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Welcome to the first part of the new NCVO website. While we finish building it, you will find the rest of our help and guidance on our existing site.

Deciding to apply for a grant

Grant funding is one great way of raising money to run projects that make a difference to people’s lives. But it isn’t always the right place to start. Work through this list to see if grant funding will be the right thing for you.

Timing

Is one of these things true?

  • There are at least three months (and ideally six or nine months) between now and when we want to start spending the money.
  • We are in a crisis and an emergency fund has opened with a rapid response time.

If neither of these are true, then you should not be looking for grants to raise the money you need right now.

Bank account

Do you have a bank account with two or more signatories or could you get one easily for your organisation?

You should have a bank account or a plan to get one before you start looking for grants.

Status of your organisation

  • Do you have a constitution or set of rules that you use to run your organisation?
  • Do you know what type of organisation you are?

Almost all grant funders will need you to have a constitution.

Different funders will fund different types of organisation. Some only fund registered charities. Others fund a much wider range of organisations with different constitutions. This includes clubs and societies (called unincorporated organisations), partnerships, companies (known as limited by guarantee), social enterprises and others. Many funders will expect you to have a 'not for profit' statement in your constitution if you're not a charity. But some grants are even open to profit-making businesses.

To be grant ready you need to know what type of organisation you are. But you must make sure that you choose the right type of organisation for your work. Don’t pick your organisation type just to get grant funding.

Money

How much money do you need?

If you need less than £500–£1000 to get your project started, you can look at other ways of raising money before applying for grants. Donations from individuals or community businesses are a good place to start.

You can get grants for small amounts of money. But we believe that other types of fundraising will usually take less time and effort and spread that effort between more people.

Type of project

What are you aiming to do and who are you aiming to help?

Different grant funders fund different types of work. Talk to other people doing similar things to you. Find out if your type of project is often supported by grants.

Some of the most common types of projects supported by grants

  • Projects supporting communities in need, especially communities that experience high levels of poverty or exclusion.
  • Educational projects.
  • Arts or sports projects.
  • Health or wellbeing projects.

Next steps

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 18 November 2020

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