Trusts and foundations are extremely diverse in scale, ways of working and areas they support. It is essential to do your homework on individual funders before approaching them.
Some trusts and foundations are interested in supporting a wide range of good causes, others specialize in one or two causes or limit their activity to a particular geographic area.
Working out which trusts and foundations might support your activity will involve doing some research – finding out what kinds of projects and costs they have supported before, their eligibility criteria, their current priorities etc.
How you apply to, and (if they fund you) work with, funders largely comes down to a question of size.
Only the larger trusts and foundations employ paid staff to administer their grants program. Applying to a larger trust or foundation is not dissimilar to applying to a public sector body – they tend to have well-defined programs with application forms, deadlines, published criteria etc. Administrative staff can help with enquiries and process applications but decisions are made by a committee of Trustees. If you receive a grant then you may have to provide a report and abide by conditions, such as using their logo. If you are rejected, you will normally be able to find out why – although it’s often simply because of high demand.
At the other end of the spectrum, applying to a small family trust is probably closer to fundraising from a donor. They are unlikely to have an application form, it can be hard to predict whether they will support you, and you may have personal contact with the decision-maker. They are unlikely to place onerous monitoring or reporting requirements on you, but equally they are unlikely to be able to offer applicants’ advice or detailed reasons for rejection.
Keep this in mind when you are reviewing funding and finance opportunities on Funding Central – start your search now.
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