External funding advice

There are a number of organisations who can provide advice, guidance and online resources to support you in finding and applying for funding:


Basingstoke Voluntary Action (BVA)

The BVA funding webpage
BVA provide advice and resources to community organisations to help then find and apply for funding from a variety of sources.


NCVO funding and income advice webpage
Online practical tips and step-by-step guides on how to find the money you need for your community group, organisation or charity.

Hampshire County Council

Adult Social Care information and support webpage
Information about financial support you may be able to get to help with care needs, including an online needs checker tool.

Childcare and Early Years webpage
Information on the support available for families meeting certain criteria.

Other sources of grant funding

The Good Exchange

The Good Exchange website
A funding platform that matches charitable local projects with potential funding from grant makers, donors and fundraisers.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation website
An independent charitable Foundation that connects donors to the local causes and charities they care about.

Four Lanes Trust

Four Lanes Trust website
Local trust supporting projects that will improve life in Basingstoke and the surrounding district, with a focus on social and community action, education and the arts.

Hampshire County Council Grants

Grants on Hampshire County Council's website
The County Council has a variety of grant programmes that can be accessed by local community groups.

Lottery Funders

Money raised from the National Lottery is given out in grants by different organisations, but they all have a focus on providing opportunities for people to get involved in their local community.

General community projects:

Community arts and cultural projects:

Community sports projects:

Natural, built and cultural heritage projects:

Other major, national funders include the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation. There are many more, each with its own set of criteria for funding, so it is worth researching who might support the type of work you are planning.

Top tips when making a grant application

Have a clear objective

What do you need the money for? You might need funding to keep your organisation going, but it can be hard to find support for general running costs. By taking a critical look at your strategy, business plan and accounts you might be able to filter out specific areas of work or expansion that could be viewed as standalone programmes or projects that would be easier to pitch to prospective funders. Whether you start from this point or already have a distinct project in mind, take time to do the following:

  • Create a plan that shows what you want to achieve and how you will go about doing this. Identify the tasks that need to be done, who will do them, how long it will take and what resources will be required, which will also help you identify costs. If you are requesting core funding all this information should, of course, be in your business plan.
  • Separate out the things you will do (outputs) from the things that will be achieved (outcomes), as most funders are more interested in outcomes – the difference you will make to the people involved.
Find the right funder(s)

You will need to do some detailed research, as all funders have their own criteria for support. Read the information they provide carefully to draw up an appropriate list. This process will take some time, but it will be time better spent than completing applications that are likely to be rejected. You will need to check if:

  • your type of organisation is eligible to apply for this particular fund
  • your specific proposal is eligible for this funding
  • your proposal and the outcomes you’ve identified are a good fit for this funder. In addition to their stated priorities they often give details of previous awards, which can be helpful
  • this funder provides the amount of grant you need, or can you combine with another funder
  • a decision be made in the timescale you’re working to
  • the amount of work needed to complete the application and carry out monitoring is in proportion to the amount of funding you are looking for and the resources you have available
  • any kind of pre-application advice service offered. If so, take full advantage, as it could save you a lot of time
Provide the information requested

This might seem obvious but it can be easy to go into great detail about your organisation, while forgetting to explain exactly what your proposal for funding is. Here are some top tips for completing an application form or funding proposal:

  • be clear and concise and make sure you focus on the proposal to be funded, referring back to any plans you have created
  • if there’s an application form, read it all the way through before completing it to see what information needs to be shown where, so that you don’t repeat yourself or miss out something crucial
  • online forms can be temperamental, so it can be less frustrating to complete a document first and then copy and paste your answers into the form
  • treat it like a job application – keep in mind the funder’s criteria and make sure you provide the evidence to show how your proposal fits
  • provide solid facts and figures, as well as feedback from beneficiaries and partners where possible, to support your case
  • ask a “critical friend” to read the application to ensure it makes sense to someone who doesn’t know the proposal as well as you do
  • don’t forget to provide all of the supporting documents requested, such as your annual accounts, constitution or business plan and make sure that they are up-to-date
Give yourself time

There will usually be a deadline to meet, so allow time to gather all the information you need and don’t leave the application writing to the last minute, so you still have time for checking and editing . Making a good grant application can be very time consuming, but the preparatory work can be used for multiple applications and may also help you think about things from a new perspective. Taking a critical look at your operation could help you identify a commercial opportunity or new partnership that might make you less reliant on grant funding.

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