This page tells you about different ways to search for grants. It also has some recommended steps for first time grant applicants. If you came here looking for a grant search or list of grants go straight to Funding Central's search tool.
Grant funding available changed in response to the crisis. Some small trusts closed funds temporarily. Many larger funders stopped running their usual programmes and diverted money to new funds related to the crisis.
More changes will happen. Overall grant funding will be affected by the crisis for years to come. Competition for funds will be even more intense. Well thought out projects will not always get the funding they need.
Some funders will make applications simpler and ask for less reports and less justifications from organisations they already support. We don’t know how this will affect new organisations yet.
But the process for finding grants stays the same. Finding grant funding is about making connections. It is about getting to know what funding is out there and deciding whether it suits you or not.
If you work outside the UK start with funding guidance for working in international development.
Otherwise make sure you are taking a three-part approach:
If you are looking for your first grant you could start with our first steps for new organisations (link to anchor)
You should sign up to at least one online service that will send you updates about new grant funds and deadlines by email. Make sure that the service you choose lets you configure its settings so that you get updates that match your needs. NCVO recommends Funding Central. It is free if your organisation has a turnover of less than £120,000 per year. For other organisations it costs £100 per year. There are other similar services from other providers.
Some grants won't show up in update emails. Many funders have programmes that run for years with no deadlines or rolling deadlines. Some funders don't keep the teams that run the services up to date with new plans, they just have one record on the system. So you should always use grant searches as well as updates.
The same online services that send updates also let you do online searches that display long lists of results.
It's best to do the grant search when you know exactly what you want to fund. You can use filters to narrow down your search.
Online service searches don't suit everyone, and they don’t always find all available grants.
You can use other methods. Pick the ones that interest you the most.
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In every area of the UK there is at least one local support or infrastructure organisation that helps charities and voluntary sector organisations look for funding. Some also have funding to give out. In many areas there are several organisations with slightly different responsibilities. You should start making connections with those organisations as soon as you start thinking about grants.
In the UK you can find a support organisation or network for almost everything. They are all different but they may be able to help you with some important things.
There is no one complete list of all these organisations. Some are free and some have membership fees. Some focus on the activity you do and others focus on who you support.
To find these organisations
Active Now is a social club run by and for people with learning disabilities. They go to lots of activities and do lots of swimming. They google 'learning disabilities' and 'umbrella body'. They find Learning Disabilities England. They join this membership organisation and get a digital newsletter, resources and training. They talk to the swimming pool that they run sessions at. The staff tell them about Swim England, the governing body for swimming. They join this as well and start to think about training as coaches.
Most of the National Lottery funders have grant schemes that support first time applicants. This makes them a great first step. Right now, some of them are running Covid-19 specific programmes rather than their usual funds.
These links go direct to the home page of each organisation.
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own equivalents of Arts Council England and Sport England.
Most areas of the country have Community Foundations that manage at least one local grant fund. Many of them are good at helping people make their first application.
Get advice on applying for grants.
This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 17 November 2020
Funding Central provides access to information on grant funding opportunities from local, national and international funding sources as well as social investment from a range of providers.
NCVO offers a range of training options including live online, face-to-face classroom, eLearning and live webinar events.
Our latest blog posts on funding
Guidance to help you think about your funding planning
Introduction to lots of fundraising methods including digital fundraising
Find out about the different organisations that can help you
Basic guidance and top tips and tricks for finding grants
One of the most common ways to get funding for your group or organisation is to apply for a grant. We have six articles that can help you prepare for your first grant application. More experienced fundraisers can use them too. It’s good to review the way you do things. Use the articles in order or start with the area where you need most help.
Practical tips on how to find the money you need for your group or charity
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