Funding Application Advice

When I was (not) studying English Literature to “O” level standard (and failing twice) we had to discover the works of John Keats. Unfortunately “Ode to Autumn” did not appear in the examination papers (June or November retake) so I was unable to muse on the words “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness; close bosom friend of the maturing sun”. This was a shame as it was the only thing that I knew – and now, 44 years later, I can still remember them and can now use them. Give that man an A* for his wife, who was in the same form as him at school (and passed the exam and studied English at teacher training college) cannot! In her defence she does remember almost everything else.

So, where does this fit into resources?  At the risk of over playing my brief from Eleanor I suggest a few thoughts.

Firstly, trivia can help funding applications. The thing that no one else knows and will grab the attention of the reader. The personal thing, which relates to the project, that you can share which will hook the reader yet. The one of which I am most proud dates back almost a quarter of a century. An entry appeared in Trust Monitor relating to a body supporting church music with examples of Cathedral Choral Scholarships. An application to restore a donated chamber organ in a village church received £5,000 (towards the £9,000 cost) because the application made the reader smile on a Friday. It contained the line “we are not as good as a Cathedral in our singing. Indeed, we take Psalm 100 v1 as out motto”.

Secondly, Autumn is a good time of year in the fundraising calendar. Therefore it may be an idea to become mellow and less frantic. This should enable greater consideration of the words we use – and allow us to think on trivia. Mellowness (and here I slip into aging hippy mode) also allows us to ponder on why we are here and why we do what we do. An element of that has to appear in funding applications. Each church has a USP – so capture it for them with your draft words.

Thirdly, those of us who are happily married will have a close bosom friend. This is not an “oo-err missus” line written by Frankie Howard (who was a regular worshipper in this Diocese). Rather it is a reflection of the need to immerse and get involved with project which we are supporting. If we are not it does not work as well (and I write as some one who had a marriage of that nature as well). If we cannot communicate a depth of engagement why do we expect others, with no connection, to become engaged with the project for which we seek support?

Finally, there is no such thing as failure. There are only learning points. We can use them in the future. So, thank you Eleanor. It has taken the best part of 44 years and 3 months to use what I learned for my English Literature “O” level. My mum told me it would be useful – and she was right!

By Andrew Rainsford, Bath & Wells Diocese 

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