Attracting Funding & Sponsorship
Before attracting funding, it is highly likely your local partnership will need to formalise. This does not have to be an arduous process, but setting up some simple terms of reference and opening a bank account mean you can access a wider range of potential funding sources. If you are unsure what sort of formal body to set up, you may be interested in this guide on your options. or you can research other topic areas from 100 Ways.
If you are already set up as a legal entity, your growing ambitions may be held back by a small income from membership subscriptions; you're going to need more cash! Broadly there are three potential sources of funds; public sector and government funds, private sector businesses, and third sector foundations.
Local authorities and other government bodies are increasingly keen to work in partnership with partnership groups. While public funds are increasingly being squeezed, you may be able to secure match funding for initiatives that they can see value in for the wider community.
For example; community activities, crime reduction and public safety, tourism and visitor marketing, public realm improvements and signage schemes can all have a broader benefit to your partnership's area. By developing relationships at local, regional and national level you can keep your ear to the ground for opportunities to become ‘a trusted delivery partner’ for publicly funded programmes. Don’t forget that public funds flow through the Police and NHS as well as local government.
Private Sector Funding and Sponsorship
In addition to inviting your partnership members to make voluntary contributions to specific projects, corporate sponsorship can provide good support for town centre initiatives. Be aware that every company will receive requests for money on a daily basis, so the key is matching specific business objectives to particular projects. Companies have different reasons for sponsorship: brand awareness, new product launches or branch openings, PR benefits, corporate social responsibility policies, a source of customer information, community and business to business involvement, local staff loyalty, customer communication, etc…
Town centres are good environments for companies to promote themselves, so in some cases there will be opportunities to attract sponsorship for things on which their logo can then be displayed e.g. the floral display on a roundabout, pay as you go recycling bins, or banners advertising town centre events. Be careful to make sure all parties are clear exactly what they get for how much and for how long, and don’t undersell the value of brand exposure in the high footfall town centre.
There are a host of charitable foundations and institutions with quite specific aims and objectives that may chime with one or more of your projects. It is worth searching on line and submitting relevant applications. Even small amounts of money can help increase your budget. The Association of Charitable Foundations is a good place to start your search.
It is worth having a few project ideas sketched out and ‘on the shelf’ so that you are prepared to take advantage of short term funding opportunities, particularly near the end of the tax year when there can sometimes only be a couple of weeks notice for applications.
Awards are another potential source of funding – apply for anything you might qualify for and you never know, you could get some good media exposure, a trophy, and some prize money to help fund your partnership and projects.