Blog – Top 10 Tips for Writing Successful Charitable Funding Bids

By Julian May – Grant funding organisations are all different in terms of the way they work, but the vast majority share common themes in terms of the information they require and expect to see from successful grant applicants. Here are my top 10 tips on how to make a successful grant application.

  1. Eligibility – The first thing a funder will consider is if the applicant organisation and grant application is eligible to be considered for their funding and approach. If so, does the application meet the funder’s aims and objectives? Funders want to support organisations that share their interests. Check what funders say they will and won’t support.
  2. Transparency – Be very clear in your funding application about what your organisation does, why and how you do it and who your beneficiaries are. Be transparent about exactly what you are seeking the funding for and how it will be spent.
  3. The pitch – Keep your grant funding proposal description clear and concise and evidence based. Show how you are different or unique to other similar organisations and make sure you include previous successes.
  4. Human Interest – Funders and grant makers want to help improve the lives of the people in your community, so tell your story through the eyes and mouths of your beneficiaries. Don’t make it all about your charity or community organisation but about the beneficiaries.
  5. Photos and Video – Use photographs and video to illustrate your cause and back up your application with positive PR coverage, case studies and annual reports.
  6. Due Diligence – Funders have to carry out due diligence about the governance of your organisation and how well it is run. Be prepared to explain how your organisation is run, make sure you have up-to-date accounts and be ready to share the information.
  7. Reserves – If your organisation has ring-fenced reserves, explain why the money is there and what it’s for, even if it’s detailed in your accounts. If grant funders see high reserves but can’t see an immediately obvious explanation, they may decide not to offer funding.
  8. Accountability – Be completely transparent about what you can achieve if you receive the grant funding and about what you have already achieved. You must be prepared to back up any claims you make in your application with evidence.
  9. Impact – Funders want to generate as great an impact as possible through their support so tell them what impact you expect to be achieved with their funding.
  10. Good Practice – Finally have a look for applications from similar organisations which have been successful at fundraising, there are several hundred on You can see how they have structured their applications and how they have communicated information.

For more tips on writing successful funding bids visit