Five Tips to Make Your Funding Accessible to Youth-Owned Projects

#iwill Ambassador Naomi gives organisations who provide funding five tips on what more they could do to make grants and funding accessible to young people directly.

There are lots of barriers that young people face in accessing funding. Most can be overcome quite simply, but you will have to think about things you haven’t had to before. Here’s five tips to get started:

1. Make it practically possible

Young people may not have access to an account for the money to be sent to, so consider sending them the funding on a prepaid card that can be used to access it and keeps it in a dedicated space. Young people may not understand the process that it needs to go through, including things like how to work out a budget. Peace First are a good example of an organisation that provide a way for young people to work through the process step by step with feedback and coaching at every stage.

2. Listen to what young people want from you

Different young people will be at different stages of their volunteer journeys and will have different needs from funding available. Experienced young people may feel confident coming up with an idea, applying for funding, spending the funding and reporting back with very little input from any ‘adults’. Support should be tailored towards any group of young people and ultimately young people need to be trusted to know what works for their group.

3. Be clear in everything you do

Funding application forms are often complicated and full of jargon. If there’s any mention of constitutions or policies it immediately feels inaccessible to most young people. Make the form as clear and simple as possible and make sure all of the essential requirements are made clear. Offer support to young people too if they aren’t sure if they meet the requirements. Its easy to forget when you do the job day in day out that some of the jargon used in the sector doesn’t make any sense to young people. Be clear too on what you expect back from the young people as a result of the funding and be honest about what the terms and conditions are upfront.

4. Be flexible and allow young people to be creative

Having a really rigid process isn’t always helpful for young people, be prepared to be flexible and to change processes to better suit them. For example your funding might ask that a report is provided at the end, but young people may not be confident writing a report in a way that you are used to. Consider how this could be done differently, perhaps by providing prompt questions or even allowing young people to create a video or creative piece in replace of a report. 

5. Create funding opportunities that allow progression

Giving large chunks of money out to groups of young people can feel daunting for both organisations and young people themselves, so instead consider how you can offer progression to young people.

You may start with a small grant of money for 6 months and then if that is successful offer them to apply for further funding, perhaps for a larger amount. This offers young people a tangible goal to work towards and doesn’t leave them feeling like they don’t have the opportunity to create a more long-lasting project that is going to continue for longer than 6 months. You shouldn’t give a group funding for 6 months and then tell them they can no longer access anything else for another 3 years.