I’m a novice blogger - if I had £5 for every blog I’ve written, I’d only have a tenner!

If, however, I had £5 for every time I’ve used Funding Scotland, I’d probably be writing this blog somewhere warm and sunny!

In the last 12 months, I’ve searched SCVO’s online database for funds for everything, from a sewing skills project in Glasgow to wheelchair curling in the Scottish Borders and the welfare of stray dogs in Africa!

First and foremost, I love that it’s free! As someone who works for and with small to medium sized organisations, this is vital, especially in these times of austerity.

N.B. Other free web-based funding searches are available (including NCVO’s Funding Central and Idox plc’s Open 4 Community) but they’re much more focused on funds for England/UK.

Searching Funding Scotland is easy and no matter what I’m looking for, I’ve always found at least some relevant funds.

I hope everyone reading this has also had success using Funding Scotland. Here's a few tips and tricks to help you have even more:

Don’t forget about closed funds

There were 214 when I last checked. Make a note of those that are due to re-open in the near future, for example the Scottish Government’s Children, Young People and Families Fund and Adult Learning and Empowering Communities Fund will open for project applications “around the turn of the year” (and will be administered by Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland).

When a search returns a lot of funds, set the page size to 50 and try sorting them by name in reverse alphabetical order

This way, you’re more likely to read about funds that others working their way forward from A might never reach. N.B. if you support disadvantaged people in Glasgow, watch out for Zurich Community Trust’s Small Grants programme re-opening in the New Year.

Always double check that the information on Funding Scotland is accurate

As it’s a full time job (and then some) to keep 900+ fund records up to date. Learn as much as you can about each fund before you apply. Check whether the funder has a website, read any guidelines carefully, look for examples of previous grants made and phone or email if you’ve any questions. Many larger funders now tweet updates, closing dates and the like, so perhaps Funding Scotland could display their twitter usernames (e.g. @robertsontrust@rsmacdonaldct and @zctrust).

Let SCVO know if you spot out of date contact information, a broken link or anything else that needs updating

The more people that do this, the more we’ll all benefit in the long run. Simply email fundingscotland@scvo.scot

If you’ve read this far, you might also enjoy these blogs about trust and grant fundraising:

Julie Christie is a Development Officer for Parkhead Citizen's Advice Bureau