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Top 10 Tips for Submitting Successful Funding Bids

Each year, billions of pounds in funding and grants are available to organisations that are able to successfully secure funding with concise, compelling responses to bids and tenders.

Based on our experience of successfully bidding for hundreds of opportunities, Human Engine, Commercial Director, Michael Curnow has complied his top 10 tips to keep in mind.

  1. Eligibility. First and foremost, read the specification and supporting information carefully. Ensure that your organisation and your proposed initiative are eligible and aligned to the funder’s aims, objectives and criteria. There’s nothing more frustrating than starting your response, only to later realise that you’re not able to apply.

  2. Structure. Before writing, create a clear structure that makes it easy for the evaluator to assess the answers and see that you have fully addressed requirements. Focus the response, be concise and ensure to remove ‘could know’ content that distracts from more valuable information.

  3. Key phrases. It’s vital to identify key phrases from the questions/requirements to weave into your response. This makes it easier for the evaluators to read, understand and assures them whilst demonstrating that you have understood their requirements and culture.

  4. Simplicity. Write the bid in simple language, to evidence your credibility, detail relevant knowledge and expertise rather than your use of a Thesaurus. Do not use complex jargon and acronyms, which the funder might not understand.

  5. Benefits. Ensure you complement the features of your programme with the benefits you will deliver. A feature is a description of what will be delivered, whereas a benefit would include examples of how your programme will result in a positive impact, or a specific outcome that will be delivered through the use of funding. Detailing benefits allows you to differentiate yourself from other applications by showing you understand what the commissioner needs to achieve.

  6. Evidence. It is vital you include credible, understandable evidence to support your answers. This can include case studies, statistics and data, references and quotes. Evidence can help to identify the needs and the reason we need the funding. Examples from elsewhere can also reassure the evaluator by showing them where we have delivered previously and how successful it was.

  7. Images. When permitted, use diagrams, images and infographics in your answers. This helps to break up long passages of text and there is significant truth in the statement, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Often, an image is better to illustrate process or team structures. Well-labelled, relevant diagrams and infographics can pull a whole bid together.

  8. Evaluating Success. Make sure you explain how you intend to measure the impact of your programme. Outline the desired outcomes, what would constitute success and explain how you will evaluate this in future. This gives the funder confidence that you will focus on results, not just on delivery.

  9. Added value. To help us score maximum marks it is always a good idea to draw out how you can provide added value. This includes going above and beyond what is required and trying to provide additional benefits to the funder and communities through your programme.

  10. Check, check and check again. From the moment your bid lands, check everything twice. What do the questions actually mean? Have you answered the question? Is the spelling ok? Have you referenced people and programmes in a way that’s consistent and coherent? We want your reader to focus on content, not careless errors. Bid writing is high-pressured, deadline driven, but above all a team task. Look for support, listen to colleagues and, if you get the chance, get yourself onto some specialist training – it’ll make all the difference to your responses.

Submitting Successful Funding Bids

Friday, 10 Jun | Online Course

A one-day course to help you create successful bids and unlock £millions of funding. The course will cover current best practice principles and combines trainer input, discussion, practical exercises and peer group feedback.

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