The project stories indicate the wide variation in the need for funds, in the sources of funding and in the combinations of types of funding that different organisations have been able to secure. The following indicates the range of sources (refer to funding sources for links).
Some projects have used the local Community Foundation to access grants from trusts.
Contracts/ service level agreements are another source of revenue from agencies such as local authorities, schools, the youth service or Primary Care Trusts. Some projects, however, have avoided contract arrangements because they do not want to be limited by the agenda of the commissioning bodies.
“A key feature . . . is that it has steered clear of accepting commissions from the local authority or others. Although it does a lot of partnership work, it has retained its independence and flexibility. It is not tied to other people’s targets or output or outcome measures. It can try new things and, if they fail, move on.”
A few projects have had private sector help. For example, an ASDA store made an organisation one of its charities and worked with it on fund raising.
Some projects raise income from activities through the sale of meals or furniture or generate rental income by letting rooms to user groups or organisations that want to use their premises as a local base for activities such as adult education classes.
In some cases, supporters have fund raising activities, such as concerts or cleaning cars or sponsored sleeping out.
Examples of in-kind assistance include:
· The rent-free use of premises, either to house the project perhaps particularly during its early stages, or as a direct contribution to the work, for example, making available an unused vicarage for homeless accommodation.
· Donations of equipment or furniture.
· Donations of food from supermarkets.
· One project secured help with health and safety arrangements from a local company as part of its corporate responsibility policy;
· In another, Police providing training, use of offices and hospitality;
There is a distinction between start-up and running costs. At the start, for instance, the projects may only require a room, a dedicated telephone and expenses for volunteers. Some begin in temporary premises. One, for example, worked from a mobile classroom until the new church building was completed. Another that initially used the church hall now has multiple premises because project expansion also brought the need for larger and better equipped premises. A significant transition moment in relation to the scale of resources that projects need to attract comes when they want to employ staff.
Very often early funding came from CUF. One of its key advantages for projects over the years has been its role as first funder where very often other grant giving trusts are unwilling to take this sort of risk. A CUF grant, therefore, has often served as an invaluable lever for attracting other funds.
Reliance on any sort of external funding brings the risk of late payment. Even though organisations may on paper have sufficient income to cover their outgoings, they can still be brought down by cash flow problems. Few projects have more than a few months’ financial security. It can be difficult to attract repeat grants from trusts especially if, as is often the case, the funders are keener to fund innovation than to sustain existing activity. Public sector cuts have already bitten for some organisations and the prospect is that there is further pain to come even though for a minority, the cuts may provide them with an opportunity to move into work hitherto undertaken by mainstream agencies.