Knockbacks and Pick-me-ups

19th July 2019

All three of our grant applications were declined this month, for a variety of reasons. The competition for funding is ridiculous and so we knew they were all going to need a good deal of luck as well as a good pitch to be successful. It's been disappointing to have put so much time into them, and get so little feedback about why we failed. We have a couple of other funds in our sights though, and maybe one of those will be more successful.

Once piece of feedback we had from Awards for All was the fact that we didn't show clearly how we intended to meet the difference between the grant we were applying for, and the total budget for the project. This is at the heart of our challenge for funding at the moment. We know we have to reach a sensible amount of funding to get started, but we also know that we stand a good chance (from wide research and feedback) of getting ongoing support from all kinds of organisations around Dorset to continue to run the project once it is live. We're caught then with a Catch 22 of needing ongoing funding commitments before we can get startup funding, which will only come when we have ongoing funding commitment... etc., etc. We can't say we have a 100% ongoing commitment for the remaining funds yet, although it is highly likely, so we're left with this gap, which means we can get to the ongoing funds, or the start up grants. We need to think about how we can frame this more persuasively I think.

Our project is based on providing value to the whole of Dorset, and hopefully great value to the many major support providers across the county too. The NHS, the Council and dozens of larger support organisations all acknowledge their need of the kind of service we're providing through #HelpAndKindness. If we can launch it, then we'll only need relatively small annual investments from the many organisations that need these services across the county to run the project. The costs can be shared and everyone can get far more than they paid for, and infinitely more than if they had to run a similar project on their own.

This is the message we're bringing to every conversation and meeting we've had lately, and it's been very well received so far. We're looking forward to continuing our discussions with many of the stakeholders who came to our recent Seminar, which seem to be making some steps towards funding and partnerships. We're trying to get one of them to step forward and commit, and then I think we'll see others follow in their footsteps.

If you have any bright ideas for making this happen we'd love to hear from you. We're keeping our fingers crossed, and trusting and hoping that we'll get a breakthrough soon.

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