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[Last modified: July 2021]
Charity bid writing can be overwhelming at the best of times. Opportunities may come around a few times a year, so it’s best to be prepared to writing bids. You want to allow plenty of time to create a winning charity bid. It can be easier said than done if you’ve never done charity bid writing before.
Ultimately, you want your bid to outshine your competitors and persuade the funder’s that you’re the best for the job. Below are eight tips on what not to do when charity bid writing.
When writing a charity bid response, all too often applicants try and make their project meet a funder’s needs. Organisations that are trying to wedge their project to fit a funder’s priorities have less chance of being successful.
However, it should really be the other way around. You should be looking for a funding opportunity that aligns with the needs of your project. If you try to accommodate your project, you may not be able to achieve your desired outcomes. Be that either in meeting a need or securing appropriate funding.
One thing not to do when charity bid writing is apply for an opportunity without reading all the funding guidelines. Each funder will require something different and have different needs and pre-requisites that should be met. There may be a certain qualification that you need on page 30 that you don’t see. You don’t want to waste time and resources writing a response if you aren’t eligible to apply.
Funders want those applying for funding to have substantial evidence of a need for a project. There’s no point developing a way to tackle an issue just because you think it’s the right thing to do. Funders will see right through this and unthought out projects won’t get very far.
Moreover, if your response is rambling and unclear, a funder will be less likely to award you the funding. Your response should be clear, concise and compelling. You should be persuasive when charity bid writing. You want to convince the funder that you need their funding and that it will be well spent.
Before submitting your response, be sure to check the formatting requirements. This is an obvious error that can be easily avoided. Making a checklist of important dates and information can help prevent this from happening. This checklist could include, but shouldn’t be limited to, the following:
Many funders want you to be as honest and realistic as possible regarding how much everything is going to cost. If you ask for too little you won’t be able to complete the project, defeating the purpose. Funders want to see a positive change from the money they’re giving your business. You should take this into account when charity bid writing.
Funders want to know how every penny is going to be spent. It’s common for them to check how the money is being spent either during the project or once it’s finished. They will want to see that their money is making positive changes. They will be expecting to see the best value for money and that their funding is providing long-term solutions.
The costs the funder will cover should be outlined in the specification. Some will only pay for Capital Costs, some will only pay Core Costs, and some may only pay for salaries. You should avoid being unnecessarily flashy. For example, don’t ask for the money for a MacBook Air when any other brand or cheaper laptop will suffice.
When tendering for contracts, it’s important that you don’t assume the funder knows anything about your business. It’s common for a commissioner to have no knowledge of what your organisation does.
You should explain who your organisation is, what it does and why it needs the funding. Leaving room for assumptions allows for the wrong assumptions to be made. This could end up hindering your bid when it could have been avoided in the first place.
Word or page counts are given for a reason. When charity bid writing, you want to avoid writing too little or too much. If a funder thinks a question deserves a 500-word response, simply writing a couple of sentences response won’t suffice. Your bid will likely suffer as a result, so it’s best to try and match the word or page counts where possible.
One of the most common mistakes made by organisations is thinking that they can submit their bid late. A response will not be accepted even if it’s submitted one minute late. If you aren’t able to meet a submission deadline, a funder may think that it’s slightly unprofessional. They may not think that you are able to then carry out the project or trust you with their money. Great time management is a must when charity bid writing.
Here at Hudson Succeed, our dedicated team have over 60 years of collective bid writing experience. We boast an 87% success rate have secured direct contract wins totalling over £300million for our clients. We offer four bid writing support services.
Once you’ve found the perfect charity bid, why not send it over to us? Our Bid Writers will let you know what they need from you and provide you with a full Tender Writing breakdown. They’ll take care of it all for you and even submit it on your behalf.
If you’ve written your own tender response and need someone to double-check it for errors, Tender Mentor can help. Our Bid Team will proofread your bid for any inconsistencies, spelling or grammar mistakes. They’ll also ensure that it’s in line with the specification before you submit.
Our Tender Ready programme is perfect for those who have never tendered before. A Bid Writer will work with you to make sure you have everything you need in place to tender successfully. The 4-week programme offers your business:
If you’ve been charity bid writing but aren’t seeing the results you want, our Tender Improvement package can help. Our Bid Team will assess your previous responses and supporting documents, working with you to improve for future submissions.
Charity bid writing opportunities can arise in any business sector. Keeping tabs on the right opportunity for your company can turn into a bit of a headache. There are thousands of sites across the UK posting bid opportunities. Ideally, you’d want one centralised, industry-specific portal that hosts these leads and opportunities.
At Hudson Discover, we house 11 sector-specific tendering portals. These consist of:
Discover Elite can help optimise your tendering efforts, even when you’re busy. Our two new time-saving tools can improve your competitor awareness and success rate.
The Ultimate Time Save package offers your business:
The Become a Pre-Bid Master package also includes:
Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow.
Discover Grants can help you find and write your next funding application. Get in touch for more information.
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