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Perfecting your application part 2: enter the professionals!

August 20, 2014

Writing Applications - Fundraiser Tips

Last month I put up a short blog and infographic about how to perfect your funding application.

I shared the blog on the  Institute of Fundraising’s LinkedIn group, and many of the group had some great tips to add. Thanks! Here are a few of the top tips professional fundraisers gave  for writing your application:

1. Write with passion about your work. Be factual, but also be enthusiastic & positive.

“If you don’t believe in the work and the difference it will make, it’s unlikely the funder will either”. Although it’s not something funders will assess, an application that is written in an engaging and passionate way will certainly stand out. Just make sure you also provide the necessary facts!

2. Read the criteria carefully! “It’s amazing how many people don’t…”

This is something funders say all the time! You don’t need to read everything published on every fund you look at. But once you have narrowed down the field, reading the full guidance can save you time or even wasted effort before committing to fill in the form.

3. Share your users’ perspectives

Getting some ‘user voices’ into your application can be very powerful, and talking about their ‘journey’ through your project is a great way to show the positive outcomes of your work.

4. Edit, edit, edit…

Where words are at a premium, try to cut out any redundant sentences and focus on what the funder needs to know.

5. Answer the question! “It’s THE best rule.”

It’s great to see this being suggested by a fundraiser! We often get applications where the answers in the form don’t marry up to the questions, and it makes it quite difficult to assess the project. If you aren’t sure what the question is really asking, get in touch with the funder and ask.

6. “Don’t make funders work too hard to understand what you’re doing”

This comes down to editing, avoiding jargon, and making sure your application flows logically. Try to write as if you are explaining your project to a colleague who has good background knowledge, but doesn’t know much specifically about your work.

7. Don’t give up! Ask questions, get feedback, try again.

Great advice. We will always offer feedback, and unless your application is fundamentally ineligible, there is usually a chance to improve your application and try again.

A few other great tips:

  • “Say why your organisation is well placed to run the project”
  • “Think from the perspective of the funder – what do they want to hear?”
  • “If your project comes from the heart, is truly needed, expressed simply, is well evidenced, has integrity and honesty, it will always shine through.”

Have you got a top tip?

Tweet: Hi @BIGScotland, my #fundingapptip is Share your top tip now by leaving a comment, or click the Twitter icon to tweet it!

Here’s some of your top tips so far:

Changing faces and attitudes

August 19, 2014

A project working to change people’s attitudes to facial and body disfigurement has received an award from our Investing in Communities fund.

Thanks to their grant of £350,140 Edinburgh based Changing Faces will run a new awareness campaign throughout schools in Scotland to change attitudes towards children and young people with disfigurements.  A Faces Equality Advisor will work in schools to identify and address any issues young people are facing.

Changing Faces helps individuals live full, confident and satisfying lives

Changing Faces helps individuals live full, confident and satisfying lives

Monica Duddy, 23, is a member of the charity’s youth group Faces of Scottish Youth and has a large birthmark on her cheek. She said: “When I was younger, a Face Equality Adviser would have been able to guide my teachers on how to make my school inclusive for children like me who were living with a facial disfigurement.  I am delighted that that this new role will offer teachers the necessary skills and techniques to develop an educational environment for children with a visible difference to thrive.”

As well as its awareness campaign, Changing Faces will be able to expand their work to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

James Partridge, Chief Executive and Founder of Changing Faces, said: “This award will enable Changing Faces to take forward its pioneering plans to promote the self confidence and self esteem of children and young people throughout Scotland who have unusual looking faces, hands or bodies.

“As we set up our new centre in Scotland, from which the project will evolve, we will be working closely with health service staff to ensure that anyone whose appearance is “different” for any reason gets the support and empowerment they need.”

Big Lottery Fund, Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, added: ” This unique project will give a range of practical and emotional support to up to 1500 young people throughout Scotland, ensuring they feel less isolated and are seen and recognised, for their personalities and talents irrespective of their appearance. This is a great example of a project making a positive and lasting difference to people’s lives and one which we are proud to support.”

Changing Faces was one of 11 projects which recently received funding through Investing in Communities.

Webinar recording! How to get funding for young people!

August 12, 2014



Thanks to everyone who attended the children and young people webinar on Friday 1 August 2014.

A total of 64 people registered to find out more about the funding available from Communities and Families (pre birth- 8 years  old) and Young Start (8- 24 years old)


Miss the webinar?? It’s your lucky day!

Just pop in your details and catch up now… The recording includes the presentation and attendees questions…

Webinar recording


If you have any further questions about either of the programmes, please get in touch



#livewebinarselfie Booooom! :)

webinar selfio


Grants for inspiring young Scots

August 7, 2014

Twenty five groups across Scotland are celebrating a share in over £1 million from the Young Start Fund.

Young Start distributes money from dormant bank accounts to projects who work with children and young people, aged between 8 and 24, to help them realise their potential.

A number of today’s ventures focus on providing training and employment opportunities.

Official qualifications and accreditations, positive lifestyle messages and football coaching sessions are on offer to 14 to 16 year olds in Craigneuk, Wishaw thanks to Motherwell Football Club Community Trust.

Charlie Bennett, General Manager of Motherwell Football Club, said: “We are delighted to receive this award from the Young Start Fund. Starting Futures is an innovative two year programme which will use the power of football to inspire young people and improve their lifestyles, rebuild their confidence, and achieve new skills and qualifications that will improve their employment prospects.

“Participants will follow a personal progression path giving them with a range of skills and qualifications that will lead to work placements, volunteering and employment opportunities. Starting Futures will also deliver lifestyle messages covering alcohol and solvent abuse, diet and nutrition, and sexual health. The funding will allow us to make a real difference to young people’s lives in Craigneuk.

Station House Media Unit

Station House Media Unit

Station House Media Unit (shmu) is a community media group in Aberdeen. Their Youth Media Project will provide creative opportunities for young people, aged 12 to 19 as they learn about all aspects of live radio and television production and broadcasts. The project will help them develop skills including research, writing, presenting and editing media for broadcast.

Murray Dawson, CEO of shmu, said: “‘This is an exciting and dynamic project with huge potential to enhance the lives of young people who will be given support and training in all stages of preparation for broadcast. The ‘live’ aspect offers significant challenges which will be overcome through confidence, good communication, dedication and group work, all of which will arm the young people with a wide range of new skills. We are really looking forward to guiding them in shaping their own futures into something positive, rewarding and inspirational.”

Visit our website for more information on the other projects receiving funding today.

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Awards for All Scotland reopens today

August 4, 2014

Awards for All Scotland reopens to applications on schedule at Awards for All non beneficiary logo for blog12 noon today, 4th August 2014.

The Big Lottery Fund in Scotland took the decision to pause Awards for All to new applications from 9th May until 4th August. This allowed us to focus on assessing and administering grants related to building a legacy from the Commonweatlth Games. And we took advantage of the pause to make some positive changes to the programme.

Awards for All Scotland will have a renewed focus on funding smaller organisations with an annual turnover of less that £250k (this does not apply to schools). It will also prioritise applications from organisations which have not received funding from Awards for All Scotland in the previous three years.

We shall also be prioritising projects where beneficiaries are mainly BME, disabled, LGBT, older or carers. However, the main aim of Awards for All Scotland and the types of activity it can suppport will remain the same.

The changes we have been able to make to Awards for All Scotland during its pause mean it will now take less time for organisations to complete our application form. This has been achieved by reducing the amount of information we require from applicants and by incorporating our guidance notes directly into the form for a more streamlined process. These changes will also avoid many delays in the process due to incomplete applications, which in turn will mean good projects being delivered sooner.

The other main change to the programme is that it will now be operated as a partnership by sportscotland and the Big Lottery Fund. Creative Scotland will not be a partner in this financial year.

Awards for All Scotland will continue to be a priority for Big Lottery Fund Scotland. Last year we committed £8.9 million to this fund. We expect to commit £9 million during the 2014/2015 financial year. This means that the contribution from the Big Lottery Fund and sportscotland to the programme will remain roughly the same.

We’d like to take this 0pportunity to remind you that 2014 Communities is closing as planned following the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. This programme will be closing to new applications at noon on 29th August 2014. Applications submitted after this time will not be eligible for an award and will not be assessed.

The new version of the Awards for All Scotland application form, including the guidance, can be downloaded from our website at from 12 noon today.