Prepared by Sophie Michelena & Hugh Rolo: www.locality.org.uk
While we are seeing new announcements of funding available in response to the crisis almost daily, often the details and processes are slower to emerge.
However, in the meantime you can improve your chances of getting funding by getting ready some general financial information ready now. This will vary for different groups according to size and the impact of the crisis on your services: information required from smaller organisations will not necessarily be expected to cover all the items suggested below.
Different organisations will have been affected by the crisis in different ways — try to think which category you are in:
- Crisis – we were not in good shape when the crisis hit and if we don’t get immediate assistance, we will have to close.
- We have had to mothball our organisation completely –we have applied for all the government support we can (furloughing all staff/applied for rate relief/rent deferral/reduced our fixed costs)
- Partially mothballed — we have had to close our physical centre, some of staff 30% of our staff are furloughed but the other 70% are working from home and we continue to deliver services which are grant or publicly funded.
- Service continuance/growth – we have responded quickly to remote working and are continuing to deliver almost all of our services and we have seen a growth in demand.
- Service transformation – we have had to stop delivering our normal services but have redeployed staff to deliver a new to us service. One of our funders has agreed to this but we are otherwise reliant on donations, volunteers and are using some of our reserves
- Crisis Start-up – we started a new service 2 weeks ago based entirely on volunteer effort and support in-kind from local businesses but we now need some funding to sustain our efforts.
Funders will be receiving countless organisations, and these are our tips to position yourselves to them as clearly as you can.
Start with a sentence explaining who you are what you do and how the crisis has impacted the services you offer, maybe using the categories above.
“We are a small centre delivering services in this neighbourhood employing 3 people. We have closed our centre but are continuing the support local people by phoning them, accessing their needs and signposting them to relevant services. Our turnover last year was £60k half from grant half from room rental. We have furloughed our cleaner.“
What you will need to provide:
- The first thing you need are up to date management accounts to the end of March if possible –this provides firm evidence of your starting point. Up to date 90% accurate figures are better than none. These should be an income and expenditure account and where relevant a balance sheet. For small organisations without assets a statement of your “net current assets” (cash plus debtors minus creditors plus pre-payments) should be adequate. The key figure is the starting CASH one.
- You then need to demonstrate a Survival Plan. This should be a ROLLING 13-week forward cash flow with “worst case assumptions” rooted in your starting cash figure. You should note and review your assumptions as you keep this updated. Organisations in better shape may be able to project further forward but the reality is none of us really can see sensibly beyond the immediate future. (template attached). This should demonstrate where possible what Government support schemes you have or are planning to use.
- Then, if you can prepare an analysis of your sources of income/income lost and how certain they are. (continuing grants, public sector contract, membership income). Income lost should reference track record and again contain an element of assessment of how definite this is.
- If you have prepared a budget for the next year drawn up in more “normal” times this will provide a useful frame of reference for income expected or lost.
- Finally it will be useful to draw up a list of grants/ income sources you have or are intending to apply for and at what stage those applications are/were at. Funders will be under massive pressure and will not want to “double fund”
You may well have to adjust this information for different funding sources, whether grants or loan finance, but most will require some or all of the above, and your ability to produce this information in a timely fashion should increase your chances of success.
Good luck & stay safe!
Further links regarding funding: https://locality.org.uk/services-tools/resources/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-support/covid-19-funding/
Useful information and webinars regarding preparing financial information such as cash flow forecasts: https://www.wycas.org.uk/