Why we turn down applications

Each year we receive over 1,500 applications to our larger grant programmes. 

Around one in five (20%) applications are successful and go on to receive a grant.

Listed below are the main reasons applications were unsuccessful in 2016. Please note this list is not exhaustive and some applications will have been turned down for multiple reasons. Our two main grant programmes are Improving Lives and Strengthening Communities, but we had different grant programmes in place in 2016 (known as Revenue and Capital grants).

To increase your organisation’s chances of success you need to make sure that you cover all the following areas:

Can you provide evidence of the difference your service is making?
We turned down 658 applications (55%) because they didn’t provide evidence that their service is making a difference to the lives of the people they are supporting. Many applications provided only unsubstantiated or anecdotal information about the outcomes of their work, some provided no outcomes information at all, and others only case studies without any data to back up their claims about impact.

  • We are looking for work that is tried and tested. Your application should demonstrate that your organisation has experience delivering the work you are asking us to fund, and provide outcomes from that work. Alternatively, if your organisation hasn’t delivered the work before, it must have been delivered effectively elsewhere and you need to provide outcomes evidence to demonstrate that, as well as telling us how your organisation has the ability and capacity which makes it best placed to deliver the work.
  • We need to see that the work you have done before has been effective in making a difference to the people you help. Your application should ideally be able to provide a range of hard and soft outcomes including some quantified data, to evidence the difference your work is making.
  • We need to see that organisations value learning about their impact and sharing that data. Your application should show us how you monitor and evaluate to collect and collate outcomes information. Monitoring and evaluation tools might include: Warwick Edinburgh Mental Health Wellbeing, MESH (for Home-Starts), Outcomes Star or SDQ. Please note this list is an example and we are happy for you to tell us which tools you use and why.

Have you clearly described the work you are asking us to fund?
We turned down 278 applications (20%) because it was not clear what services we were being asked to support.
In the application we ask you to describe the work you are asking us to fund. We are looking to understand:

  • The type of service(s) provided (e.g. information, advice, training, and advocacy)
  • Who delivers the service(s) (e.g. youth worker, advocate, counsellor or volunteer)
  • The average length of time you work with individuals (e.g. 6 weeks, 6 months, a year) and the duration of each session (e.g. 2 hours)
  • The frequency of contact (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly)
  • Where the service is delivered (e.g. care home, refuge, community centre)
  • How the services are provided (e.g. group based, one to one)

Do all of your organisation’s activities fit our priority areas?
We turned down 292 applications (24%) either because the activities they were delivering did not fit with our priority areas or because they were requesting a running costs grant but were delivering some ineligible activities.

Please ensure you carefully read the full guidelines for the grant programme you plan to apply to before spending time completing an application so that you understand what we can and cannot support. You are welcome to call us for advice if you have any queries.

If you are applying for a running costs grant you need to ensure all the activities your organisation delivers fit within our guidelines. For example, if your organisation’s activities include research, campaigning or lobbying then we will only be able to consider applications towards a specific project, not your whole organisation’s running costs.

Can you demonstrate financial need?
We turned down 179 applications (15%) because they did not demonstrate financial need.

We do not support organisations with reserves (net current assets plus investments) covering more than 12 months’ expenditure.