Getting started with applying for grants

12 April 2016


So, you’ve decided you want a Playforce playground and you’re looking for the best way to raise the money.  Did you see our first blog post, suggesting a few charities and trusts to talk to?


In a couple of weeks we’ll be hearing from our favourite grant and bid writing specialist, Rachel Gordon, from the School Funding Service, with her tips on writing a successful bid or grant application.


But, before then, what are the key things to consider, when you’re thinking about applying for money?


  • Does it apply to you? It might seem an obvious question but you’d be amazed how many schools waste time applying for funding that they aren’t eligible for.
  • How do you stand out?  If you’re going to apply you need to be able to stand out from the other similar applications.  Why is your project so important and why should they support you rather than someone else?
  • What do you plan to do? Another obvious one but it’s important that you not only explain what you plan to do but show evidence of why it’s needed, what you need the money for, how you’ll measure success and how everyone has been consulted.
  • Round pegs won’t fit into square holes.  Grants have strict criteria for giving money. Don’t try to doctor your application to fit them. Stick to your plan.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask.  If you don’t understand something or want more information, get in touch with the grant giving body and speak to someone.
  • Call a spade a spade.  It’s absolutely essential you explain exactly what you need the money for.  They aren’t interested in your organisation as much as what you plan to do.
  • Don’t think you can just copy old applications.  Each trust or foundation is different and some have real quirks and things they’re looking for. Don’t try to cut corners in copying old applications.
  • Read the question.  How many times have you said that to your pupils?  Make sure you answer every question fully. It’s worth reading everything properly first and then sketching out your answers. Then check things at the end to make sure you’ve covered everything.
  • Don’t miss the small print.  It’s worth looking at the standard conditions of grants before you apply to make sure the things you’re sending in are correct and applicable to your application.
  • Don’t rush it.  If you do… it’ll show.  And that isn’t going to make someone want to award you the money.


For more information on ways to raise money for your outdoor space, as well as some of the key milestones you don’t want to miss, over the next year take a look at our fundraising resources and newsletter. Don’t forget to sign up for it here.


You can also speak to one of our experts by contacting us here. We’re always glad to sit down over a cup of tea and work out the best plan for your school or setting.


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