For new community energy groups, small-scale fundraising can be a great way to get the ball rolling and galvanise the team. You may be surprised at how much you can raise through an evening quiz, summer fete or sponsored events. This can provide working capital to cover expenses until more substantial funds can be secured. Be creative and play to the strengths of the group using existing social networks to drum up support. There are lots of ideas and resources available online, such as these 200 fundraising ideas from Stroud Council.
As a voluntary organisation you may be exempt from tax on income from fundraising events but it is worth checking. HMRC produce a useful guide called ‘Fund-raising events: Exemption for charities and other qualifying bodies’. It is also worth checking with your local authority as some events like may require licencing (e.g. lotteries, sale of alcohol). The Cornwall Council webpage has further information on this.
Fundraising through Grants
After direct fundraising, grants may be the next option to consider. The major benefit of grants over other options such as loans is that they do not have to be paid back. However perhaps because of this reason they often have relatively stringent application criteria and processes.
Some useful resources for locating grants include:
- Cornwall Council Grants Advice Service
- Funding Central website
- National Lottery
- Directory of Social Change
- Charities Aid Foundation
- Funding Available for Social Enterprises
- Landfill Communities Fund
- Utility schemes :
DECC’s Community Energy Online website also has a section on ‘Economics, Finance and Funding’, including details of some grant schemes.
It is also worth signing up to email newsletters with DECC, DCLG and other organisations and websites such as Community Pathways in order to receive notice of grant programmes as and when they arise.