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Funding FAQs

Christina Riley © Photo from the filming of The Perfect Place by Scottish Ballet, two ballet performers, one in a red knee length dress is standing up from a dining chair and a man in a blue shirt and navy trousers is sat opposite her and reaches his hand towards here. A bowl of apples sits on the table between them.

Here are the answers to some of the most common queries. If you cannot find what you need here, or would like to clarify something, please call us on 020 7930 8566.

Please be aware you need to click on the headings below in order to see the answer to the questions.

Will you support work that takes place in a single UK country?

We fund organisations from any part of the UK whose work has impact across the UK.

Work based in individual countries may be funded where:

  • The work is of UK-wide significance – for example, Scotland has the most substantial marine environment in the UK, or because the work is so exemplary or pioneering that it will be of special interest and relevance elsewhere in the UK; or
  • The work covers more than one UK country – which could be a single organisation working across borders or a partnership of organisations in different countries; for example, an activity in Wales and NI would qualify; or
  • The organisation is working across England (due to it having the highest proportion of the UK’s population).

Do you make grants overseas?

Our Environment category provides grants for work in the UK Overseas Territories, and for marine projects outside UK waters by UK charities.

For work in the UK Overseas Territories, we fund UK-based charities working in the UKOTs, and we are also happy to accept direct applications from Territory-registered charities, including through UK-based conduits. We aim to take a nuanced approach and distinguish between Territories based on their respective charity governance systems.

In practice this means the following:

  • NGOs registered in Territories with UK-modelled charity governance systems (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, and St Helena) will be able to apply directly.
  • Charities registered in Territories which have non-profit oversight systems that are primarily finance-focussed (Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Turks & Caicos) will also be considered for direct funding. However, to ensure an extra level of compliance, NGOs from these Territories will be required to show evidence that they have been successfully accepted as the lead organisation on a UK Government Darwin Plus project grant.
  • Given the minimal local charity governance we will not accept direct funding requests from NGOs which are registered solely in the Falkland Islands and will require applications to be made via a UK-registered charity.

If your Territory is not listed, or if you have any queries regarding the most appropriate application mechanism, please feel free to contact a member of the Grants Team for advice.

The Crown Dependencies of the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey which make up Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man are not part of the United Kingdom. Organisations registered in the Crown Dependencies are therefore not eligible.

When do you fund core costs and when do you prefer to fund a project?

As a responsive funder, we listen to what you judge is important. Our main interest is in supporting organisations whose work matches our funding priorities. We believe that core funding is usually the most valuable contribution we can make. If you think a project grant would be best, you can apply for that instead.

We are aware that a modest core grant will have a limited impact on the finances of larger organisations. If your turnover is close to or over £10m a year, it may be better to apply for a project grant.

Does an application have to fit more than one of your categories?

No. If you are doing work which fits more than one of our categories, then your application should demonstrate how you are a good match with the criteria of one category primarily, and make this the focus of your application.

Furthermore, an individual application or grant does not have to relate to all three elements of our aim – relating to people, society and the natural world. An environment grant, for example, might focus on a particular habitat, with the individual and social benefits only becoming evident indirectly or in the longer term.

What is the ‘only they can do it’ test?

This test only applies to organisations with a turnover of over £10m – i.e. above our upper limit, as we prefer to fund organisations with a turnover between £100k and £10m. Organisations must demonstrate the way(s) in which you are uniquely placed to help meet our funding objectives.

What kind of artforms do you fund under your ‘Creators in the Performing Arts’ category?

We tend to fund organisations working in dance, music, opera and theatre that are directly involved in creating new or re-imagined work, rather than working through partner venues, festivals or other organisations. Sometimes we fund festivals because they commit to creating and presenting new or re-imagined work that has a legacy beyond the festival. We are committed to supporting a diverse range of work under the four headings of dance, music, opera and theatre, as well as supporting other art forms not covered by these headings that are able to create intellectual and emotional connections with individuals and wider society and reflect the human condition. Ultimately, our priority is to support the creation of high quality and engaging work.

Finally, we are not focussed on supporting work under our arts category solely for its educational value or social benefit – although we recognise that these are both positive additional benefits. We expect applicants to demonstrate how their work is of high quality by providing us with evidence of positive audience feedback and engagement, awards and accolades and professional reviews.

When will you fund research?

We recognise that rigorous research and policy analysis can provide the evidence and arguments to advocate for important changes in practice. We prefer to fund this sort of work if it is grounded in real life experience, includes the voices of those affected, and is likely to make a practical difference. When considering such proposals, your track record, expertise, knowledge of the context and understanding of how to effect such change will be important considerations.

Do you fund universities?

Not usually, and not for their core work. Exceptionally, we may consider an application from a specialist unit if you are a centre of excellence and a leader in your field. Your work should:

  • be distinctive and likely to make a practical difference
  • involve partnerships with charities or NGOs
  • have a budget that includes no contribution to overheads
  • strongly match our funding interests.

How long will you make a grant for?

Most of our grants are for two or three years, but as a responsive and flexible funder we are willing to consider different timeframes. The Grants Team is on hand to answer any questions you may have in this regard. As mentioned above, to get an idea of the kind of grants we have awarded in the past, take a look at the grants list on our website or on 360Giving.

When is the best time for me to apply? Do you have any deadlines?

For the majority of applications there are no deadlines and you can apply at any time. We make decisions regularly throughout the year. A summary of how our applications are processed. Please read our Application Timelines.

Some work strands, such as the Museums and Galleries Fund have an annual application deadline. Please check the website for more information on these.

How quickly will I know your decision?

We will acknowledge your application within one week.

We have a two-stage application process. We aim to deal with all first-stage applications within one to two months. On the rare occasion an application takes longer, we will be in touch.

Second-stage applicants are asked to submit their second-stage form within a month of being invited to do so. You should receive a decision within a maximum of three months.

When can I reapply if I have been turned down?

One year from the date of submitting your application.

When can I reapply if I have a grant? Do you provide continuation funding?

In the past we asked grant-holders to wait for one year after their grant had ended before coming back with a new funding request. However, our experience of providing funding during the Covid-19 pandemic means that we have removed the need for organisations we fund to take a break before re-applying to us. We ask that you make your new application to us once you have submitted your Final Report and your current grant comes to a close. However, if you need to begin your new application sooner than this, then you need to contact the member of the team managing your grant to talk through the best approach for your organisation to take.

Can I discuss my application with you before I apply?

We are always happy to discuss potential applications. Before you get in touch, please read our guidance here.

Do I have to be a registered charity to apply?

We will only make grants to registered, excepted or exempt charities. However, we will sometimes make an exception if the organisation presents a clear case for why they cannot deliver their charitable purpose via the charity format. In practice this applies primarily to policy, advocacy and campaigning activities under the Social Action and Environment categories. We would still need to see evidence of charitable objects, an asset lock, and robust governance.

Do our accounts need to be audited by an independent auditor?

Your accounts must adhere to Charity Commission guidance, and so if you are able to submit accounts that have been reviewed by an independent examiner then we will accept these too. If you are not a registered charity, then your accounts must be reviewed as per the processes in place for your organisation type.

What does it mean when the Foundation says they are a Living Wage funder?

We are a Living Wage Friendly Funder, which means we are committed to tackling low pay by encouraging the organisations we support to pay the real Living Wage.

You can find out more about the Living Wage here. The Real Living Wage is updated annually in November, and as of November 2023 the current rates are £12.00 across the UK and £13.15 in London.

We want to support our grant-holders to pay their employees the Living Wage as outlined above. Please do consider this when applying for funding to cover salaries within your proposals. The Grants Team may suggest changes to budgets where we think that the Living Wage is not being offered.

What can I do if I am unhappy about any stage of the application process?

We want organisations and the individuals submitting applications to contact us if they have feedback on our application process that could lead to improvements. We also have a Complaints Policy that you can use to raise if you would like to make a complaint, which is available on our website. Complaints are managed by our Senior Grants Manager. Furthermore, every two to three years, we run an independently commissioned audit of our application process that is sent to all applicants and grant-holders – this offers a review of our application process too.

How long will we have to wait before receiving funds after having a proposal approved?

We aim to distribute the first payment of a grant as soon as possible after receiving and approving the required bank details as set out in the offer letter. The only time this is delayed is if there are conditions on the grant, for example: grant is payable upon recruitment to a role.

Who makes the decisions at the different stages of the application process?

The Grants Team perform simple eligibility checks when an application is submitted and may reject proposals at this point if they do not pass these tests. Trustees are responsible for all decisions at the first and second stages and are assisted by the Grants Team in making these decisions.

What information do I need to make an application?

You can view all the information that we require for our first and second stage applications in this guidance document here.

Can I include hyperlinks and/or images in my application?

You can include some hyperlinks to supplementary information that support what you have referred to in your application. We encourage you to offer some context for the hyperlinks, as we may not be able to read the information contained within the hyperlinked information in full. Images can also be used, but please note that these images will need to be included as part of the two-page limit we set for first stage application.

Do you ask applicants for information on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

Yes. We have adopted the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Standard, which means we ask applicants to provide information about DEI as part of their first stage application. The DEI Data Standard has been produced by a group of charitable funders, including us, and you can find out more about this work here.

We are asking these questions to gain a better understanding about the kinds of organisations that are applying to us and that we go on to fund. Please note that the information provided will not be used as part of our decision making. There is no judgment or preference for particular responses. Applicants also have the option of selecting 'prefer not to say' for this section of the application.

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