Resources: 8 ways to win a funding bid

Jim Simpson

Jim Simpson

Jim is a consultant, researcher, coach and developer.

Having won many highly competitive funding bids and contracts from the likes of government departments , CCGs, Local Authorities, Big Lottery, trusts and the like, these 8 tips summarise the essence of a successful pitch.

You will find it really useful to quickly sketch out your application using these headings to get you to a draft notion of how persuasive your proposition is going to be.

1 –  A Clear Goal:

So what will be the final result?; what will the project achieve and for who?. Describe your goal in change terms such as: “patients with chronic illnesses will manage their conditions more effectively and have better health and well being”, or “young people will have acquired key skills and be more ready for the job market”

2 – Why it matters (more?)

Try to establish a) what is important about your work and b) what is special about your approach if there are unique features. If your work is going to innovate something why is it better than what is currently happening?  For instance “GP’s routinely deal with 20% of cases where the issue is non-medical – cases that they can do nothing about.  This social prescribing scheme will offer help to all patients from a wide menu of support activities to meet social, financial or other needs that can help improve patients’ wellbeing and reduce  demand for primary and urgent care service”.  This example is tackling, or beginning to tackle, a complex and wasteful problem that is routinely repeated.  Here also there is no other way of tackling the problem in full so it matters more than other proposals that don’t tackle the whole problem though they may tackle small parts of the problem. So some funding bids – not all –  will be able to show that there is not a better alternative to achieving a certain solution.

3 –  Outcomes first

So from your goal make clear the change that will come about as a result of your project. What impact will it make? What will be the outcome at the end of the scheme and at stages along the way?  For instance “students who previously did badly at school will be better able to enjoy school and flourish” or “older people will have improved diets and improvements in health”.  These show the change that will take place.

4 –  Planned pathway

Say how you are going to get to your outcome? What will be the means to your stated ends? (your outcomes and goal) i.e. the activities or services; where/how will they take place?; who will deliver them?; what resources will you need? – staff, plant, facilities etc.

5 –  Value-for-money statement

What will be the value of what you will be providing and who gets this value? Value and cost are not the same thing. Value is the sum of all the benefits that will occur as a result of the project; cost is a cash only cost-per-unit sum. It is important to impress on your decision-maker the value of what you propose to do. All too often commissioners compare costs only and don’t get to make adequate value comparison. They need to be urges to look at value.

6 – Who benefits and how

Of course your beneficiaries and what they will get are at the core of your project proposal. Specify who benefits and how.

7 – A strategy to get your proposal supported

Sometimes this area is neglected as people who bid for contracts or funding quite rightly play by the stated rules and decision-making processes. Alongside good rule-adherence it is always important to check out who influences decisions on your bid; who’s opinion or influence makes a difference and what do they think or are they likely to think about your proposal?  It is important that you assess what they think will be important content and propositions in any winning bids.  Assess the forces for and against your proposition and what you can do to manage these forces to see if they positively can affect the decision. Key opinions and opinion formers might need to be backing your proposal from the get go.

8 – Finely tune before you write

Don’t start writing your bid until your draft plan is rehearsed, re-rehearsed and persuasive. You can use these 8 heading to scaffold your draft bid if you like. Once you’ve done this the bid will write itself!

Share this post with colleagues:


Check out more topics:

Recently added Resources

Increasing diversity in job-recruiting – a trial that closed the racial gap has lessons for recruiters

Increasing diversity in the workforce is an important challenge.  The public trust government services and companies more if they see that their social identity – race, gender, disability etc. – is reflected in the service being provided.  Employers are therefore keen to improve the application rate and success rate of minority-group candidates.  A recruitment campaign for a regional police service managed to increase by 50% the pass rate on a pre-employment test, amongst non-white candidates.  They achieved this huge improvement by changing the wording of emailed information sent to candidates. How did this work[1] and what are the practical implications for employers?

Social Styles Diagram

Social Styles – which one are you? Merril and Reid’s work on identify social styles helps you to identify your preferred way of interacting – the style you generally display and deploy at work.

Scroll to Top