As the biggest funder outside of Government distributing around £600 million every year you would think we would be a popular choice for community groups? When I am out in communities, I am often struck by the myths about our funding and those that choose not to apply because of them.
Here are the top 7 myths that I’m happy to debunk…
1. You need to be a fundraising expert to apply
The majority of applications that we receive are written by volunteers. For larger grants of several thousands of pounds, organisations sometimes have a paid fundraiser. However there is no evidence that this produces a better application. It is important to us that the person writing the application knows about the project.
2. If you get rejected, you can’t re apply
On the majority of grant programmes like Awards for All, Reaching Communities and People and Places we will accept reapplication’s. Given the high number of applications that we receive it is not always possible or conducive to give feedback.
3. You won’t fund overheads
We can fund a proportion of your organisations overheads (rent/heating/lighting/legal/HR). The rules differ depending on the programme you are applying to but as a rough guide, overheads are normally 10% of your project budget. For more information check out our guidance.
4. We are unlikely to get funding
If you apply for a grant of £5,000 or less, success rates are above 65%.
5. You won’t fund organisations that have reserves
We believe financial reserves are a good thing and that they help an organisation to weather any changes or funding cuts. We encourage organisations to build their reserves.
6. You only fund big charities
While we do fund national charities, small charities and community groups are equally as important to us. In fact, we give out more grants below £10,000 than big grants every year.
7. You like to see a high number of beneficiaries
We like to see projects work with a realistic number of beneficiaries and monitor and evaluate the difference being made to people’s lives. This means that if you state your project will benefit your entire village or every young person we are unlikely to fund it- as we think the plans are over ambitious. Footfall is less important to us than meaningful engagement.
For more information our Advice Teams are on hand to guide you through our funding and answer any questions you may have. Contact details for our Country Offices are here.
Andrea Clarke, Communications Manager at the Big Lottery Fund
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