Key facts

Grant funding can be valuable way of enhancing budgets to solve specific problems or to take forward an innovative new approach. Whilst the process can be time-consuming, the potential gains in pursuing grants in a consistent and strategic way can be enormous. To aid understanding it is useful to first define 'grant funding':

'Grant funding is whereby a reserve of money is set aside for a specific purpose, usually to deliver funders' objectives, and does not have to be repaid. It usually involves an agency or organisation assessing your proposal to carry out a programme of work against a set of criteria they have created. If you do not meet their criteria, you will not be successful.'

Key points about grant funding:

  • Grant funding is a source of income provided to deliver specific outputs and outcomes which are usually mutually agreed
  • This source of income is typically restricted to be spent on achieving these outputs and outcomes
  • Grant funders expect to monitor the way that this funding is spent and have clear expectations on what should be achieved
  • The monitoring of grant funding usually takes the shape of written progress and financial reports submitted on a regular basis 

But grant funding also present a number of challenges:

  • Grant funding tends to be short-term, normally between one and three years
  • It is often oversubscribed with greater competition for funds
  • Many funders have specific priorities for types of activity they want to fund - which doesn't always match with what you want to achieve
  • Monitoring of some grant funds can be complicated and time consuming 

When applying for grant funding you will quickly find out that no two pots of money are quite the same. Each funder has its own criteria and processes which means every application is different. Before you start applying for grants, you need to make sure that you can prepare for and complete a funding application. How to apply for grant funding provides guidance on some of these key areas.