How to get grant funding

Running a big event, renovating the club house or in need of new equipment? Here are a few of Join In’s tips on how to access more income from grants.

Sport England's Club Matters

External Resources

Club Matters is Sport England’s one stop shop for sports clubs, providing free, convenient, practical resources to help you develop and run a sustainable club.

Find out about membership fees, sponsorship, fundraising and commercial activities on Club Matters Generating Income section.

- Read about generating income on Club Matters↑

 Samantha Case
Samantha Case
Trust & Statutory Fundraising Manager, Join In

Top tips for grant funding

  • Work out who will benefit from your project and how. Thinking this through will help you search for the right funders and describe your project to them in the right way. Will the whole community benefit, or will it mainly help a specific group of people? Some funders focus on specific groups, for example: children and young people. Any market research you’ve done to support the marketing of your club will come in useful here - for lots more useful information on marketing head to Club Matters↑.
  • Do your research. There’s a wide range of sources of national grant funding available to sports clubs. Sport England↑ is a great place to start - they have a number of different funds open at any one time. National Governing Bodies↑ also run grant schemes, as does the Big Lottery Fund↑.
  • Other local avenues? There may also be local funding available for your club. County Sport Partnerships↑, Local Authorities↑ and Community Foundations­↑ are excellent sources of help.
  • Charitable trusts may be able to support your project. They are privately funded and it’s important to find out what they are interested in before you apply. Free online databases like Funding Central↑ are good places to start your search. Local libraries also sometimes have paid subscriptions to other grants databases.
  • Ask local businesses. You could also ask people connected to your club if their employers run any schemes: some firms allow staff members to nominate a project, or a company will provide matched funding for money their staff raise. This differs from sponsorship – Club Matters↑ provides more information on securing a sponsor.
  • Spread your chances. Once you’ve done your research, don’t waste it! Not all applications, even good ones, get funded. So if you’ve found more than one potential funder make sure you put in a proposal to each of them – you’re much more likely to get funded this way.
  • Work out what it’s really going to cost. It’s very easy to under-budget when you apply for funding. For example, volunteers might deliver your project, but do they need to pay their expenses? Try to think about all the costs – besides the obvious ones. If you’re buying equipment or paying for building costs, make sure you get quotes from different suppliers. Visit Club Matter for more useful tips and tools on how to build budgets↑.
  • Follow the instructions. Some funders offer clear application guidelines, others simply say ‘apply in writing'. If they do set rules make sure you follow them precisely. If they don’t offer much detail on what they’re looking for, it’s a good idea to make sure your proposal covers the following:
  1. Who is your club for, who runs it, how long has it been going? (Club Matters’ Club People↑ section can help you think this through)
  2. Why is your project needed?
  3. When and where will your project happen?
  4. How will you carry it out and what will you need to do this? Include a budget.
  5. What difference will it make to people’s lives? How will you know if it’s been successful?
  • Sell yourselves! Your club does something amazing for people in your community, so make sure this comes across. You can include quotes or case studies from people already involved if this helps. Clear, simple language is best – don’t make it hard work for the person who will be reading it.
  • Final proofing. It’s worth asking someone who doesn’t know the project to read your application and give you feedback. And remember to check your spelling and make sure your budget adds up correctly at the end before you send it – as basic mistakes can be very off-putting.

Good Luck!

Remember that you probably have a lot of competition when applying for funding – and be prepared for all outcomes. Try not to be disappointed if you do not get the grant, especially after all the hard work you’ve put in. Ask for feedback from the grant supplier and talk with other clubs to learn from their experiences.
You can find more ideas for fundraisers in our Events section.

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Introducing BT MyDonate...

External Resources

Our Founding Partner BT has launched a great site to promote fundraising at your club. BT MyDonate is a completely free online fundraising service that is ideal for local sports clubs. Unlike other online fundraising services, BT MyDonate doesn’t charge a set-up fee, subscription or commission – meaning that 100% of the money raised goes back to your club or chosen charity.

Whether you want to fundraise for the junior teams’ kits, or you’d like to run an event to raise money for new facilities, using BT MyDonate ensures all the money the club raises goes straight to the right place.

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 Finding funding the Jubilee way

Finding funding the Jubilee way

"It’s all about making sure we do the best we can for the kids, but within our funding limits. Getting companies involved in the community is a great place to start."
Dean Scopes, Club Chairman Jubilee 77 Youth Football Club
Read more on our blog about how Jubilee 77 approach fundraising