this needs to be channelled into a mission statement with goals and objectives. Otherwise, potential donors won’t be sure about where their money will go.

Think about explaining your mission to someone who has never heard of your organisation, and paint the picture for them of how much positive change their donation will enable. Focus on the key elements and try not to over-explain. State why the issue is essential, and what solutions you have gathered to overcome the problem with the help of your prospective funders’ grant.

If donors are unfamiliar with your cause, then you will need to draw them in with a compelling emotional hook. Is there a person who needs your help? Have you already begun to have a substantial impact? If so, tell that story to your reader. 

Explain clearly where the money would go

Benefactors and funding organisations consider their donation as an investment, even if they are not necessarily expecting anything in return. They will want to know exactly how their participation will make an impact and how long that will take.

Your proposal needs to show exactly where donations will be allocated, as well as examples of previous projects that have been successful once they received the right funding. So be sure to show that you’re on top of things in terms of project planning and balancing the books. You must also clearly state how you will evaluate the outcomes of your project and include any costs that may incur. After all, people will only invest in people that they feel they can trust with their money.

At GoodBox, we’re committed to helping charities connect to donors by offering tools and guidance for effective digital fundraising. Since starting in 2016 we’ve raised over £5m in donations for over 1,700 charities.

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