Funding is the most common obstacle for voluntary groups, community organisations and social enterprises, particularly in the current economic climate where individual donations are down and revenue attained from fundraising activities has diminished.

As the Centre for Voluntary Service, we steer and support groups in the North Hertfordshire and Stevenage area to deliver their services.

Whilst every organisation is unique in their goals, the delivery of their mission and their challenges, we share advice on the strategic approach to funding applications from trust funds and other grant making bodies to deliver their services.

Enabling every group to take that next step forward and enhance their impact.

Success of any application comes down to the strength of the proposal. A document tailored to meet the specific requirements of individual funders, containing a compelling narrative, data and evidence, as well as clear objectives and outcomes.

Funders also consider the accountability and transparency of an organisation, how they follow best practice and how they evaluate and report their impact. More recently, we’ve recognised an additional factor high on the agenda of funders; sustainability.

According to Jo Heneker from Sust Consulting of Letchworth, sustainability means ‘improving things for your people, your community, or planet’.

Over the past year we have seen organisations who showcase a wide approach to sustainability being increasingly more successful with their bids.

Organisations considering their environmental, social and economic impact not only in the services they offer, but in how they are operating too.

The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of groups in the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sector, announced last year that they are looking to support those groups who create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable. They will support environmentally sustainable communities that:

• Reduce carbon emissions and negative environmental impact

• Create positive environmental impacts

• Establish equality of access to the natural environment and

• Improve the quality of natural spaces.

To help local organisations think bigger with their impact, operate in a more sustainable way and improve their likelihood of a successful funding application, we are partnering with Sust Consulting later in the year to offer training for VCFSE groups in our community.

You can register your group’s interest in participating in this work by emailing us at the address below.

If you have an idea for a community group, voluntary project or social enterprise and would like advice on your next steps, email us on to reach a member of the team, or call 01462 689400.

As the centre for volunteering services for North Herts and Stevenage, we equip community groups, charities & volunteers with the knowledge to thrive. Learn more at