To support and sustain a school or community project, such as a Get Set Beacons project, conversations often return to the question of funding. However, whether looking for support securing more sports equipment, transportation costs, running events or residential opportunities, there are a range of opportunities to find funding or partners in the local community.
1. Who could you work with?
One place to look is support from local businesses and organisations. Start with any existing connections to your school/group – whether local suppliers, parents or contacts through the PTA. A local link will help you present a proposal to a business, and any existing links will ease initial conversations.
Beyond existing links, there may be other opportunities in the local area. Look for businesses who are advertising in local newspapers/magazines. Could you provide them an opportunity to sponsor a school event/programme in return for some publicity? Which businesses are hiring – if a company is expanding they may have funds available for charitable projects.
Other opportunities for further funding exist with national funders or groups. For instance, Team GB partner Persimmon Homes has also recently launched Building Futures, a programme of funding to support children in health, sport, education and the arts across England, Scotland and Wales. You can find out more here: persimmonhomes.com/building-futures. Alternatively, ParalympicsGB Parasport website allows users to search for accessible clubs and leisure centres in their local area, offering a community hub for advice, support and the potential to arrange collaborative activities. The site also allows you to register your club, event or opportunity to help others find you. You can find out more here: parasport.org.uk.
Other opportunities exist with the Big Lottery Fund, Sport England, Sport Scotland, Sport Wales or Sport Northern Ireland (which provide funding for community and sports projects from organisations across the country, including schools); crowd funding platforms; or passive funding platforms such as ‘Easy fundraising’ or ‘Give as you live’.
2. How do you make a case/application for funding?
Once you have picked out a potential business or organisation, the next step is to identify their aims and priorities. If they’re a business, how do they present themselves? Do they have interests in the schools/families’ market? Who is the decision maker at the business and how can you set up a meeting? What part of your project idea would complement their interests and how can you pick out key words and terms to highlight your common aims? If they’re a funding organisation, what are their priorities? What are the eligibility criteria for the grant? What guidance do they provide on writing applications? What key words and terms should you use to describe your project?
Whoever you are aiming to work with, remember to create and share a clear description of your project and its context. Include detail on your project plan, how you have considered and planned for risks, how you plan to spend any money provided (and, if necessary, how this clearly falls outside your school’s statutory remit) and how your project would support your funder’s objectives. Remember that considering accessibility and showcasing inclusive practise can help strengthen the appeal of your project for businesses looking for wide impact, as well as represent best practise for all participants. Balance detail of budget with the human story behind your project; realistic aims and optimism for outcomes. Prove you have thought through the detail, but also have a project worth caring about!
Use your plan to create a buzz around your project idea – one Get Set Beacon successfully secured additional funding from local groups after a campaign of networking with both local businesses, councillors and MPs to help spread the word. Shouting about your ideas can help build momentum!
Don’t forget to also consider the impact and legacy of your project in these initial stages. Not only will it be helpful for potential funders to see the long term aims of your project, and the lasting value of any funding, it will also be useful for your planning process. If you have already run initial events, or similar projects before, include evidence of the success and impact of these ideas. Alternatively look for independent report statistics or conduct your own research into your plans. Show how you know your projected project approach is the right idea!
3. What value in kind support could you find from partners?
You could also look for support ‘in kind’ from local businesses, for instance free use of local sports venues, coaching ‘taster’ sessions, vouchers for family swim sessions or prizes for a school’s raffle. Businesses may be able to donate sports or other equipment to the school, or provide other services such as printing flyers or posters for your events.
Indeed, some Get Set Beacons have already successfully engaged partners for value in kind support. For instance Beacons have established connections with local rugby, tennis, hockey, and football clubs to secure free training sessions for students, negotiated 10 week blocks of free dance, gymnastic or swimming sessions for children on free school meals with a local leisure centre, linked together with park runs or other community initiatives to mutually expand their offerings, and secured time, equipment and technical support from a local business for renovation work in the school kitchen to support health education!
Even if a local business or group cannot provide equipment or funding, they may still be able to help drive awareness of your campaign. Partners could help raise the profile of your project by offering free marketing space in a store or online, supporting a social media campaign or simply adding to the word of mouth effect!
Overall, whatever you are asking, consider what the partner might be looking for in return – remember to highlight any publicity you are planning around an event and the positive mentions and press your partner could receive whatever their level of support.
4. How could you work creatively with your partner?
Simple ideas for working with local businesses could include requesting funding of a project/event in return for marketing space in a school newsletter or at an event. However, you may also want to think more creatively about linking with a local organisation. Could students design a healthy dish for a local restaurant, with the school receiving a percentage of the sales for the dish? Or design a postcard or e-card to sell to local businesses? Could you invite a local business to participate in a school fair?
5. How can you demonstrate impact?
An important part of securing regular sources of funding and support is demonstrating the impact of your projects. Think about the priorities your have identified in your partners and what questions do you need to answer to evidence meeting these. Try to gather a mix a qualitative and quantitative evidence, to present strong statistics alongside more detailed stories and case studies. Present your evidence clearly and succinctly , where possible using images from your project to illustrate your points. Finally, once you have gathered evidence of your project impact share it widely! Evidence of strong project impact will help keep original funders and supporters happy and may attract new interest.
6. What do you need to consider as a Get Set Beacon?
While seeking extra funding or support can be very useful for building a sustainable project, it is important to consider your role and position as a Get Set Beacon and be aware of any potential conflicts between Get Set and the values or interests of businesses you approach. As a guide, keep the following ‘do’s and don’ts’ in mind!
DO consider and share the aims of Get Set when speaking with and selecting partners. Ensure any potential partner’s interests does not conflict with any of these aims or the Olympic and Paralympic Values.
The Get Set programme aims to:
- inspire young people to fulfil their potential and maintain healthy, active lifestyle
- give all young people the chance to learn about and live the Olympic Values of friendship, excellence and respect and the Paralympic Values of inspiration, determination, courage and equality
- and to build excitement about Team GB and ParalympicsGB, using the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a hook for learning and participation.
DON’T add other organisations’ logos to the Get Set Beacons logo. You can add a partner’s logo to flyers/materials about your event, but please keep them separate from the Get Set Beacons logo.
DO ask businesses why they want to support your project. Can they share how their business respects and follows the Olympic and Paralympic Values, or why they feel healthy, active lifestyles are important?
DON’T let other organisations use your Get Set Beacons logo to promote their events. The logo is proof of your hard work and commitment as a Get Set Beacon, so should only be used on events connected to your project, school or organisation.
DO make sure your Beacons logo is used against a white or light-coloured background so that the full logo is clear.