Part of my mission is to help people grow sustainable CIC. As incredibly as grant funding there are pro's and con's. Many CIC's give up when they get a grant rejection and don't understand the scope a CIC has. Being able to diversify your income will help cover you when you run out of grant funding or when you want some freedom to run a project you want to do that doesn't meet grant funders criteria.
Sometimes it good to go it alone and gain the freedom done to design a project you love instead of bending it into what funder trends limit us to.
Some of my favourite community project I have done were not funded by grants. I once got rejected by the Arts Council for a photography project documenting migrants women in The Gambia. I decided to do it anyway and it was an amazing experience. I was so proud of the exhibition I put together, my image and the money I raised that I sent back to the women for food during COVID.
One thing I have learnt in my ten CIC years is- if you get out there and hustle you can make amazing things happen. I have loads of tips on how to make alternative CIC income. But first let's look at the pros and cons of grant funding.
The Pros of Grant Funding:
1. Financial Support: Grants provide a financial boost, enabling your CIC to bring your community projects to life.
2. Credibility: Receiving grants can boost your company’s credibility and attract more supporters and partners.
3. Focused Goals: Grants often come with specific project requirements, which can help your CIC maintain focus and direction.
4. Community Impact: Grant-funded projects often directly benefit the community, fulfilling your CIC’s mission.
The Cons of Grant Funding:
1. Competition: Grants are highly competitive. You may spend a lot of time applying, with no guarantee of success.
2. Stringent Reporting: Grantors often require detailed reporting, which can be time-consuming and restrictive.
3. Limited Autonomy: Grants may come with conditions that limit your freedom in project execution.
4. Uncertainty: Relying solely on grants can leave your CIC vulnerable to funding gaps.
Now, let’s talk about alternatives to grant funding. Here are ten creative ways to finance your community projects:
10 Creative Ways to Fund Your Community Projects Without Grant Funding:
1. Crowdfunding: Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to gather funds from a broad online community.
2. Corporate Sponsorship: Partner with local businesses to support your initiatives in exchange for visibility.
3. Fundraising Events: Host charity events, auctions, or marathons to raise money for your projects.
4. Membership Subscriptions: Create a membership system where your CIC community members pay a small fee for exclusive benefits, products, service and content.
5. Bid writing. If your good are writting grant applications you can charge other CIC or CIO's to write application.
6. Traditional business element of your CIC for example; Community cafe, maybe your have accommodation you can air bnb, or community work or event space to hire.
7. Paid Workshops: Offer workshops or training sessions on topics related to your community’s interests, charging participants for access.
8. Online Courses: Develop and sell online courses related to your CIC’s mission and expertise.
9. Selling Resources: Create and sell resources like journals, guides, or merchandise that align with your initiatives.
10. Coaching and Group Training: Provide coaching services or group training sessions, leveraging the skills and knowledge within your CIC to generate income.
By exploring these alternative funding avenues, you can diversify your financial support and ensure the sustainability of your vital community projects.
To help show you what's possible I am going to challenge myself to make 10k in alternative to grant funding income in one month! Let's see if I can do it. I will record my journy and report back.
Write in the comments what income you have raised without grant funding. Let's share our success and motivate each other.