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Fund Finding – Where to look and how to ask? 👀

Wednesday 4th October 2023

As we head into the off-season, we encourage clubs to review their development plan (or to-do list). To achieve the next item, the following questions typically follow:

  • How much is it going to cost?
  • How do we raise the funds?

Naturally, grant funding routes are preferable and as such are highly competitive. As a result, grant funds tend to have increasingly tight criteria on eligibility, both for the type of applicant and the project expenditure. This is to give the grant funder the best chance of achieving their desired outcome. The outcome will vary from one funder to the next, but commonly a grant will be offered to achieve something new or to include a previously unserved group.

Two womens softball teams shake hands as they leave the pitch.Sophie Ward from Active Kent & Medway elaborates on this:

“Criteria can be included for target demographics or project beneficiaries. Such as people with disabilities, those from culturally diverse communities or with long term health conditions. In some cases we also see grants focussing on Levelling Up areas.”

If your project or purchase simply allows the club to continue as it is, then a grant funder is highly unlikely to be supportive. Cynically, if the project maintains the status-quo, why haven’t the club prepared for this expenditure? These situations do happen, and when they do the ECB Interest Free Loan Scheme is there to help bridge the gap.

Highly competitive

Returning to the earlier point on grants being “highly competitive”, lets take solar panels as an example…

  • Club A operates multiple junior and senior teams, hosting matches 5 days a week during the season and sub-lets the clubhouse to a variety of user groups throughout the off-season.
  • Club B runs one junior session during the week and only plays Saturday cricket. The pavilion is only used in the off-season for the AGM.

In this simplistic example, Club A provides a greater return on investment and implies a more sustainable setup. Whilst Club B are applying for solar panels on a building that is shut for 85% of the calendar year.

If you’ve read that one line assessment of the two clubs and have the urge to shout, “Yes, but”, then…

Adults and siblings watch on over a junior session

Paint the full picture

Grant bodies only make an assessment on the information provided. If you haven’t included it in your application, it cannot be considered.

  • What does your project achieve?
  • Who benefits?
  • How do they benefit?
  • What happens next?

A good rule of thumb…

If you’ve stated something in your application, make sure that you’ve also followed it with the answer to this question. So what?

“The installation of a non-turf pitch will allow the club to play more games.”

So what?

“The installation of a non-turf pitch will allow the club to run additional teams on suitable pitches. Our fine turf square is currently at capacity, with each wicket being used for 5 matches per season, plus practice. A non-turf pitch will allow us to host additional fixtures for our newly formed Women’s team and Sunday Development Team, without detrimental effect on the existing pitches and with minimal additional maintenance.”

Once that project is crystal clear, places you may want to look are:

  1. Active Kent & Medway Funding Streams Search
  2. IDOX Funding Database – Registration (free) required
  3. ECB Interest Free Loan Scheme

One thing we haven’t touched on in this article is Crowd Funding, and that is because the article we shared earlier this year is largely still relevant.

If you have any specific questions, you can also contact James Moss.