The Heart of the Matter: how do we raise funds to make our projects happen?
As far as Yorkshire Youth & Music is concerned, ideas for our projects working with children in challenging circumstances develop in a few different ways:
- – contact from an organisation with a need, or a problem to solve (and not necessarily a musical one)
- – a Music Leader, teacher or lead from a music hub approaches us with an project idea
- – our experience and observations of the education landscape leads us to an idea we think could make a difference in a specific area (using music as a vehicle)
- – an existing project leads to new phases or developmental ideas
This leads directly on to the Heart of the Matter this month: how do we find the money and resources to make these projects happen?
We find the funding for our projects from a variety of different places. The main organisations in the UK that offer grants for music based projects are Youth Music (who have given us funding this year) and Arts Council England (who we’ve had grants from in the past). Often those funders require us to raise money from other sources too (to supplement the amount we’re asking from them) and we achieve this by working in partnership with local Music Hub Leads (mostly local Music Services), local schools and local organisations. We have also been fortunate to receive grants from Children in Need and a number of local Trusts and Foundations.
Most funders will require you to write a well thought out application in order to receive a grant from them. Each application form is different (often specific to the funder) and it is well worth reading each funders’ criteria before you start to put a bid together. There is a lot of work involved. You’ll often need clear aims and outcomes for your project (i.e. think about what you want to achieve – and how you will evaluate if you’ve achieved it – before you start), a clear and detailed timeline and budget and your application will definitely be stronger if you’re working in partnership with other people (particularly if you’re working alongside established organisations).
Some funders will support individuals, some will only support organisations and some may be stricter still (specifically supporting registered charities). Often, if you’re unsure, funders are happy for you to call with questions. Increasingly all the information you need is generally on a funder’s website. They may even ask you to complete an eligibility questionnaire before you get to the application form.
A lot of research and often a lot of time is required to put together successful bids for grant money, but we think it is well worth the persistence when we see the outcomes of our projects coming to life. We have encountered hundreds of remarkable young people through our work and we’re working hard to make sure that our projects continue in the future.
Also worth suggesting is the idea of crowdfunding. There are a number of ways to raise money for projects and if you are associated with a local school or organisation, you may want to try to generate a bit of money from having a local bake sale or a mini concert or similar, where lots of people with small amounts of cash can get together to make a lump sum. This can also potentially be a lot of work but there are websites available now that make it a little easier for people to donate small amounts to a cause they want to get involved in.
We would also like to say how important it is for Yorkshire Youth & Music to receive donations. As we are a charity, donations have very kindly been given to us or raised for us on behalf of the work we do with young people. We received a Memorium Donation this year – a very kind contribution from someone who has passed away. This specific donation covers the cost of a specialist practitioner for one day in our work with children with special educational needs. Earlier this year, we also received over £500 from New College, Pontefract, where students had got together to raise funds on behalf of their friend, AJ. This fantastic donation is already being put to good use as part of our project with children with PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities).
YY&M creates music education projects for children and young people in a variety of complex and severely challenging circumstances. In order to provide meaningful musical experiences for these young people, we make decisions that get to the heart of both their needs and what makes a good musical project. We want to share the hows and whys with YOU, our readers, in a new feature on our website (and our bulletin) called ‘Heart of the Matter‘. Each month over the course of 2019, we will reveal how each of our projects get to the real heart of what music education means to us.