Three people working together at a computer. They are quite serious.

Grants are non-repayable funds that enable voluntary and community organisations to provide services or activities.

There are over 4,000 grant funders in the UK, and the process is highly competitive.

Grants are ideal for supporting research and development, building capacity or for new activities which over time could become self-financing. They are also widely used for projects and to cover the core operating costs of voluntary and community organisations such as salaries and overheads.

Challenges of grants

  • Short-term nature: grants rarely last longer than three years, so if you intend to your project to continue you must have a strategy for the longer term.
  • Specifications: many funders have specific priorities for types of activity they want to fund.
  • Oversubscribed funding: the total amount of grant funding received by the voluntary and community sector has fallen in recent years and is likely to fall further, coupled with more organisations looking for funding equals greater competition.
  • Time: it takes time to submit an application and receive a response – on average, from two to six months, depending on the funder and the scale of the grant.
  • Overheads: grants funders generally do not fund day-to-day running costs and it can be hard to secure the true costs of running a project from a grant-giver.

Find the right grant

Finding the right grant or funding for a community project involves research into the following:

  • the geographic area
  • the community
  • the interests of the funder
  • how your organisation’s status, mission, vision and values match what the funder is looking for.

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