In this blog, London Sport Consultancy funding expert Aaron Dunkley covers the final element of “grant-readiness” organisations in the sport and physical activity sector should consider: community involvement and impact measurement.
Community Involvement & Impact Measurement
‘Nothing for us, without us’ is an ethos that is becoming prevalent amongst grant-making bodies.
There is more confidence a project will be successful if its target beneficiaries have been involved in its design and development, as well as having some form of ownership of its delivery.
Grant-makers also want to know what difference their grant will have on beneficiaries, therefore they are more inclined to support organisations which can monitor, evaluate and evidence this.
Things to consider:
- How is your work designed? Do you consult with your target beneficiaries and use the findings?
Statistics and research provide a useful backdrop but are less persuasive to many grant-makers than insight directly from your target groups, which you use to shape delivery plans.
This is particularly true for grant-makers supported by public money, such as the lottery funding and BBC Children in Need. Even longstanding or specialist services can adopt new ideas or utilise feedback from service users.
- Do beneficiaries have ownership of your project?
In addition to pre-project planning, methods should be in place to offer beneficiaries voice and control during its delivery.
Depending on the project, this could range from sitting on steering groups to volunteering or training to deliver activities for other beneficiaries.
- Do you use monitoring and evaluation (M&E) methods to accurately measure the impact of your project?
Typically, the requirements for M&E increase as the level of grant funding increases.
Grant-makers need to know if their grant achieves its aims and whether the project was effective.
This means more than just tracking participation numbers. You often need to evidence the outcomes of your project on individuals or communities. The best methods for doing so will vary based on your activities or target groups.
A summary on grant-readiness from funding expert Aaron Dunkley
Grant-makers must often decide between hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of organisations seeking grant funding from the same pot of money.
In a space that is so crowded, the attitude should not be “do I meet the minimum thresholds to qualify?”. The attitude should be “how can I increase my chances of success?”.
Competition in the sector is fierce enough to mean you can do everything right and still not get the result you want.
However, the organisations which enjoy regular grant funding success are those that are strongest in these areas and consider them to be fundamental components of their work.
It may seem like hard work, but it will reap its rewards.