Once you have an event plan and have completed a budget then you are ready to begin thinking about ways to fund it.
Fundraising can range from formally applying for money from local government and charitable trusts to organising one-off events such as supermarket bag-packing and sponsored runs. Also, try and identify the ways that your event could make money, perhaps through ticket sales or donations.
Most events will require funds of some kind; however do try and think creatively about how you can obtain free support, such as a venue, publicity, refreshments etc, and also what your own organisation can contribute without additional cost.
Here are some tips on how you might go about raising more income for your event or project:
Decide who to approach for funding
Try to think laterally when applying for money to support your event or project. There are not a huge number of funding programmes that are specifically aimed at promoting refugee or asylum issues; however your event may qualify for funding under different criteria such as arts and culture, sports or promoting social inclusion, community participation or cultural diversity.
Your local council may have money allocated for events or a refugee community development budget. Contact your local council to find out how you can access funding.
There are a large number of charitable trusts and community trusts that may be able to fund your event. It is worth doing your research and having a good idea of exactly what it is that you are asking for.
Your local community could be full of people willing to get involved, so make contact with the faith groups, community groups and trade unions etc. in your area. You can find contact details at your library or from the local Voluntary Service Council. Community groups may or may not be able to donate cash, but their members’ time in planning and attending your events are equally valuable.
Other ways of raising money for your event may include charging people to attend (a nominal charge to cover costs). You could have a raffle, particularly if companies or individuals will donate gifts, or hold an “auction of promises” where local companies donate promises (e.g. the local bakery promises to give you free bread for a week, and people bid for the promise).
Don’t forget to include local businesses who could use the opportunity to sell their goods and add an extra dimension to the event which you don’t need to pay for e.g. caterers, craft stalls, bouncy castles/kids entertainment etc. An added advantage is that they will also promote the event as it’s in their interests to do so. Also try your local supermarkets and businesses for cash sponsorship or ‘gifts in kind’, which can include anything from free printing to raffle prizes, and can be a great way of cutting costs.
Write an event plan or proposal and include a copy of your budget
For some sources of funding, you will have to complete an application form, however for others you will be expected to submit a detailed written proposal. If you are putting together a proposal for funding, you should try to include the following:
A brief outline of the event or project including the main purpose or aims; you may wish to refer to the overall aims of Refugee Week as stated earlier in this guide. Try and identify a need for the event locally, e.g. rather than “to raise awareness”, your event may be “to raise awareness because of the recent amount of negativity towards refugees in our area” etc.
Details of how you are going to achieve your aims
Who you expect to attend the event
Brief plans for how you are going to evaluate the event
A contact name, address and phone number
It is usually a good idea to ask for a specific sum of money for your event. If this doesn’t cover the overall budget, it’s a good idea to mention how you hope to raise the remainder.
Some funding bodies or companies will only fund charities. If your organisation does not have charitable status, explain why the work to be funded is charitable, and if possible name a registered charity that will take responsibility for any grant on your behalf (providing written confirmation from that charity).
Always confirm the exact application procedure with each organisation first. Some organisations will have application forms while others will ask you to apply in writing. It is very important to ensure that your funding application meets the stated priorities and eligibility criteria of the organisation concerned, so do take the time to read any guidelines provided.
Say “Thank you”
If you are successful in getting funding, remember to thank those that helped you. Invite funders to your event, let them know how you spent the money, and send them press cuttings or photographs afterwards. Building a good relationship with a funder will help with future applications.
Get in touch with the Refugee Week Team in your area to find out more about funding opportunities.