Funding - A Project Management Framework

Click on the Header (Row 1) in any column to order alphabetically

Suggested Order Key Theme Main Tasks Detail
1.1 Preparing the Ground Expressing a Need - This has to be the starting point: identifying an organisational, or client group need which requires resourcing. This is likely to involve careful research in order to provide the evidence for the need. Few funders will agree to a project which does not clearly demonstrate and evidence need.
1.2 Preparing the Ground Building the Partnership - Projects rarely succeed in isolation. Usually there are stakeholders to consider and partners to help deliver the initiative. So it will be important to build a strong partnership and involve other players who may strengthen the bid and widen the appeal.
1.3 Preparing the Ground Scoping the Project Idea - With partners on board the project can be fleshed out and partner roles and responsibilities can be considered.
1.4 Preparing the Ground Identifying the Fund - Its important to avoid the 'tail wagging the dog' syndrome which happens when you begin to change your strategic objectives in order to fit a specific fund's criteria. So make sure that the tender specification is compatible with organisational objectives.
2.1 Writing and Developing the Bid Fitting - It's vital that the bid specification fits with your own business capability and objectives. Clearly identifying partner roles is essential at an early stage.
2.2 Writing and Developing the Bid Match-Funding - With some external fund programmes there is a requirement for match funding. Sometimes cash and in-kind expenditure are allowed, so it's important to identify the best match funding profile for your organisation and your partners in the project. List all expenditure items on the vertical axis of a spreadsheet and then on the horizontal axis detail how each expenditure item is going to be funded.
2.3 Writing and Developing the Bid Hatching Ideas - Creativity is at the heart of good bid writing. The project team will need to hatch ideas in order to differentiate from 'everyday' bids and offer something innovative. However its still got to fit with your organisation's objectives and the aims of the tender.
2.4 Writing and Developing the Bid Doing the Numbers - Whether we like it or not, the bare bones of all bids are the numbers. It is vital to ensure they relate to the key outputs (or deliverables) of the bid. Realistic costing is vital but making sure we have built in sufficient flexibility for unforeseen changes once the project has started is just as important.
2.5 Writing and Developing the Bid Risk Aversion - There are two key types of risk which need to be considered in all funded projects. The first is the risk to your organisation and many of the suggestions above should mitigate against developing a project which is inherently risky for your organisation. The second is the risk to the funder who will need to be reassured that you have (a) sufficient financial capability and capacity; and (b) considered other delivery options from the one proposed. This is worth thinking through at an early stage of the bid development.
2.6 Writing and Developing the Bid Aggregating - Once we've broken the project up into all its respective components, it's important to put it back together again and make some 'bottom line'sense of what the project means in financial terms to your organisation. The Management team will want to see headline figures which sum up the broad brush of the project rather than the detail.
2.7 Writing and Developing the Bid Proofing - Usually this is the last thing to do and the least well undertaken. Make sure that the proofing stage is a quality milestone all on its own. Don't let bids go out until all final documents have been proofed, and signed off to prove it.
2.8 Writing and Developing the Bid Deadlines - If you miss the deadlines you've lost the bid; its as simple as that. Early on in the preparation stages it is essential to develop a timetable so that we all know exactly what has to be achieved and when, in order to meet the bid deadline.
2.9 Writing and Developing the Bid Submitting - There is usually a requirement to submit a number of copies of the proposal together with other pieces of information to a particular address by a particular time. It is vital to ensure that everything is ready to go well before the actual deadline; hiring a courier may be a sensible delivery option.
3.1 Planning the Delivery Forecasting - Finding the balance between flexibility and careful planning is difficult to achieve. On the one hand it's essential to have a plan showing where you are going and when you're going to get to different points en-route; on the other hand it is sensible to have the flexibility to change things along the way, perhaps as you discover more about the target market. Undertake solid forecasting but with built in flexibility.
3.2 Planning the Delivery "What-if-ing" - There is no better way of testing ones assumptions than by asking "what if ...?" It's a good idea to develop "what if" scenarios and present them as different financial models.
3.3 Planning the Delivery Allocating - All projects require appropriate allocation of resources, and if partners are involved in delivery then it is all the more important to be clear about who's doing what. It may be helpful to set out a table showing the deliverables down one axis and the amount required by each party for their part in the project on the other axis. This gives a good working picture of the cost per delivery item and the allocation of those costs for each delivery partner.
3.4 Planning the Delivery Profiling: Cash and Outputs - Accurately forecasting when the cash will be spent is vital for cash flow profiling. Output profiles are also important to forecast accurately. Most funders will want to see a profile showing the time when outputs will be delivered.
4.1 Managing the Project Monitoring Performance - It is essential to appoint a management team for each project and make sure that everyone involved knows their role and takes responsibility for their part in the process. It's a good idea to monitor activity on a weekly basis (and more often if necessary), to make sure that things get pulled back on track before they go seriously wrong.
4.2 Managing the Project Putting in the Claims - Claims need dedicated attention; it's the only way to get it right first time and not waste valuable time and money.
5.1 Signing up the Beneficiaries Checking Eligibility - Are you eligible? It may sound a silly question but if you don't check eligibility you could be on a hiding to nothing. No funder will pay for outputs they didn't order! Eligibility criteria is really important to take to heart, because once the delivery team know who they can sign up it becomes very simple. It's a good idea to have a session with the delivery team to ensure they know the exact eligibility criteria and then write it into the delivery manual just to make sure there's no excuse.
5.2 Signing up the Beneficiaries Ring Fencing - Sometimes funders or project sponsors like to ring fence certain parts of a project so that its only for a particular target market. This can make sense (especially when tackling disadvantage). It will be something to consider when writing the beneficiary recruitment plan.
5.3 Signing up the Beneficiaries Targeting - Whether you ring fence or not, most projects require a market segmentation plan to show which audiences are best targeted for which products or services. It is worth producing a market segmentation matrix for all projects. Even if you don't stick to it, it can help focus the mind and ensure that no target market is being left out.
5.4 Signing up the Beneficiaries Making an Offer - It is remarkable how often projects go to market without a specific offer. No wonder some of them fail to achieve the sign ups they anticipated. Look carefully at the target market and make sure that there is a viable offer for each identified sector.
5.5 Signing up the Beneficiaries Tracking - It is easy to lose your way in a project which has a lot of sign ups to achieve. Who has been contacted? Who has signed up? What stage is this business at? Without a good tracking system a lot of time can be wasted.
5.6 Signing up the Beneficiaries Filling the forms - And you will probably know by now that forms are the common denominator for almost all of these projects. Certainly if you are signing up a learner or a business, it will mean exactly that, getting them to sign at least one form. As we tend to say to delivery partners: no form no payment!
6.1 Evaluation Gathering - Good evaluations depend on sound information being available about the project. It is a good idea not to delete any files relating to the project; they may provide the missing link for a cracking evaluation. Gathering the evidence as the project progresses is also really important, even in scrapbook format.
6.2 Evaluation Analysing - It is often a good idea to create a project database at the start of the project. Create a new one for each project and then input the learner and business data into the database as you go.
7.1 Getting Back on Track when Things go Wrong Identifying the Problem - No one likes to think about failure but it can sometimes be helpful to identify the problem before it becomes all encompassing. There will usually be only a handful of really critical success factors in a project and its important to test each of these to see how a problem can be rectified.
7.2 Getting Back on Track when Things go Wrong Exploring Possibilities - There is a great deal to be gained from sitting down with people fresh to the project and looking at all the possibilities. There is usually a very good solution hiding among the panic and familiarity.
7.3 Getting Back on Track when Things go Wrong Involving Potential Key Players - Sometimes a project can be rescued simply by bringing in the right players. Knowing who to contact and what to offer is key.