Applying for funding

Fundraising is one of the most important functions of your scheme’s treasurer and they may well need to work on applications for funding or proposals to sponsors.

Before you put the case for your project forward, you need to ensure that your scheme has a firm foundation and has the necessary legitimacy required to provide clear financial status.


  • Be sure why you want funding.
  • Make a clear case showing what you are intending to use the funding for.
  • Be clear about how you will manage your project and its funding.
  • Information which will be needed when filling in an application for funding:

  • How long your scheme has been in existence.
  • How many households it covers and how many members it has.
  • How often you hold meetings (including the AGM if appropriate).
  • Whether you have a bank account and if so copies of accurate accounts.
  • A statement of your aims and current activities.
  • You will need to give information to clarify your case and prepare a simple concise proposal document which will provide a broad view of your organisation, your proposal and what funding you require.

    This should include:

  • How the finance/resources/facilities will be used.
  • Keep the description of your project concise and to the point.
  • The resources or finance your Neighbourhood Watch scheme will put into the project. You may be required to donate match funding. Your scheme may be able to donate time, use of transport, use of premises and other resources as forms of match funding.
  • The geographical area and timescale of your project.
  • How the sponsor/funder will benefit from your project.
  • Some sponsors/funders may want publicity in exchange for committing resources or funding. Include details in the proposal of your websites, newsletters and events you hold.
  • Whether the sponsor/funder will be the only source of income or resources.
  • In-kind support for local community initiatives

    Don’t just think of funding in terms of cash; some organisations may offer you services as an alternative. Many potential sponsors may be more likely to offer their services rather than money, especially during austere financial times.

    Services to support local Neighbourhood Watch groups can come in many forms:

  • The use of design and printing facilities.
  • Photocopying.
  • The use of a room to hold meetings.
  • Local community portals to host websites.
  • These are all forms of support which many smaller groups rely on and are very often a lot easier to broker than filling in endless applications for funding. This type of support is called ‘in-kind support’.

    Types of in-kind support include:

  • Donations of products, materials and equipment. So, for example, a timber yard might donate wood for an adventure playground. Some groups get free or subsidised office accommodation or printing services.
  • Advice and support. Local firms such as solicitors, accountants or architects may offer their services for free.
  • Contacts. The help of senior business people can be very important in fundraising from others in the local business community.
  • Employee secondment/volunteering. Companies may second staff to help local groups or organise voluntary activities with their staff, including fundraising. This may require extra work for your group in managing these people.
  • As well as providing grants, charitable trusts are also great sources of free support. Some trusts lend expertise, like graphic designers to produce flyers, or software to run questionnaires on issues involving your voluntary or community organisation. This activity could, in turn, lead to a press release to the local paper and wider coverage.

    Another source of in-kind support is local media. Local radio and newspapers are often keen to be seen to support the local community and to champion local issues. Ultimately, they want to increase their audience or circulation so that they can charge more for advertising. So, they might cover campaigns against the closure of a local homeless hostel or the need for increased drug support services in an area. A simple letter could lead to a front-page story and exposure for your cause and your organisation, the equivalent of which would cost a lot of money to buy in advertising space.

    Finally, don’t ignore the need for expertise. For example, if you want to set up a new scheme or expand your existing scheme, consider approaching a local company for an hour of their marketing manager’s time. It all adds quality to your Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

    Whether you are asking for finance, services or expertise care must be taken about how potential donors are approached and in clearly defining why you need the support you are requesting.

    Important note: There are some types of organisation which it is NHWN’s policy not to accept funding or in-kind support from and we ask our members to do the same. Details of these can be found in our Partnerships & Fundraising Ethics Policy.

    Relationships with sponsors

    Choose a potential sponsor that should benefit from your project. For example, if the event is for young people you might approach a local sports shop or fast food chain; if it is for older people you might consider a local bank or a retailer with older people as its main market.

    When making first contact with the sponsor it is very important that you are clear how you will use the resources. Your ultimate aim is to arrange a meeting where you can put your case face-to-face, ideally with the person who can make the decisions.

    If you decide to make the first contact by telephone, rather than by letter, try to avoid too much discussion of your proposals over the phone – it could detract from the face-to-face meeting. Don’t be put off if your idea gets rejected – try again and you will get there eventually!

    Once funding is agreed, your agreement should be set out in a formal letter to the sponsor. Don’t forget to send a letter of thanks. It is not always wise to keep going back to the same sponsor but you may find an occasion when you want their help again.

    Quick checklist

    Identify your project or event:

  • What kind of funding or sponsorship is required?
  • Why is it necessary to have funding or sponsorship?
  • What resources will you need?
  • Over what time period will you require funding or sponsorship?
  • What geographical area will be covered by the event or project?
  • Identify possible funders or Sponsors:

  • Local authorities / Government
  • National companies
  • Local companies
  • Charitable organisations or trusts
  • Make a list of potential funders or sponsors and ask:

  • Do they supply or make the equipment or service you are looking for?
  • Do they have a track record of supporting local causes?
  • Do they cater for people in the groups your project is aimed at?
  • Useful links

    The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has a lot of advice and resources on its website about applying for funding, including the Funding Central database of grants, contracts and loans and this guide to writing a funding bid.

    Details about government funding streams can be found at This is an online portal for grants to the community and voluntary sector from local authorities, regional and central government, from independent grant administrators and from European sources.

    Other links to potential funding sources include:
    The Big Lottery Fund

    UK Government website

    The Co-operative Community Fund

    Zurich Community Trust

    The Asda Foundation

    Tesco Community Champions

    Files Attached

    Click link to Download

  • Fundraising-Toolkit.pdf