Charities increasingly provide services for Government, Local Authorities and the police.
Our clients have bid into departments such as the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Department of Health, Department for International Development, Local Authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners.
In many ways, charities have to behave like mature businesses when they bid for contracts or funding. They have to demonstrate a clear business need, experience, expertise, capacity, measurable objectives, good governance, and a focus on performance management.
Common questions our bid writers prepare for charity contract and funding bids include:
- Compliance with regulation
- Staff and volunteer recruitment and training
- TUPE transfer (staff only)
- Performance management
- Management of risks and issues
- Contingency planning
- Partnership working and stakeholder engagement
- Information assurance
- Logistical planning
- Quality Management
- Environmental management
- Delivering value for money
Our approach to Charities Bid Writing
We adopt a flexible approach to preparing these types of bids as each one is different and our clients have different requirements.
For large and complex contract bids, we typically produce and agree a bid plan at the start of the project with you that includes bid phases, key deliverables and milestones.
The bid plan is likely to include:
- Holding an initial workshop with those people in your charity who will have an input into the bid so that we all understand the nature of the bid, your strategy, key milestones and deadlines.
- Identifying subject matter experts – those people in your charity who hold the information we need to prepare the tender.
- Creating a storyboard for each question – that is an outline of the content, win themes and evidence – by interviewing the subject matter experts and holding workshops.
- Producing a first draft of the responses to each question for review by the subject matter experts to check for factual accuracy. These are sometimes called Amber Reviews.
- Identifying from the narrative opportunity to enhance the bid by providing diagrams, graphs and other forms of visual evidence.
- Refining the responses following feedback from the Amber Reviews ahead of presenting the draft bid to a wider team within your charity who will be responsible for approving its content. These are sometimes called Red Reviews.
- Final polishing of the narrative ahead of a final sign-off by your management team and its submission to you client (Gold Reviews).
For smaller bids (including funding bids), we follow the same principles but will propose a more ‘light touch’ approach that suits your requirements.
Our experience in Charities Bid Writing
The following provides an overview of the types of charity bids we have supported.
Charities with the right experience, expertise and capacity are increasingly being awarded contracts to deliver public services
Charities that demonstrate they have the right financial standing, experience, expertise and capacity are increasingly being awarded contracts to deliver vital public services. Contracts have the added advantage to charities as they often bring certainty of funding over the long term that facilitates planning and growth.
Bids for contracts we have prepared for charities include:
- Resettlement Programme for persons recognised by the Government as refugees and in need of protection
- Provision of emergency accommodation and support for people identified as victims of human trafficking and slavery
- Provision of support to women offenders who themselves are victims of sexual abuse
- Programme working with perpetrators of domestic violence to address their offending behaviours
- Provision of supervised projects for offenders sentenced to community punishments by the courts as an alternative to prison.
Private sector organisations are increasingly looking to partner with charities who have a good track record of providing excellent services. They may want to contract with a charity providing a particular service they cannot deliver themselves or they may want to enter into a formal joint venture to bid for a contract together. We have supported such an approach with bids across the criminal justice sector with the provision of help to people with drug and alcohol addiction, who have finance and debt issues, and who need help to find education, training and employment.
The competition for funding is increasingly tough as more and more charities seek money for good causes from a finite number of funders. In almost all cases, funding is linked to specific projects. To be successful these bids have to demonstrate:
- How the charity’s objectives are aligned with the funding body
- There is clear research evidence to demonstrate the proposed project will meet the project’s objectives
- Outcomes can be measured
- The funding will deliver a return on the investment.
In many instances, charities have to match the funding themselves to be eligible.
Funding bids we have prepared with charities include:
- The provision of cognitive behavioural therapy for homeless people with mental health issues
- Short-term accommodation for women released from prison
- Structured activities for young people identified as being at risk of becoming involved in gangs or crime.
Charities have to approach funding bids as if they were a mature business to demonstrate a clear business case