Perfecting your application part 2: enter the professionals!

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.”

Here’s some top tips you shared:


  1. I have found in the past that taking the questions out of the application form and sitting down with your service team to go through the questions is very useful and makes writing the actual application form much easier and quicker to do.

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