Funding Fayres in the digital age
26/03/2021 (Staff Post - Stuart Miller )
This month we are hosting our 2nd virtual funding fayre, following the success of our first in October 2020. The funders coming along on the 30th March at 10am are; Renfrewshire Council, Corra Foundation, Gannochy Trust and Paths 4 All. The funding fayre gives our members the opportunity to find out more about available funds and to ask questions about their potential ideas; to find out if they may be eligible for funding.
We had grown so used to arranging funding fayres in large community venues that we thought as restrictions and lock-down due to covid-19 happened, we would not be able to arrange them again. We thought we had lost a very valuable tool which we knew increased funding applications being submitted, and also lost some successes for our members in accessing important funding that they might not have known about. The various online platforms that we now use have given us that opportunity back.
In addition to cost saving for Engage Renfrewshire on hall hire, buying tea, coffee and biscuits, the online/virtual options have actually given us the opportunity to bring along some funders, mostly based across the UK, who were unable to come along and visit us in Renfrewshire, and to hear from them. This provides an increasing number of funding sources that our members know about and can apply to, rather than previously when the usual suspects would get applications every so often, eg, National Lottery Community Fund, Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow Flightpath Fund.
Wherever they are hosted or held, funding fayres have always been an important part of Engage Renfrewshire enabling our members to have face-to-face discussions with funding officers. It, in part, is about realising that there is another person on the end of that email, or online application form. The funders want to fund groups, they want to distribute as much funding as they can. The funding fayres also gives the funders that opportunity to interact with those who are considering applying to their fund; to hear about the stories and how the groups are benefitting their communities. The funders get a much better picture of what is happening locally. Reading an application that might only have a set number of words does provide some information, but not the same as getting to know those who they hopefully will fund.