Bid-Writing & Project Management

Effective bid writing and project management are core skills of Aimed Business. Successful bids have ranged from research-based bids that enabled a Computing PhD to be part-funded by the Arts Council and applications for advanced materials to significant training projects in business and vocational skills, entrepreneurship and apprenticeships. The range of funding won is significant from a £2k support bid to £1M+ bids to create and deliver renewable and environmental skills.

It is truism that the money is usually available to support skills, innovation and research. But businesses often don’t know where to look. Or if they do, how to propose their project so that it meets the criteria of the funders. That is why the first stage of any bid is ensuring that individuals and organisations have clear objectives on what they are trying to achieve and what they are prepared to compromise.

How to win funds from bid writing

30 years’ experience of winning funds from local, regional (RDAs, Government Offices), UK (DTI, Defra, HEFCE, LSC, Innovate UK, Research Councils) and European governments (ESF, ERDF and Research Framework) and from a host of other national bodies and commercial organisations shows the key to successful bid writing is straightforward. All funders when announcing competitions have a strong view on the types of projects they will and can fund.

Most funding calls contain information for applicants. These may lay out in some detail the types of projects the funders expect to support. In all cases it is that detail which is important. If in doubt consider asking at an information or consultation day.

The provision of funding is usually governed by strict rules. These are set by the EU in terms of unfair competition or by other bodies such as the Charity Commission for inappropriate spend. Funders can only spend money on eligible items and eligible types of organisations. In some cases these are counter-intuitive to what they say they will fund!

So before Aimed Business write anything we ensure that the project is fundable and is worth putting forward. We agree the project plan and finances in a way that makes sense to the organisation. We convert the finances into the bid format. Then it’s a case of answering all the questions posed by the funder in the space and format required. After client approval the bid is submitted before the deadline.

How to effectively manage a funded project

When a project is won, celebrate for a day. After that it needs to be managed effectively. This is not only leading the team(s) from one or many organisations and ensuring that clear milestones and objectives are set; but also liaising with the funder to ensure that their systems and processes are covered effectively.

At the bid writing stage aims and objectives will have been set; at the project management stage they are confirmed formally and informally. Light touch project management would include preparation and submission of paperwork to the funder and any discussions required. Alternatively we can be completely involved as a partner driving forward the project and other partners.

Fees and costs of bid writing and project management

The fees for bid writing comprise a fixed fee to cover all the preparation work, writing of the bid and submission. The second element is a success fee. This payable only if the bid is successful. The success fee is a percentage of funding won whether or not that funding is taken up. All fees are agreed in advance.

Project management fees are agreed on a per day basis. If the project is funded these may be recouped from the funding. The day rate and number of days will be agreed in advance with early warning if the latter is likely to be exceeded.