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Advice for development workers

  • Are you working with voluntary and community groups in Bradford district?
  • Are you helping community groups to find funding information or plan their fundraising?

This page is for you.

The aim is to help you to support voluntary and community groups in Bradford district to make the most of the bfunded website and find sources of help and advice.

Giving funding advice can be difficult because...

  • The group may need funding urgently.
  • The person that you talk to may feel responsible for saving the group or service and may want you to help them "fix" the problem.
  • The group may not have many (or any) realistic grant options but isn't willing or able to consider different kinds of funding.

More commonly, the person that you talk to may not know basic information about the group such as legal or charitable status, income/ expenditure or actual costs of the service or project. 

Without this information it is not possible to give good funding advice.

It can be helpful to double-check charitable status or incorporation if the person seems unsure or is unable to provide registered charity or company numbers.

  • To check charitable status - search for the group's name on the Charity Commission's register of charities.
  • To check if the group is a registered company - search for the group's name on the Companies House register of companies.


Unfortunately some groups ask for funding advice when it's too late. This can be a very difficult thing to have to explain as an advisor. After all, we want to help as much as possible. 

It's worth bearing in mind that most small grant funders (up to £10,000) take up to three months to make a decision and if the group is looking for grant funding for salaries then it should be applying at least six to nine months before funding ends.

If the group has unrestricted reserves or is willing and able to consider other kinds of funding then this could be worth discussing. 

What funding can we get?

Although most groups (understandably) want an instant answer to the question "what funding can we get?" good funding advice starts with questions.

1. Is the group ready for funding?

Even if the group has applied for grant funding before and been successful, you cannot assume that everything is in place.

Starting with our checklist could help identify any issues to resolve before searching or applying for funding.

2. Does the group know what it needs funding for?

Don't be surprised if you ask "what do you need?" and get asked in response "what can we get?!"

However, the message from grant funders is that groups need to focus on what's needed.

Often the issue is that the group hasn't yet planned its project and so doesn't know what's needed (or how much it might cost).

Plan, then apply is the golden rule for successful fundraising.

Find out more about planning.

Starting with pages 5 and 6 of this fundraising strategy workbook could help the group gather enough information to find out what's needed.

3. Does the group have the skills to search for funding?

Once the group knows what's needed, it's time to take them through searching for funding.

Asking the group to come back with a list of possible funders that you can discuss together can help develop skills and confidence but requires time. For urgent enquiries you may need to do a funding search with the group and make a list of possible funders together.

Remind the group that because all funders are different (and funds change) it is always necessary to read the funding guidance notes and follow the funder's instructions.

4. Are there other areas of support that the group needs?

Funders are increasingly concerned about:

Why? All of these issues (and more!) affect how well the group and its services/ projects run and therefore how good an investment the funder is making.

Referring the group for specialist support could make a real difference to the chances of fundraising success.

Not sure what specialist support is available? Talk to the voluntary organisation support officer in your area of Bradford district.

Useful links

If you're advising a group on how to fundraise, it can be helpful to email a list of links to further information on the topics that you've discussed. 

This could include:

Planning your fundraising

Fundraising problems

Marketing - an essential part of fundraising

Finding funding

Good grant applications



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