When you apply for a grant or funding opportunity, as part of the application process, you may be interviewed by a member of the commissioning team. Commissioners want to be sure their money’s going to the right place and interviews help line them up with the right candidates for long-term and competitive contracts.

Many social enterprises will want longer-term contracts rather than short-term funding that can only support smaller projects. It can be frustrating when you miss out on funding for larger projects that can help you support people into the long term. This is why these interviews are a crucial first step into causing the change you want to see as they provide an opportunity to highlight your experience and explain why you deserve the funding.

We all want to give great answers in interviews with opportunity givers like Commissioners, funders, grant-givers, but you may also have questions to ask. Thinking of good questions to ask can be difficult – especially in the moment – so we’ve put together some interesting ones from the 3rd sector community for you! These questions will help you gain a greater understanding of the opportunity and present your organisation as the most desirable choice.

Is there anything else I can elaborate on to ensure I’m your top choice?

This addresses any lingering questions the interviewer may have. It’s your chance to leave a strong final impression to put you above other candidates. This could involve elaborating on previous wellbeing programmes you’ve ran to show your organisation’s capabilities.

What doubts do you have about our experience?

This is an opportunity for you to address any concerns the interviewer may have about your organisation. Remove any doubts by reiterating your capabilities. For example, you can explain the impact you’ve had on challenges such as unemployment and youth engagement in your area.

How do you see this partnership working?

This will give you a clear idea of what the commissioner expects from this collaboration. You could learn exactly how they want your programmes to support people and what impacts they feel this could have in the long term.

What are some of the skills and experiences you’re hoping the ideal organisation has that we haven’t gotten a chance to talk about?

You will discover the ‘must-have’ skills you need in this position and continue to align them with your experience. Whilst also finding new areas for your company to work on. This could involve having skilled councillors to support young people or having experience speaking with local councils.

How do you see this partnership helping us both grow?

Knowing you’re working with a partner with a clear plan is a good way to tell how much they value your partnership. From there you can better plot out your own company’s trajectory. You can begin to plan how you could expand your operations to provide further support to your community or potentially beyond it.

What key achievements would define success for you in the first 6-12 months?

This is a way to understand what the commissioner sees as a top priority. By aligning with your interests, skills, and aspirations, you can present your company as a desirable candidate. This could involve finding out how many young people they expect you to successfully provide support to in these windows of time.

What are the biggest challenges our work can help you with? In the short term and beyond?

For social enterprises, these challenges could come in the form of current policies that restrict change. This question demonstrates you’re preparing for what’s to come in the future if you’re successful. It shows a greater interest in your potential partner and a desire to support them. You can also highlight transferable experiences that would help you overcome these challenges going forward.

No matter how large your organisation is, we hope that these suggestions can help you with future interviews and help you secure new partnerships to help you carry out your ideal projects and keep your company on a pathway to success.


Written by Joe Perkes,

On behalf of Aspire4u CIC

You can also click here to read more of our blogs.

We are a not-for-profit community engagement organisation. We develop experiences to improve wellbeing, foster financial literacy, and give people employability skills.

So, get involved! You can contact hello@aspire4u.co.uk to discuss our current opportunities.

Finally, for more information, get in touch.


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