Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Research Trusts and Foundations

There are a wide range of Trusts and Foundations across the UK and spending enough time on research will help you find those with a greater interest in your cause and will mean you have a better chance of making a successful application.

There is a large range of resources available for you to use and it is important to balance whether there is any cost attached with how easy it is to find the Trusts and Foundations you want to apply to.

Funding Central is a free website for charities and has over 4,000 grants, loans and contracts listed. It allows you to search for Trusts by location, what you want funding for and who your beneficiaries are amongst a host of other things.

However, there are also a range of other resources available online and in paper format. Some of the popular ones include the Directory of Social Change and the Association of Charitable Foundations. Some of these have a cost involved so do bear this in mind. Sometimes libraries may have copies of old paper resources, which while you will still need to check on a Trust’s website if all the information is still correct, can be a good starting point.

As with other forms of fundraising, it is important to understand who funds your ‘competitor’ charities. This does not mean you will be removing their funding but will help indicate which Trusts are interested in the type of work you undertake.

Once you have done your research and identified the Trusts you will be applying to for funding, it is always worth spending a bit of time on their website to ensure the information you have is up to date. They might have just changed the person you address the application to or some of their criteria. Checking this will help ensure you have the best chance of success and do not waste any time on applying to a Trust who is unlikely to fund you.

You will also be able to read through their accounts on the Charity Commission website – this will help identify the charities they have recently supported and how much they tend to give on average.

Some Trusts prefer to be proactive themselves and whilst you can’t research these in the same ways as above, it is always worth making yourself seem ‘an attractive proposition’ for funders. Is your website up to date? Do you display your impact or the change you make for your beneficiaries here? Trusts are perhaps more likely than others to read through your annual report too. Is there anything on here which needs further explaining in the notes?

Once you have done your research, ensure you check and double check your eligibility before tailoring your application to them. Importantly, remember to check when their deadlines are and when will they decide on who to fund, does this coincide with your project?

Want to find out more?  The FSI delivers a series of free Trust and Foundation Fundraising courses across the UK.  Check out what is available near you at http://www.thefsi.org/services/training/

Alex Hayes is the Head of Projects and Fund Development at the FSI.