Funding can be a major challenge for most Sheds especially in the early days when securing and setting up the Shed. If you want to attract monetary funding, then there are some criteria we suggest you spend the time completing.
Your Shed at the very minimum will need to have a constitution and will need to open a bank account for funders to pay into. This means a Shed committee of at least 3 responsible named persons as Chair, Treasurer and Secretary to sign the bids. At this point if you are a ‘paid up’ Scottish Member Shed (different to an Individual Member-free) you could apply to our partner Royal Voluntary Services to be considered for their Shed Start Up Fund of between £250 – £1000.
Then your Shed if following the suggested SMSA guidelines will need to become a registered Scottish charity to open the doors to other types of available funding support – see: SCIO
Take it seriously
Bidding for funding should be treated like a ‘Dragons’ Den’ as competition for resources can be fierce. An online presence through a website or social media can also be useful in convincing potential funders that you are serious and they can see how proactive you are.
Make it relevant
Make sure your bid is relevant to the aims of both funders and your Shed. Different funders have different priorities. Once you know where your Shed wants to head, spend some time thinking about how you will benefit your local community as well as your Shedders. Some Sheds, for example, have received financial support because of their contribution to improving health, for recycling tools in their community or the need for people to be more socially connected in their area.
Keep asking yourselves the, ‘So What’ question.
If we have a Shed what difference will it make? Men will have a place to meet rather than go to the pub and drink or the betting shop….. So what?… Men will be healthier. So What?, …. Men will have independent, happier, healthier lives and be able to do things for longer as they age.So What? …. Men will see the doctor less regularly and save the NHS millions of pounds on prescriptions. So What? … this will create a huge saving in a shrinking budget, create less pressure on GP’s appointments and reduce waiting times.
It shows how your application will fit the funders criteria or not. Save yourself a lot of work and heart ache by asking the ‘So What’ question and make sure it’s relevant to their aims and your Sheds. It might feel a hard thing to do, but it’s worth it.
Work in partnership
Funders increasingly want to see organisations working in partnership, which makes a lot of sense anyway. Consider which groups in your area might be useful to consult with and develop ideas together. Even a simple letter of support from another established organisation can help to strengthen your funding proposal.
Applications don’t have to be full of clever sounding jargon but they do need to well presented, concise, coherent, well thought out for a clearly defined purpose and costed out carefully. For example, planning permission and building warrants already in place will ensure that funders will take your proposal more seriously. Have a look at some of our ‘Start a Shed’ example documents in the individual member section.
If you can measure it, you can manage it. Funders always want to see what impact their money will have in terms of your Shed making a difference so consider what your outcomes will be e.g. what will change as a result of your Shed and its activities.
Completing an application usually takes a lot longer than you think (but it is time well spent to do it properly). You may also need to wait for several weeks after a deadline before you know the results.