Funding for the Future

“What games do you play on your laptop Mummy?”

It’s a very good question, but I am not sure that even the most creative of us could describe cash flow projection spreadsheets as a game! And endless excel is just the start of the game I am really playing at the moment, which is fundraising. Since the Museum closed its doors and lost 89% of its income, fundraising has become the only way the Museum can keep going in these difficult times.

Fundraising is more than just asking for money. First comes identifying a funder and seeing if what they are keen to fund fits with our needs. I know our strengths and weaknesses as an organisation, and we want to go for funds which mean we can still deliver on the values of our organisation.

Then the reading begins. Being dyslexic this can be an extra challenge for me. Each funder has a different process for applying, and different guidance notes to read and understand. I have been so grateful to those funders who have taken time to develop films or easy read versions of their guidance.

Writing the applications can only come after you know what you want to apply for, and this is the fun part. Dream big, plan ahead, talk to partners, be creative – at this point there are no limits, what could you do with the funding on offer? This is the part I love, I can imagine the project we need and the Museum we are creating.

Help is always needed for these applications, and I have trustees on standby ready and willing to edit documents, check the spelling and make sure the spreadsheets add up. Then the wait, make sure you upload everything properly then cross your fingers and hope you have done enough. This is the part where you suddenly remember the extra things that you should have added in.

And then I pretend I am not thinking about it anymore, and I move onto the next bid. But I am always working with one eye on the date waiting for the email to come. And sometimes it is good news, sometimes it is not. With good news come the mini celebrations, funding to keep us going for a few more months or extra to enable us to deliver a needed project.

And the outcome of all this fun? I get to see something brought to life which was once just an idea, a form, a spreadsheet. I see a family taking part, and think this was once a small idea in my head. And that makes it well worth all the hard work.