Frequently Asked Questions

Any questions?

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions. If you have any further questions about Vision Mission or about the bidding or tendering process please get in touch by using the form below or by emailing phyllida@visionmission.co.uk

Why should I use an external person to help with our income generation?

Most organisations choose me because they need more income but aren’t sure where to find it or how to get it. Some don’t have the capacity to look and bid. Some organisations will ask me to help because their bids have been unsuccessful in the past and need guidance for the future.

As an external bid writing specialist, I can help you on with one bid or several bids. Or you can engage me to work with you for a fixed period e.g. one day a week for six months. As well as helping you develop and write specific bids, I can help you with your bidding strategy, theory of change and ideas on how to meet the needs of a wide range of funders. I can help build capacity with one-to-one or small workshops focusing on a particular bid or by providing tips and guidance for the future.

Why choose Vision Mission?

I am reliable, professional and know the business of applying for funding to trusts, foundations and public funders inside out! In 15 years of bid specialisation, I’ve won more than 100 bids valued at £200m+ from funders including local authorities, grant makers, DWP, DfE/Education and Skills Funding Agency, National Lottery, Ministry of Justice and others. I support social organisations to meet their mission by providing advice and help so that they can thrive and make a difference.

I have specific experience with organisations supporting vulnerable children and/or adults, for example looked after children, young people leaving care, children and adults with disabilities, young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), children’s homes and advice and guidance services. I work with organisations supporting babies, children and adults with disabilities and their family carers.

In the last two years as an independent consultant, I have led on successful applications to National Lottery, Social Enterprise Support Fund, London Community Response Fund and trusts and foundations including Garfield Weston, Assura Community Fund, BBC Children in Need, Baily Thomas, Skipton Building Society and Henry Smith with many others pending decisions. I have also won places on frameworks for support and accommodation for looked after children and care leavers and vulnerable adults in Bradford, West Sussex, Ealing, Kirklees and others.

Previously working at Prospect Services for over 15 years in their income generation team, I helped grow the organisation to an £80m+ social business which supported vulnerable children, young people and adults, keeping them safe, reducing risk and improving their life chances. As the Director of Strategic Development, I led on large, complex tenders involving my ability to work with people across the company, bringing together expertise and knowledge to make sure that our service offer to funders was robust – explaining how Prospects could help make a difference to the lives of the people the funder was supporting.

I have 10+ years’ board experience at two charities as trustee/director. I am on the Board of the Directory of Social Change, a national, highly regarded second-tier charity whose principal purpose is to help frontline voluntary sector organisations achieve their goals, as well as working hard to make the UK a better environment for charities to thrive in.

For six years, I was on the Board of Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire, an incredible social enterprise with charitable status committed to working with the local community to create a better environment, provide employment and reach out to those in need.

In 2017, I graduated with an MSc in Charity Finance and Leadership from Cass Business School.

How much do you charge?

I charge by the day or by the individual project. Fees are agreed before work starts and are totally transparent.

For new, one-off clients my terms are payment on submission of bid/tender, funding application or project. For established clients, terms are by negotiation but usually invoiced monthly with 10-day payment clause.

Rates for regular work can be agreed.

I am not VAT registered.

I do charge for travel including time to attend meetings but amounts will be agreed in advance.

I do not work on commission. My professional body, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, strongly recommends against commission arrangements.

Who do you work with?

Third sector organisations, not for profits and other social businesses largely those supporting or representing vulnerable children and adults.

I usually work with the organisation’s chief executive or their fundraising team if they have one. I frequently need to liaise with people across the organisation to pull together information needed to write an impelling bid so for example, operations teams and support teams such as quality assurance and finance (to develop the budget).

Can you provide references?

Yes. Take a look at what people have said about me in the meantime.

Can you guarantee success?

Of course I can’t! Any bid writing service which says they can guarantee a win, are probably best avoided.

Successful bids have much in common such as making sure you tell the funder how and why you can provide what they are looking for, you have the evidence to prove what you are telling them and you understand what they are looking for. How you price your offer is likely to be important too – too much or conversely too little, and you are likely to be unsuccessful; many tenders are assessed on MEAT – most economically advantageous tender – which enables the funder to award based on responses to quality questions (those telling the funder what you can do, how and why you are good at it) and pricing.

Do you work with more than organisation at a time on the same bid?

If I am working on a specific tender, for example to a local authority to provide specific services, I would only work with one organisation. However, applications to funders such as BBC Children in Need, National Lottery and trusts and foundations, are usually not in direct competition. Clearly there is a ‘competition’ since not everyone will be awarded a grant, but many charities will benefit from bidding for these types of funders and my experience of managing those applications benefits all.

I will maintain absolute confidentiality about the organisations I work with and their applications but clearly, the more times I bid to the National Lottery for example, the more experienced I become at understanding how to tell them about the value of the charity I am representing.

Do you have professional insurance?

Yes. I hold professional indemnity insurance and public and products liability insurance with PolicyBee. I am happy to share a copy of my policy.

How else can you help?

I am experienced in running bidding planning meetings aimed at working out what it is you can do to meet a funder’s need. Primarily aimed at larger bidding opportunities, usually through local authority or other public funders, these meetings can help you identify your unique ability to meet a funder’s specification, your ‘theory of change’ (what your organisation does to achieve the change you want to make? Or simply, look at what your beneficiaries want/need to achieve, and map out the steps/actions needed to meet them)

I have a wonderful network of others who might also be able to support you for example:

Ruth Dwight Consulting helping charities to build sustainable income by developing marketable products, services and programmes including strategic planning, programme development, and charity governance advice. https://www.ruthdwight.org

Emily Petty Consulting specialising in Leadership training support – helping women, overcome by fear and self-doubt, find their true self, step up and have impact https://www.emilypettytraining.com

Let’s talk

13 + 1 =

I’m happy to do that face-to-face on Zoom or Skype etc. We can find out whether or not we would suit each other. Working on bids can be intense and it helps if you know your bid writer and conversely if the bid writer knows and understands your goals. Contact me using the form or by using the email shown below.

Email

phyllida@visionmission.co.uk