Bidding Tips #3 – Research

Bid Research has two elements:

  1. Find funders
  2. Funded Projects 

Funding Cloud

Research the Public Databases

The common approach is approach the known funding providers, Trusts and Foundations supporting a sector. It is successful!

However, more information is contained in the data with an alteration to research approach.

Charities, Trusts and Foundations want to be found. They expect to be approached. The art is in the selection process.

Search the formatted data using keywords, grant values and other filters to reduce the time spent is valuable.

However, experience demonstrates that sometimes the data isn’t complete.

Therefore, expansive filters and focus on your beneficiaries to get the most out of the database.

The alternative process.

Create your own list of preferred funders. The Charities Register is a public database and every charity is required to register. Therefore, you have access to every local and regional organisation linked to your community.

Start the search based on locality.

Review every local Charity and isolate all those with grant making powers.

Sort with three fields:

  1. Funders
  2. Potential Partners
  3. Other

 

Review the list of Trustees and look for people you know. It is productive.

Also by reviewing the information funding activities in your community are a potential source of income.

For example: A Sailing Skills Charity held an annual dinner. Another charity looking to fundraise locally looked at how they could add value to the event. The outcome created a 30% funding boost.

Funded Projects

Few Grant Making Trusts and Foundations wish to remain annonymous, therefore, the local research highlights which Charities are investing in the local community.

Additionally encouraging the expansion the footprint in an area of benefit for a grant making body is appealing for a variety of reasons. Learn to exploit the opportunities.

The Funders provide lists of projects, review the projects in detail, look at all published documentation. Once you identify the trend in funding – the similarities it becomes clear where the application is focused.

A volunteer spending 2 hours per week completing this research broadens the potential funding base.

Conclusion

Consequently, a professional fundraiser uses solid reseach to limit the number of wasted applications. Making the time spent fundraising count! If 20% of the time is researching funders that is time well used.

All of the information is in the Public Domain, however knowing where to start is one issue, the thought that is costs to engage a fundraiser is another and making all the count can perplex Trustees.

Remember, funding research is never wasted. Use the networking, partnering and information to support future bids. However, more importantly, raise money locally.

We will be producing newsletters and blogs dedicated to Fundraising, an introduction for beginners and running events, masterclasses, posting videos for those wanting more support.

Contact us 

Bidding Skills #1

This Bidding Skills series is an opportunity to share key tools with other bid writers. Enhancing the winning process underpins continued success.

The #1 Skill is Attitude – Keep Learning

The Bidding Structure

Notice
Opportunity
Expression of Interest
Bidding model 
Submission
Evaluation 
Outcome

This is a straightforward process – when complete we just move on to the next opportunity, don’t we?

Our Learning Opportunities

  •  Wins! – We need to understand how!
  • Unsuccessful – then understand Why?

Two valuable resources for the succfessful bid writer.

Your winning tender or bid response had something that resonated with the buyer. Identifying just what achieved that outcome ensures that it is used in the next opportunity. Also that you begin to compile more evidence supporting the evaluation.

So always ask for feedback on winning submissions. Analyse the best parts and then identify areas that you thought you would do well with, however the scores indicate that more is required. 

Winning example:

10 is excellence, 1 is failed to impress. 

On your customer service or experience you expect to score 8 however the evalation process scores it 6. Ask three questions:

  1. What did we leave out?
  2. Why was this average?
  3. What should we include?

A valuable session in the one day workshop focuses on Learning from Winning. These three questions require the delegates to look at the evaluation criteria with their business in view. The discussion highlights that many think what they do for the customer is excellent, however it is just the same as every competitor.

The reason is linked to sweeping generalised responses, so we encourage specific examples of postive customer experience. These experiences also have a limited shelf life. Over 6 months ago and these are historical, the events need to be hot of the press and contain specific statements from the customer. 

Unsuccessful analysis 

Blame isn’t the result of proper learning analysis, improvement follows. Looking at what a bid or tendered failed often highlights individual omissions, failures and errors. 

Attributing them to an individual creates an unnecessary pressure. Look for the learning points. 

The first is: Why didn’t these things get picked up before we submitted the bid? Where in the process was this missed? 

Now take a little time to follow up on who won. Research the company, did they outsource? Are you percieved as a natural competitor? 

Now look at your score thresholds: it is common to find that average is often mistaken for excellent. Achieving and industry standard is not excellence, however add value to that achievement by explaining the impact and score move upwards.

Learning New lessons

Every bid and tender manager goes through a lean patch because that is the nature of the creative approach, however we never go through a patch where we stop learning.

When the win ratio begins to drop improve a specific skill, use a new tool, start training new staff or audit the business systems. Remember learning in business is the primary tool that leads to success.

Conclusion 

Therefore, can we win everything we go for? Only if we are the only company buidding. Competition leads to both winning and losing. 

Learning from losing is important but learning from winning is equally important.

Need assistance in analysising Bids and Tenders then contact us

Fundraising Tips #2 – Credibility

Credibility requires openness, evidence and engagement.

The successful “Ask” needs supporting information. To “Ask” without credible evidence is high risk for low return.

Credibility Example

“Give me £10?”

“Who are you?” or “Why should I?” or “What do you want it for?” are reasonable questions when someone asks for money. The last question emphasises that even if I know you I can ask for more detail.

People ask this of friends, family and colleagues, so we rightly expect them to ask strangers and fundraisers. We should expect to provide:

  • A reason and objective
  • Logical evidence to support claims
  • justification of request
  • Impact and benefit

Reason and Objective

Giving is a personal action. Therefore it requires a good reason. Philanthropy is still an exercise in free will and choice, therefore, be specific (give a reason), direct attention to the need or cause (objective) and ask for financial support.

Evidence

Crossing the street when we see graphic images of cruelty or stravation remains a common reaction, people turn the sound down for the television appeals. This style of evidence immmediately sifts the potential donors. Understand how the evidence you use will impact your target donor.

The decision about what constitutes effective evidence is improtant. It needs to aid understanding, therefore stirring an emotional reflex that becomes a call to action.

Justification

Just because I think its a “Good Cause” isn’t justification.

Rational thinking underpins giving, so we need to isolate the specific reasons individuals will give to this appeal and then provide the justification. This needs to be set in context, local, regional, national, gender specific, sector of society or the international concern.

The closer to the individual the more likely they are to give.

For example:

A local park had an outline planning application for development. Local residents were outraged and a public meeting was called. Hundreds turned up.

Good for organisers because they wanted to mount a compaign to stop the development, however, only 10 local properties were affected, three of them businesses. The land in the park was not used and therefore the interest raised by the campaigners quickly wained. The reason, the campaigners had presented justification for the meeting but it didn’t stand up to scrutiny of the rational thinking residents. 

The evidence also failed although it appeared compelling when presented. Zero income became the outcome of the appeal.

   Justification should stand up to external scrutiny. Test your evidence and reasoning one random individuals before launching an appeal.

Impact and Benefit

“Your £10 achieves this!” This approach works because the donor understands that their funding makes a difference (impact) at a personal level. Also when they percieve the changes in individual circumstances this automatically builds the sense of legacy (benefit). That is why so many TV appeals use the approach. Remember in a couple of minutes a great deal can be conveyed.

Script the impact and benefit statements, support it with written information and ensure that it requires the potential donor to act immediately, (Yes or No).

Conclusion

Fundraisers know a successful credible well prepared and well presented appeal needs effective planning. Every successful fundraiser  presents a credible reason for asking.

Contact us for more Tips and support.

Fundraising Tips – #1

Funding Cloud Fundraising is the greatest challenge all not for profit, voluntary and charity organisations daily. We hear the stories of great projects and support programmes losing funding and closing their doors. The simple reason is there are so many good causes and not enough funds to go around. 

I began working on all types of fundraising activities in my teenage years. Quite by accident – I had an idea, the event organiser said “Yes – if you can find a sponsor”. Everyone said it would be difficult but it wasn’t, I just asked business owners to help. I ended up with more money than I needed and it went to the organiser.

From that point forward, I was hooked.

Tip #1 – Ask

Luke FitzHerbet (former Director DSC – deceased) frequently explained that the Ask is critical. 

Three points in creating the “Ask”:

  1. Make it clear you are asking
  2. Tell the whole truth – why the money is needed now!
  3. Explain how they will see the impact

Learning ask effectively is important. It is worth practicing! The Fundraising workshops we run focus on the practical elements of preparing to ask, asking and reptition. There aren’t specific rules in the face to face encounter, however, it is important that you know how the money is going to be used.

When approached in the street or at the door I always ask the fundraiser to explain how my donation is divided up. They are often paid, so how much of my donation goes to the company that is paying them? Who are the other recipients before the final beneficiary? This often presents a problem! Coming unprepared means they leave with nothing.

Fundraising Event – Asking  

The bucket gets passed around and everyone is expected to drop money in for the charitable cause. Consequently, guests are intimidated into giving. However, the cause may not be mentioned but it should be clear to everyone where the funds are going.

The Event Ask requires greater transparency. So again make it clear that you are asking not demanding, not looking to embarrass them into giving. Treat the donors with the dignity and respect you want the beneficiaries to be shown. 

Conclusion

Fundraising can be fun. Therefore, it should be productive and it must be fully accountable.

Getting the Ask right is a simple step to fundraising success. 

Bid and Trust  based fundraising requires the same approach to Asking. Contact the Tender Management team for more details of our training workshops, fundraising support and event management services.  

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