One of the most valuable tools you can have to support your fundraising from trusts and foundations is a template bid. Once you have identified your key funding prospects, it is well worth investing time in putting together a clear and compelling template, summarising your work, which you can then use as the basis of applications to a wide variety of funders.

Trusts and foundations all have different requirements when it comes to making an application. Many have an online application form, others prefer a two-page summary to be sent by post, and some do not specify any required format. Despite these differences, the key information that they need to know about your organisation’s work or project is essentially the same.

Typical questions that funders will almost always ask (or will want to know even if they don’t specifically ask), include:

  • What are the overall aims and objectives of your organisation?
  • What is the need for your project and how do you know this need exists?
  • Who are your main beneficiaries, and how many are there?
  • What are the aims and key activities of the project you are applying for?
  • How much money do you need and what for?
  • How do you involve your beneficiaries?
  • How do you work with other organisations in your local area/sector to ensure there is no duplication?
  • What will be the wider/long-term impact of your work?
  • How will you monitor and evaluate the impact of your project?
  • How will the project be funded after the grant you are applying for ends?

A template bid includes the answers to all of these questions in one place. It should also include case studies, beneficiary quotes and photos, wherever possible. With all of this information ready to go, you will be able to get applications sent out without delay when new funders are identified, and respond more quickly and efficiently to calls for proposals with tight deadlines. Even funders with application forms which require more detailed information can be put together more quickly, using the information from the template bid as a starting point. Remember though to demonstrate in specific applications how your work meets the funder’s particular interests and requirements.

Not only does a template bid save you valuable time when it comes to making applications, but the process of producing the template bid can help identify and resolve any internal uncertainties around the project in question. Furthermore, if this is written in close collaboration with project staff, it can help ensure that any targets included are realistic and facilitate frontline staff gaining a better understanding of what funders want to know (which is also important for reporting later down the line if the grant application is successful!).

Finally, it is important to refresh the template bid regularly, ensuring all the details are up-to-date and relevant, and amending photos, case studies and other details where possible. It is also helpful to consider and incorporate feedback from colleagues and funders wherever you can.

If you would like support from Bright Ideas to put together a compelling template proposal, please get in touch.