We Write Bids Case Studies

We have been fundraising on and off since the early 1980s.  This selection of case studies spans quite a broad range of areas, though many are to do with the arts and culture.  Some of these examples are quite old and involved funding sources that are no longer available.  The information below starts with our most recent projects and works backwards.

Stompin’ On The Quomps, Christchurch, Dorset  – 2017

We are currently working with Stompin’ On The Quomps, a one day Smooth Jazz Festival now in its 23rd year.  The Festival attracts 5,000 – 6,000 people and has recently significantly increased its production quality with a top quality stage and PA system.  We are working with them to raise funding to assist the artistic and technical development of the event.

Visible Girls: Revisited 2016-17 – Sum secured: £14,995 to date

This is a photographic project about female identity and empowerment by Somerset based photographer Anita Corbin.   In the early 1980s Anita took 25 iconic portraits of pairs of young women in their late teens and early 20s many of whom were involved in some form of sub-culture, including Mods, Punks, and Rastas.  This formed a very popular exhibition, ‘Visible Girls’.

Thirty five years on, Anita has been tracking down the girls in the original portraits and has started photographing them in similar poses and locations for a follow up series Visible Girls: Revisited.  The 1980s and 21st century portraits are being curated into a new exhibition accompanied by narrative telling the story of what happened to these 50 young women over the intervening years.  This will be accompanied by an education programme.

We advised Anita Corbin and her team on legal, budgeting and fundraising issues and wrote a successful bid to Arts Council England for £15,000.  We are currently working on sponsorship pitches to secure the amount needed to deliver the project.  Visible Girls: Revisited will launch in Hull this Summer as part of Hull’s City of Culture programme and will be touring Britain in 2018 and 2019.

Bournemouth Jazz Festival 2016 – Sum secured:  £15,000

We worked with Gerry Clarke, Director of a small 2005 Bournemouth Jazz Festival, and helped him shape it into a much larger event in 2006 providing legal, financial and operational advice and services. We co-wrote a successful bid to Arts Council England which raised £15,000 – around 43% of the grant funding and sponsorship secured for the Festival.

Orange Plymouth Music Week 2006 – Sum secured: £25,000 cash plus help in kind valued at £15,000

The Orange Festival On The Hoe was, unfortunately, a one off.  But we had another chance four years later.

In 2005 I had pulled all the music groups in Plymouth together to create a new 10 day music festival called Plymouth Music Week (two weekends and the week in the middle).  The mobile phone company Orange had a call centre in Plymouth and following the successful “The Orange Festival On The Hoe” (see below), we made contact and pitched the benefits of their sponsoring Plymouth Music Week.

We pitched for £25,000 sponsorship and secured this and to ensure that the sponsor got due credit, we gave them naming rights and in 2006 the Festival became “Orange Plymouth Music Week” which led to an entertaining editorial in the local paper. Orange also provided and paid for a considerable amount of print and banners which we estimated as worth up to a further £15,000.

Detailed post-event evaluation identified that the Festival branding had reached up to 5.7 million people through editorial, leaflets and banners and had created the equivalent of £54,500 editorial coverage.

Plymouth Jubilee Celebrations, 2002 – Sum secured: £35,000

Monday 2 June 2002 was the day on which Britain celebrated the Queen’s 50th year on the throne and Brian May, of the rock band Queen, played his guitar on the roof of Buckingham Palace.

I was working for Plymouth City Council’s Culture and Leisure Department at the time.  The Council decided that it wanted a large celebration, but the only budget allocated to this was £9,000 for the Lord Mayor’s Day Celebrations which the Council shifted to June so there was something of note happening that day.

The BBC decided to create a nationwide tele-visual musical experience in which local groups in towns and cities all round the country would perform a one minute version of ‘All You Need Is Love’ in succession with live television coverage from all to create a one hour programme.  It was a bit like the 1970s TV show Nationwide on steroids.  The BBC approached Plymouth City Council to stage a Plymouth leg of this on Plymouth Hoe.  I got called into the meeting as a colleague was off sick.  The BBC wanted our version to feature a Steel Band, a Samba Band, a Rock rhythm section and a 50 strong choir.  That needed infrastructure – a stage, in fact a big stage. If we were going to put a stage on Plymouth Hoe for 60 seconds of national Television it made no sense to leave it empty for the rest of the day.  And so I fashioned a day long Festival. But you couldn’t stage that on £9,000.  So I went fishing for sponsorship.  The mobile phone company Orange had a call centre in Plymouth and there had been some past contact with the Council.  I was able to set up a meeting with them and pitched a proposal to them which secured a much needed £35,000 for the event which became “The Orange Festival On The Hoe”.  The Festival was a huge success with around 50,000 – 60,000 people attending during the day.

Streets Of The South West: International Street Theatre Festival, Plymouth
1994 – 2000   Sum secured:  £105,000 over 7 years

South West Arts were interested in supporting a Street Theatre Festival in their region and we gained some start up funding from them for this.  We were able to bid to a government programme called the Single Regeneration Budget which included tourism measures within its criteria. It involved a lot of form filling and projections of visitor bed nights and the like.  But we were able to secure 7 year funding for the Festival of around £15,000 a year – £105,000 in total.  One of the key rules of fundraising is be aware of what’s available, be flexible and be prepared to deal with the paperwork.  At We Write Bids it’s something we are used to!

Horizons Sailing Project, Plymouth 1997 – Sum secured: £89,000

Although Plymouth is a city by the sea, a surprisingly large number of young people have no access to it.  In the 1990s had severe pockets of deprivation in  Waterfront areas of the city.  Horizons was set up to buy and run a fleet of sailing dinghies so that deprived young people could have access to the water.  They found that this greatly increased their confidence as well as technical and social skills.  Horizon then aimed to obtain a boat that was fully accessible to the disabled, so that young people in wheelchairs and with other disabilities could also get out on the water.  I knew Horizons’ then Bosun and research I undertook identified that the National Lottery Charities Board (the precursor of the Big Lottery) had a funding scheme that suited Horizon’s needs extremely well.  I put a bid together for them, pro bono (I was in a salaried position at the time) to buy a 34 foot twin screw powerboat to act as a floating classroom. I managed to secure £89,000 for boat purchase, refurbishment and contributions to running costs.

Boonoonoonoos, Plymouth 1995 onwards   Sum secured: c £50,000 over 7 years

In the early 1990s a community worker who had done considerable work in the Caribbean launched an Afro-Caribbean Carnival in Plymouth to highlight cultural diversity needs and issues. The first Carnivals weren’t well funded and the Carnival was limping a bit without much-needed resources. We discovered that the Single Regeneration Budget included ethnic minority targets that were not being met.  We put together a bid with Black and Minority Ethnic organisations and secured a modest but useful grant of £7,000 a year for 7 years.  Grants like this also required ‘match funding’ and demonstration of specific outputs and outcomes. We became very skilled at building packages that met these requirements.