There are numerous small trusts and foundations available to apply to. Some may help fund your core running costs, other may only support project work. There are websites and annual books you can pay for to find these out (examples being fundsonline.org.uk and fundingcentral.org.uk) but you can also run a Google search, trawl the Charity Commission website, visit the Association of Charitable Funds (ACF) website or sign up to your council or community e-newsletter where local funding opportunities are often listed.

Some trust funds that give money to local groups include the Big Lottery’s Awards for All, the People’s Health Trust, the Postcode Lottery, Trust for London’s Connected Communities funding stream and the Leathersellers’ Company’s charitable small grants fund, but there are many more that only focus on specific local areas. Also included in this type of fundraising are family trusts.

We will be expanding this area of the website, but in the meantime, here are some tips for applying to local trusts and foundations:

TIPS FOR APPLYING TO LOCAL TRUSTS AND FOUNDATIONS

  • ALWAYS read the eligibility criteria and the guidance before applying or starting an application. Then read them again! You don’t want to waste your time applying if you don’t meet the funder’s criteria – this can include your group’s income threshold, whether you are constituted or not, whether you fit their interests or their geographical area of preference

  • If there is no clear eligibility criteria or guidance, or they don’t have a website, take time to do a bit of research on the Charity Commission website

  • If they allow it, contact the funder and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is a good opportunity to talk about your project and find out whether it is the type of project that the funder would be interested in

  • Ask an external reader to proof-read your application to make sure everything makes sense. Think about whether someone who doesn’t know your group can understand the project and see the value of it

  • Think your budget through in detail, ensure it is realistic and transparent – you’ll have to stick to it and may even need to provide receipts/evidence that you spent the money how you said you would

  • Collect evidence to back up the need for your project. Quote reports, studies and statistics, and also views that you might have from supporters and volunteers – we will be building this area of the website so you can quickly access national evidence, but for local evidence you will need to collate that

  • Communicate the difference your project will make! It is easy to get bogged down in what the project will do, but what funders are mostly interested in is how it will make a difference to people so it is important that this message is communicated well

  • ALWAYS thank the funder, whether they grant your application or send a rejection – keeping a good relationship is essential for the future

  • During the course of your funding cycle, gather feedback and evidence, and aim to send the funder a report after 12 months, whether they requested one or not. This ensures a good relationship, will please the funder and increase the potential that you may ask for more funding in the future

  • If you feel you have a great project idea, but it is too ambitious for you to deliver alone or that it would be more viable nationally, send your proposal to our Head of Fundraising at amy.mawby@ourwatch.org.uk to see if we can support you further

  • If you can, keep us in the loop of your big successes – it would be great to better understand which areas of Neighbourhood Watch’s work is appealing to funders both nationally and locally, and learn how we can better support you