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Why community engagement is key to getting grant funding 🫶🏼

You need a community to be a successful community interest company. Sounds obvious. You would think. 


Way too many people are setting up CIC's for themselves and have no community consultation and then wonder why they get rejected from grant funders. 


A CIC isn't a magic money tree you can set up and cash out £10k right away. You need to put the work in.


What is community consultation?


Grant funders want to see you have contacted your community and involved them and you are not just doing a project to them because you think it's a good idea and serves you. 


It can take different forms;


Steering groups in person or on zoom.


Feedback forms after a taster session.


Surveys.


Casual chats with people.


Coffee meetings with partners.


Networking at an event.


Facebook groups and polls.


A fundraiser event.


A stall or pop up banner to introduce your cic.


A taster session or event. 


By far, the CIC's that I see getting funded have been doing this stuff for months. Often before then they registered their CIC. 


The lottery grant Awards for all, have become really strict on this. Especially for new CIC's. They are now asking for 12 months community consultation. But there are ways to fast track though this.


 For many of you it's easy as you already have been working with your chosen community professionally. Or if you are from your chosen community though life experience you are in a stronger position. 


It's all about wording. 


Most of the time the difference between a successful and unsuccessful application is the wording not the project idea or evidence. 


I once had a history teacher that would say to us before an exam 'remember BBB' it was his acronym  for Bullshit Baffles Brains! That advice has served me well in life. From exams to CV's and interviews for jobs and now in application forms. It's the fluff, lingo and passion you inject in. 


Applications aside there are other benefits to growing a strong community for your CIC to serve. 


Your community will want more. 


They will come back, they will follow you, they will become advocates for you, they will volunteer, they will fundraise for you, they will be you greatest supporters. 


They are your CIC. 


Grow them, nurture them, make them feel valued and I promise you will have yourself a sustainable CIC. 


In the end I made some of my community my directors and employed some people along the way. 


It can be lonely running a business but the beauty of a CIC is that it's not just you. You can get great satisfaction and happiness from helping others and growing a supportive nourishing community around you. 

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