Chidi applied to a British foundation for funding. They gave her £3,000 to deliver cooking workshops – she could reach three times more girls! The money would cover the food costs, and allow her to pay the church something for rent. In return, the donor wanted Chidi to send a report at the end of the project.
Getting this grant seemed to be a dream come true. £3,000 seemed like a huge amount of money. But the grant also meant that Chidi was committed to delivering club sessions three times a week. She had to go shopping more often. She had to pay for a taxi as she couldn’t carry all the groceries. The church asked for more rent than she expected, as they saw that she now had money to pay it. She needed more volunteers, and no one was willing to commit to leading a session every week, and she found that it was more difficult than expected to recruit 50 girls.
Suddenly she realised that she needed to pay someone trustworthy and skilled to do the shopping, plan and deliver two weekly sessions, visit local schools, churches and mosques to publicise the project, and recruit and train volunteers. Paying them three days a week would cost Chidi at least £1,500. Paying them would also mean that she had to submit new paperwork to the authorities which would take time and money. Food would cost at least £1,500. The church was asking for £1000 for rent. Chidi felt stuck. Her dream had come true, and yet she had a shortfall in funds and was committed to delivering the project.
Grants can be the answer to your prayers, but you need to be prepared for the consequences.
Funders and donors expect you will do what you said you will. In this instance, Chidi promised more than she could deliver for this budget. Chidi has two options – finding additional funds from another source or telling the funder that the programme cannot be delivered as it was originally conceived.
Remember: funders want you to be successful. There is a chance that you could update them on the situation and they may allow you to proceed in a way that you can actually deliver. It’s always worth identifying problems early and communicating well with funders.
- Have you ever experienced any challenges like those Chidi faced?
- How did you deal with them?
- If you were in a similar situation in your project how would you address it?