Why we turn grants down

This page gives an insight into some of the reasons why trustees may turn down an application for funding and what we are looking for in an application.

We do not place a limit on the number or value of grants we fund. If we think a project will progress our programme’s goals and are convinced by the method and quality of the proposal then in all likelihood we will fund it.

However, we do regularly receive applications that we cannot fund. Here are a few of the reasons why.

The project doesn’t fit with the Building Resilient Economies Programme:

Last year we turned down 20% of the initial outline applications we received because they did not fit with our programme. A number were for activity funded by our previous programme (financial inclusion or personal economic resilience); were focused on enterprise, business support or service delivery rather than broader economic resilience; or fell far outside of the scope of our programme. Some applications had a potential impact in terms of economic resilience, but this was either not explicit or not the main focus. Before applying please read the background information on the Building Resilient Economies programme.

It isn’t clear what you want to do or how you’re going to do it

The Building Resilient Economies programme covers a broad range of areas. When writing your application assume we are well informed, but not expert in your policy area, and fully explain what you intend to do and how. The outline application is an opportunity to describe simply what you want to do, why and how it relates to a fair economy. Using the 5w’s (what, who, where, when, why) should help structure your thinking and express the logic behind your proposal.

It isn’t clear in how the solution you propose will deal with the problem you identified.

Some applications make a clear case for why the problem they have identified needs to be addressed but don’t explain why the solution they propose is the right one. We need to understand the logic chain that takes you from the problem you identify to the solution you propose: what is your theory of change? We also recommend that you keep it to the point. Rhetoric won’t sell your project, facts and logical arguments will. Focus on the causes of problems, rather than their symptoms.

The application isn’t sufficiently charitable.

We cannot support activity that is politically partisan, primarily delivers private benefit to you or your company or doesn’t fit with the accepted definition of charitable purposes. You don’t have to be a charity to apply, but your proposed activity must be charitable in its nature.

The project doesn’t add value or connect to pre-existing activity

We do not wish to support activity that doesn’t add value to or simply duplicates what is already in existence. We turn down a number of applications because they do not acknowledge or connect to others already operating in the field or make a case as to why additional or different activity is needed.

The potential impact of the project is limited

There is no real evidence of broader economic impact beyond the immediate area/group that it focuses on. Often these don’t add anything new to the field or any potential learning for broader dissemination.