Making the Most of your Million!

We recently visited 14 Big Local areas to find out what influences the development of Big Local. One of the things we found was that people often viewed the Big Local £1m as a starting point for other funding and believed that Big Local would be ‘more than the million’ in the long-run. Areas expected to use the money to attract other funding or to grow the money through social investment.

Match funding is a big part of this and for our recent analysis of Getting Started funding applications we looked at what types of match funding wave 3 areas (announced in December 2012) are expecting to attract and where this will come from.

What is match funding?

Match funding is the additional funding that can be drawn in from other sources to supplement the Big Local funding. This match can be cash or ‘in-kind’ match, for example materials needed to run an event, a meeting space or training.

Is match funding worth the effort?

In short, yes. Big Local areas from wave 3 reported that they expecting to receive £177,184 in matched-funding as part of the Getting Started process. That’s 16% of the total funding achieved. On average, the 28 wave 3 areas that were expecting match funding added £6,328 to their £20,000 Getting Started budget.

What type of match are Big Local areas expecting to get?

As well as cash, areas were expecting in-kind match to help get Big Local off the ground. The top four types of in-kind match were:

  • materials - this ranged from prizes such as i-pads and gym passes to the materials needed to build a new football stand worth a huge £54,000
  • meeting space - this included desk space for workers, space for meetings and venues for community days
  • staff - staff time was donated to coordinate Big Local, run sessions for young people, provide community development and engagement support, help areas to develop their plans and supervise staff
  • donated services - experts in specific fields offered their services which included training, profiling, marketing, filming of events and support with financial management.

Where is a good place to start looking for match funding?

Big Local areas were expecting match funding from a number of sources. The top four were:

  • charities – including national charities such as Comic Relief as well as local charities
  • community organisations – including a community centre and a ‘friends of’ group
  • local authorities
  • housing associations.

However areas were creative in who they connected with and other groups and organisations included:

  • a local university providing funding for a temporary development worker
  • a local church hiring sound equipment
  • a neighbourhood planning group providing support for meetings.

Other sources could include local area forums, council for voluntary services, police and crime commissioners and local businesses.

How can you get funders interested in providing match funding?

Big Local has some great selling points when it comes to attracting match funding. Firstly, you already have some money which always helps to open doors. There is also a wealth of knowledge and contacts within areas which means funders providing the match are getting more for their money – they are getting you and all your resources, time and passion.

So, the key things to consider when thinking about match funding are:

  • Who else is interested in the activity or project you are trying to fund?
  • What groups of people might benefit and who usually funds these groups?
  • What additional value can you bring to the project that would interest your potential funder?

And the big question:

  • Who would you have approached for funding to achieve what you are trying to do if you didn’t have Big Local money?