What sources of funding are available to us?

Although grants are what people think of when looking for funding, there are many other sources of funding that should be considered. These funding sources need to be explored further to see if they would benefit your organisation and help diversify your funding base. The Wales Third Sector Funding Portal provides a good starting point to do this.

How do I find funding sources?

The best place to start is by conducting a funding search. There are several searchable online databases available, most of which you need to subscribe to. However, WCVA and your local county voluntary council have access to these databases and may well run a search for you. Alternatively, you can conduct a funding search yourself. The search will produce a list of potential funders. Each of these funders will need to be researched thoroughly to ensure that you meet the funder's criteria.

Which funding source is best?

Each funding source has its own advantages and disadvantages. As your organisation grows you should seek to write a fundraising strategy and generate income from several funding sources. This will help you to plan your future fundraising activities and spread your income across different funding sources. Avoid being reliant on just one or two funders. This will ensure your organisation has a future when applications fail or a project comes to end leaving you with no money.

How can we get money from the public?

An information sheet on Giving - sources of funding provides details of the various ways of raising funds from the general public. Funds generated from this source can come from donations, buying goods or raffle tickets, sponsorship, membership or through legacies. There are also ways of making more money from public donations as registered charities can often claim back tax on donations through Gift Aid.

What grants are available?

There are many different grant giving bodies from European funding to central (Welsh Assembly) or local government to the National Lottery and charitable trusts and foundations. All these funding sources have their own processes for applying and no two will be exactly the same.

The National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund offers a variety of grants. These range from small grants of £5,000 through to much larger grants of up to £1 million. Community participation for disadvantaged people is at the heart of lottery funding.

Charitable trusts and foundations provide about £2 billion in grants each year. They all have different criteria and application processes and tend to have fewer strings attached than other funding sources. On the down side many trusts only meet a few times a year, there is alot of competition for funding and the majority of trusts are not keen to become long-term or repeat funders of groups. The Association of Charitable Foundations provides further information on UK foundations and grant making charities.

Grants - How do I apply? provides further information on writing funding applications.

What restrictions are there?

All funders will provide details of funding criteria for projects that they wish to fund. It is important that you read these carefully as failure to do this often results in many applications being turned down. Common restrictions include:

  • Only funding registered charities
  • Only funding capital items
  • Only funding new projects or initiatives
  • Not funding staff costs

Restrictions such as these will be listed in the funders criteria and guidance notes. Make sure you read them as it can save you time and wasted effort!