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Applying for a grant for
your organisation

The purpose of these guidelines is to assist organisations considering making an application to our Improving Lives Fund (funding for organisations). We appreciate the time and effort that goes into fundraising, so we hope that this guidance on our funding criteria and application process provides clear and explicit information, enabling you to be as informed as possible in making an application.  

If, after reading the guidelines, you are still unsure about your organisation’s eligibility or the application process, you are encouraged to contact the National Benevolent Charity to discuss your proposed application.

The closing date for the next round of funding is Friday 16th August 2024.  We are currently open to applications from organisations working in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire & Swindon. Please note we only have one funding round for Bristol per year.  

Our Organisation Grants Manager, Vicky Oram-Ahern, can be contacted on vicky.oram@natben.org.uk or 01666 848 667 and is available to support applicants throughout the process.

What is the aim of our grant making?

We aim to make grants to a wide range of organisations working to alleviate poverty and improve lives in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire & Swindon.

What are our funding criteria?

1. Poverty

Organisations need to demonstrate that their primary service users are experiencing poverty and that their funded activity aims to alleviate that poverty.  For the purposes of our grant-making we align ourselves with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation definition of poverty ‘when your resources are well below your minimum needs. Poverty means struggling to pay for essentials and to participate in society'. Please see full guidelines  for our definition of poverty and information on how we may evidence poverty.

2. Geographical areas of interest

We focus on geographical areas where we can build our knowledge and understanding of communities, to ensure our grant-making is informed by local needs and priorities.  We therefore only support organisations delivering work in (at least) one of our geographical areas of interest: Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire & Swindon.

3. Priority areas

Through our funding we aim to tackle poverty and to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged.  We do this by providing home essentials, financial, emotional, and practical support, advice, and training. We aim to help people live in reasonable comfort, to improve their physical and psychological wellbeing and to increase their capacity to engage positively in society. We will fund work that supports outcomes in one or more of the following areas:

i)  Supporting people in destitution/ crisis

ii)  Opportunities for employment/ education/ training

iii)  Strengthening families and/ or communities

iv)  Financial resilience

Please see full guidelines  for more information on what we mean by these priority areas.

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Who can apply?

We only make grants to support activity which is charitable by law. Organisations do not have to be registered charities to apply, however they do need to be a not-for-profit and have an agreed constitution.

We are principally looking to support frontline organisations working with marginalised people and grassroots community organisations. Preference will be given to local organisations.  

Where organisations have had two consecutive years of funding, we ask that they wait 12 months from the end of their grant period before reapplying.

Please see our latest Impact Report for some examples of recent grants to organisations.

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How do we fund?

The organisations we support are the experts on the ground and we trust that they will utilise funding in the most valuable way to their service users. Therefore our preference is to provide unrestricted funding over a period of one or two years.

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What don't we fund?

Grant requests which we do not normally support are:

  • Projects that exclusively serve religious purposes.   
  • Political campaigns and legislative lobbying efforts.
  • Organisations established solely for the relief or benefit of animals or plants.      
  • Retrospective or deficit funding.
  • One-off conferences or events, except where these fall within a wider context that aligns with our charitable objects.
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What is our application process for Bristol?

This is our first open funding round for Bristol. Please submit your application online using the Expression of Interest form at the bottom of this page. We have one funding round per year, the next closing date is 16th August 2024 (for grants panel meeting 28th October 2024). However you are advised to apply as soon as possible.

In this funding round we will give three organisations a grant of £40,000 each to be spent over two years. In the next funding round we aim to give three further grants of £40,000.

Please note we will also consider applications for a grant of up to £2,000. Applications can be submitted at any time, throughout the year and are not subject to our closing dates.

 

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What is our application process for Gloucestershire?

Please submit your application online using the Expression of Interest form at the bottom of this page. Our maximum grant awarded in Gloucestershire is £10,000 per organisation, per year. Our final closing date for funding in 2024 is 16th August 2024 (for grants panel meeting 28th October 2024). However, you are advised to apply as soon as possible.

There will be a further closing date on 13th December 2024 ( for consideration for funding early 2025)

Smaller grants of up to £2,000 are considered throughout the year and outside of our grants panel meetings, so these are not subject to our internal panel deadlines.

Alternatively, you can apply through Gloucestershire Funders Home - Gloucestershire Funders (glosfunders.org.uk).  If you choose to apply via Gloucestershire Funders your application will be reviewed by all members, so you may receive funding from another funder. However your application will be subject to each member's processes.

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What is our application process for
Wiltshire & Swindon?

Please submit your application online using the Expression of Interest form at the bottom of this page. Our maximum grant awarded in Wiltshire & Swindon is £10,000 per organisation, per year. Our final closing date for funding in 2024 is 16th August 2024 (for grants panel meeting 28th October 2024). However, you are advised to apply as soon as possible.

There will be a further closing date on Friday 13th December 2024 (for consideration for funding in early 2025)

Smaller grants of up to £2,000 are considered throughout the year and outside of our grants panel meetings, so these are not subject to our internal panel deadlines.

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What happens next?

We aim to contact all applicants within two weeks. Organisations that have a good chance of success will be invited to attend a virtual meeting.  We will share in advance the areas we wish to discuss, giving organisations time to prepare.

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How do we make decisions?

Following the virtual meeting, your application will be presented to the grants panel. All applications are assessed against the following:

  • The organisation – assessing the applicant’s skills and capacity to carry out the work effectively.
  • The work – assessing the outcomes of the work proposed and how it aligns with our charitable objects.

Timescales

  • For grants for up to £2,000, we aim to reach an outcome within two months.
  • For our larger grants you will receive an outcome three months from the application deadline.
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What happens once we have made a decision?

All unsuccessful applicants will receive feedback – via email (and phone call should they wish). There is no right of appeal. 

If you are successful, we will notify you via email to ensure that we have all the relevant details for electronic banking, and for grants over £2,000 we will also send a grant agreement setting out our standard terms and conditions to accepting the grant.

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What reporting do we expect?

We aim for our monitoring and reporting to be proportionate and light touch. We typically ask organisations to let us know when they have produced an annual report and/or impact report and we will use this in place of a more formal written report. Occasionally we may ask to visit an organisation or for information for our own impact reporting.

Please see full guidelines for more details on our application process.

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Apply now for a grant for
your organistation

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When you are ready to make an application for a grant for your organisation, please click the button below which will take you through to our Expression of Interest form. If you still require further advice and support, please do contact the Organisation Grants Manager on

vicky.oram@natben.org.uk or 01666 848 667.