If you’ve had an idea for how to improve your ward, you’ve probably realised by now that there isn’t an overflowing pot of gold waiting to be used for projects like this. Luckily, there’s a number of charities that understand just how much difference ward improvements can make to the lives of patients, families and even staff who use these spaces.

But, of course, charities don’t have infinite funds either. So, when you’re making your case for their hard-earned cash, what should you include in your plan to convince them to fund your project?

Before you do anything else, find the right charity

Did you know that there’s nearly 168,000 charities in the UK? They’re not few and far between and while it’s a big number overall, many of them will work outside of healthcare. Those that do work within the sector may work with very different demographics or raise funds for very specific projects, such as research and disease prevention.

Research is vital and the first thing you need to check is whether the charity you’re approaching funds ward improvement projects like yours. Charity websites often provide a wealth of information on the sort of work they do and the types of patients and projects they support. You could also talk to staff who have previously worked on similar projects to find out if they have any charities they’d recommend working with. If there’s no one local to ask, try harnessing the power of social media; Twitter can be a brilliant research tool if you ask the right questions!

Outline the benefits for everyone

Patients will always be the centre of focus for your ward and we wouldn’t expect a ward improvement project to be any different. But it’s worth thinking about who else uses that space over the course of a day, too.  Visitors, doctors, nurses, auxiliary staff, healthcare assistants… the list is practically endless!

So many applications for funding concentrate solely on the benefits for patients but by outlining the benefits for multiple different user groups, you could really make your application stand out from the rest. Remember that charities like to see their money help as many people as possible so show them exactly who’s going to benefit! You don’t need to make an exhaustive list of absolutely everybody but perhaps focus on the people who spend the most time in the space you’re improving.

If you’ve got the budget, get plans in place

Seeing really can be believing when it comes to securing charity funding for a ward improvement project. Being able to tell the charity what you’re going to do with their money is one thing but being able to show them is a different matter and can go a long way in securing their support.

Getting professional plans drawn up can help charities to visualise what it is you’re looking to achieve on your ward and, when they can see what can be achieved, they’ll likely be more willing to part with their cash.

There are plenty of interior design companies out there but it’s worth considering approaching a company like us who specialise in hospital interiors. With over 10 years of experience, our design team are experts in understanding how a space needs to function and feel, as well as how it needs to look.

Use real life examples and social proof

If you’ve been inspired by another ward in your hospital or even an improvement project that you’ve seen in the news or on social media, it may inspire the charity you’re approaching for funding, too.

Social proof can go a long way when you’re looking for financial support and it can make for a strong argument when you’re trying to convince a charity to spend money on your ward in particular. If you can, and you feel comfortable, why not contact the people who lead the project that inspired you? A first-hand account of how much of a difference a similar project is making to other ward users could be of huge benefit to your application.

Get the right people on board…before you apply!

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how often funding applications are made without the right people having been consulted first, though. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of an idea but there’s a lot of red tape and admin to get through before you can get your paint rollers out. Hospital management will need to give you the green light, as will infection control and there may be other departments you need to liaise with too, particularly if you’re going to need to use their facilities on a temporary basis.

Getting the go ahead from the relevant people before you approach the charity with your plans will show them that you’re organised, efficient and that can boost their confidence in your project massively.

When it comes to making an application to a charity for funding, it’s worth remembering the old saying, ‘if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Competition may be fierce but by laying out the groundwork beforehand and including details that others might not have considered, you’ll be demonstrating your commitment to the project, helping you to stand out from the other applications that your chosen charity receives.

If you’re looking for more information on how to secure charity funding for ward improvements, make sure you get in touch. As well as having over a decade of experience of working with various hospitals and charities, we’re lucky enough to have the expertise of Debbie Adlerstein to help you conquer whatever fundraising hurdles you might find yourself facing.