Positive Local Social Action

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Enfield Voluntary Action is known as EVA. We help people & groups access knowledge, skills & resources to make a difference in our Borough.

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10 Key Essentials before you make a grant application

1.  Be prepared! Strong applications start with good planning


2.  Gather all approriate documentation | EVA can provide support on most of these (unless otherwise stated) if you do not yet have them in place. Please complete our short online form if you need our support.


  • Governing document | Constitution / Rules or Mem. & Arts.

  • Up-to-date accounts | Financial Statement, Income and Expenditure Statement.

  • Policies | Data Protection, Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities, and Safeguarding are usually required, although others may be asked for.

  • Risk Assessments | For your oganisation and for the project.

  • Insurance |  Depends on type of organisation / project – Public Liability Insurance, Employers Liability Insurance and other types may be required. EVA can advise on whether you may need insurance, but cannot recommend specific insurance companies.

  • Bank Account. EVA is not able to recommend specific bank accounts.

  • References | You may be asked to provide references. EVA can only provide references in limited circumstances. Please see our References Policy.


3.  Gather evidence that your project is needed. You could use eg. local research, or service users’ feedback, or meeting minutes, or conduct a survey. Make sure your information is up-to-date and quote your source if possible.


    Useful resources include


    Your organisation’s own experience.

  • Numbers and facts - for example “Since lock-down the number of phone calls seeking advice increased by x calls per week / X%” · “Of our N clients, X number of them reported being ‘more lonely or isolated’ between April – August this year than last” “Our staff contacted X clients and X% of them reported that they wanted to be better connected digitally” 

  • Case Studies – if possible provide some examples of how your project has made a difference. For example · “B arrived at our refuge with her 12 year old son, having left all their possessions at home. We secured the purchase of a laptop to enable B’s son to continue with his education during lockdown.” “M called our helpline in June. She has two mental health conditions and every-day activities are challenging. M’s PIP was stopped in error, causing her significant additional anxiety. Our advocate made contact with DWP and ensured the PIP payments were resumed and back-dated. M said: 'Thank you so much. I don’t know how I would have coped without your help'.”


4.  Identify the right funder for your project. | Read & understand the funder's guidelines, rules, strategy, eligibility criteria, priorities for funding, and guidelines for completing an application. If you are asking for funding to supply equipment, for example, check that the funder will pay for equipment (known as 'capital' expediture). Will your project meet the objectives of the funder? Don't waste time applying for the 'wrong' type of funding.


5.  Be SMART | Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timescale.


Specific | Prepare a very clear outline of each activity you plan to carry out. Provide specific figures and targets - how many and what type of people you will help, and how many times your activity will take place.


Measurable | How will you know if your project is on the right track and you can achieve your aims?  Make sure your targets can be measured throughout your project. (Check how much monitoring and reporting the funder will require you to carry out. Monitoring can represent a large ‘hidden cost’, and may be challenging for a small organisation.)


Achievable | Do you have resources to ensure you can carry out your project? Think about volunteers, staff, where activities will take place, specialist skills, equipment, administration etc. Be sure that you can carry out the activities you propose with the funding you are applying for.


Realistic | Explain clearly the difference your project will make. Don't 'over-promise'. Only make claims that you can demonstrate will be achieved. For example, if you are supporting unemployed people will you be ensuring they will have jobs by the end of your project, or will you be building skills and CVs to improve access to work, or will you develop people's self-esteem & confidence? Which of these would be realistic goals for your project?


Timescale | Can your project be completed within the timescale set by the funder?


6.  The language funders use. Certain terms will be used in the criteria for funding and you should use those words when describing what your project will achieve. For example, 'promote social inclusion' 'support cultural cohesion' 'empower' 'encourage' 'enable' 'develop independence' 'develop soft skills eg self esteem'. Use clear and concise words (within any given word limit), and address how you can help achieve the funder’s priorities.


7.  Why should the funder choose to fund your project? Remember, someone who does not know you or your group will have to decide whether your project application has potential. Include a brief description of your group's aims and service users. Think about and explain what you are doing differently from other groups.


8.  Working in partnership. Does the funder ask that you work with other groups or with statutory services to deliver your project? Whether this is a requirement for funding or not, let the funder know if you are working in partnership with other groups or statutory services. This may help to show that you can be a 'trusted' partner for the funder.


9.  Funders talk to each other. Be honest about your group's community engagement and previous successes.


10.  Be positive! Communicate your enthusiasm for the project. Let the funder know why your project will be an exciting new way to make a difference to people in your community. You will be just one among many applicants, so think about how to interest the people who will read your application. Ask someone to look at your application before you submit it.


if you need support with your funding application please complete our short online form.