There is a wide range of fundraising opportunities available to finance community-led initiatives. However different groups and activities will need to identify the most suitable. For example, some grants may not be available for individual businesses and it is only worthwhile to set up a Business Improvement Districts if you are planning for a range of activities.
This section outlines some possible methods and should get you started. Don’t forget however that fundraising is a skill; it’s always a good idea to look for someone with experience who can help you. Another important thing to take into consideration is that to receive funds in most cases you will need an official bank account.
Local events provide good opportunities for local businesses to promote themselves. It is therefore worth asking local businesses if they would like to donate money to sponsor the event. Some businesses might want to give in-kind donations rather than a financial contribution. This means for they might for example provide soft drinks, materials or staff time. Don’t forget to put the logo of sponsors on any posters, fliers etc that you use to promote the event.
Also public space improvements can be very beneficial for local businesses (think about a few benches in front of an ice cream shop). They might be a good starting point for fundraising. For example, you could ask a group of local traders to sponsor a bench or a tree.
(Best for events, public space improvements)
To finance your event you could sell tickets, food and drinks. Take into account though that if you’re selling drinks or food you will need licences such as a street trading licence.
Holding a raffle or lottery can be a fun activity to add to your event. As long as you are only selling tickets on the day of the event and the prize money is not over £500, you don’t need a gambling licence.
You could also use events to raise funds for other High Street Regeneration activities, in particular if they are for a general benefit, such as public space improvements.
(Best for public space improvements)
Online crowd funding is a relatively new way of fundraising. It is expected to keep growing as a source of income for community-led initiatives. However, take into account that successful campaigns often start off with donations from a few large donors (such as Councils or major businesses) rather than a whole range of small donors. To get these donations, you will have to talk to potential donors personally. Once you have set up a campaign you need to raise the required funding within a set period. If you do not raise enough funds by your deadline, all pledges are normally cancelled.
(Best for events, public space improvements)
Grants are widely available for a wide range of projects, however, very few are for projects that are solely focused on High Street Regeneration. If you have an established Town Team with a clear idea of what activities you want to initiate you can apply for specific High Street Regeneration Funding.
If your High Street Regeneration activities have a clear theme, such as arts or history, you could apply for other major grants. Note that major grant applications can be very complex and often take months to prepare. For some larger ones it is expected that you apply as a partnership, or through the Council, which may have to approve or support your application.
The very first thing to do when you identify possible sources of funds is to check if your organisation is eligible and that you can provide all the information asked for. It is best to seek advice from someone with experience, if this is not already available in your team.
Keep in mind that grants are very competitive; success rates are often less than 1 in 10. So even if your project is well developed and addresses a clear need you may not win a grant. As many organisations take several months to decide which projects they want to fund, you need to plan well ahead and have a contingency plan should your grant application be unsuccessful.
Business Improvement District
A Business Improvement District is a partnership of local businesses that want to invest collectively in the improvement of the area in which they are located. BIDs are membership organisations and raise funds through membership fees. Some of the benefits of setting up a BID for local businesses are:
– Fees paid are only used to make improvements for the local business environment
– Local businesses decide on what to spend the money on
– Good vehicle to promote local business as a whole
Setting up a BID costs time as all businesses involved need to agree on the scale of the membership fee and what the money will be used for. A BID proposal is then produced. All local businesses can then vote by post for 28 days, saying either “yes” or “no” to the proposal. The BID will be established if the majority of businesses in number and rateable value say “yes”. You will also need to discuss an “operation agreement” with the Council about how fees are collected, administered and passed over to the BID.
(Best for Town Team)
(Best for Town Team, events, shop front improvements)
Fundraising opportunities via Sutton Council
If you are a business that wants to start up as a “pop-up” in a temporary space, you can apply for business support.
Local Committee funding
Sutton Council provides grants of up to £500 through its Local Committees to local clubs and community groups to support activities, including events, which benefit the local community and meet the Council’s priorities. Make sure you check for deadlines before applying! You can find about more about Local Committees and their grant process below:
(Best for events)
Section 106 funding
Under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, contributions can be sought from developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure, the need for which has arisen as a result of a new development taking place. This funding is commonly known as ‘Section 106’.
It is important to note that S106 monies may therefore only be spent on facilities where the new development has, at least in part, contributed to the need for the facilities. S106 funding is available for capital projects only. Revenue funding towards on-going running costs is not available.
In addition to this, the community infrastructure levy is a new tariff that local authorities in England and Wales can choose to charge on new developments in their area. The money that is collected must be used by a council to fund new infrastructure projects but, unlike, Section 106, it there is no tie between a new development and the need for the new infrastructure. The London Borough of Sutton introduced a ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ on 1 April 2014.
Some of the funds collected through both Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy are spent on local infrastructure schemes and community groups are able to speak to the council to find out more about possible funding opportunities for infrastructure projects.