Leveraging relationships for enhanced health and social sciences funding

As the leader of a UK health or social sciences organisation, you’ve likely felt the funding squeeze of recent years. 

Government budgets are shrinking, grants are harder to come by and private investment seems uncertain. 

So how can you navigate the challenge of securing the resources you need?

In a word, relationships. Connections with other leaders in your space can provide access to a range of government grants and private investment opportunities. 

In this article, we’ll look at how to nurture these all-important relationships in an ethical and sustainable way. 

 

Understanding the funding environment

The main sources of funding for health and social sciences in the UK are the NHS, local councils, government grants and private investment. 

Recently, private investment has become more significant. And this trend of greater private involvement reflects the wider move toward public-private partnerships in healthcare, which aim to harness the private sector's efficiency and innovation. 

Local councils are also vital in providing social care, with additional support from targeted government grants. 

UK health and social care services still place heavy emphasis on public management but with significant and growing space for private sector participation.

 

Building strategic partnerships

Your strategy for building relationships with leaders and stakeholders will likely be most successful if it spans all three of the main sectors: government, private and charitable. 

Here are four tips for networking with government and private sector stakeholders:

  • Follow formal routes where appropriate: Official channels can be a valuable source of partnerships, especially when dealing with government and local authorities. Initiatives and events organised through bodies like the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), Healthcare UK and established professional associations provide ample networking opportunities. Membership is worth exploring and many maintain regular newsletters.
  • Talk to private investors directly: Direct introductions are among the fastest ways of exploring potential collaborations, and are common and accepted in the private sector. 
  • Develop your “soft” pitch: It is important you’re able to articulate the value and outcomes of your investment opportunity clearly in less formal terms. 
  • Understand broadly but pick selectively: Build a full overview of the funding landscape while using specific selection criteria to identify and pursue stakeholders with aligned interests and objectives.

 

Create a winning investment strategy

Successful investment strategies in the health and social care spaces tend to have several common components. At Waymark, we’ve seen that ensuring their presence can make a significant difference.

Private sector investors will often look at you and your team on an individual level. They want to know that they will enjoy working with you and that you have the right capabilities, temperament and personal credibility

  • Build a complete overview of opportunities: Map investment options on an ongoing basis, accounting for innovation funds, private funding cycles, special grants and so on.
  • Tailor your approach for different investors: Adapt your strategy for different opportunities, whether government grants, NHS partnerships, social care funds, private investors and so on. 
  • Demonstrate results: Use performance data to show measurable, practical outcomes and financial returns. Examples include revenue growth, feedback scores and annual return rate. Additionally, tax-incentivised schemes like the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) can offer substantial tax reliefs to investors, so it is good practice to align yourself with these wherever possible.
  • Integrate data with the human element: Combine hard data with more qualitative results that highlight patient and community wellbeing, such as RoX (return on experience) and individual case studies. As William MacAskill says in his book Doing Good Better, “The challenge for us is this: How can we ensure that, when we try to help others, we do so as effectively as possible?”
  • Inject personality into your pitches: Private sector investors will often look at you and your team on an individual level. They want to know that they will enjoy working with you and that you have the right capabilities, temperament and personal credibility.

 

Navigating the application process

Different organisations have their own processes. But they tend to be relatively consistent within sectors. By understanding the general rules, you’ll increase your chances of securing funding.

  • Government: Understand formal channels and adhere closely to application and regulatory criteria.
  • Charities: Emphasise social impact and alignment with the charity's mission. Qualitative examples and case studies are often valued.
  • Private investors: Demonstrate financial returns and long-term business sustainability. Highlight how innovations have led to quantifiable results. 

 

Leveraging technology and innovation

Well-integrated and proven use of innovative technology can make your organisation more attractive to investors.

Focus on three areas when explaining how your organisation embraces technology:

  • Innovations: Highlight proprietary or breakthrough technologies developed or adopted by your organisation. At the very least, these innovations should demonstrate potential for significant advancements if they are not already delivering them. 
  • Technological efficiency: Explain how your organisation employs technology to streamline operations, enhance service delivery and achieve cost efficiency. This could include the use of automation, data analytics and advanced digital platforms.
  • Patient outcomes: Show the impact of technological integration on improving patient care, from diagnostics to treatment efficacy. Use specific examples where technology has directly contributed to better health or social care outcomes and patient experience. 

 

Conclusion

Strong relationships offer an array of benefits for health and social care leaders. They open up investment opportunities, contribute to a nuanced and competitive understanding of the industry and provide a valuable crucible in which you can test and optimise your investment pitch. 

It is vital for leaders like yourself to be proactive in seeking out and nurturing strategic partnerships. They are unlikely to develop without a systematic approach.

However, you can rest assured that the resources you devote to connecting with other leaders will yield substantial returns, and not exclusively in financial terms. 

 

Launch your investment strategy with Waymark

Ready to lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable investment in your health or social sciences organisation?

Book a free Xploration to learn how Waymark can help you identify funding opportunities and build your network with leaders and decision-makers.