An introduction to grants

Grants offer organisations the opportunity to undertake activities which can't generate enough income to cover their costs often running projects that make a real difference to people’s lives. Grants can be used in a wide number of ways, to support research and development, help build capacity or establish new activities which, over time, could become self-financing.

Finding and applying for grants takes time. Find out what kind of funding is available and how grants could help your organisation. There's also practical tools to help you improve your fundraising and tips from the experts.

What are grants?

Grants are subsidies. The grant-giving body or funder provides funding for specified activities, usually following an application process and the recipient is then obliged to use the grant for those purposes.

Starting out

  • Grant funding tends to be short-term, you'll need to build from the start your exit strategy.
  • Many funders have specific priorities for types of activity they want to fund – and this doesn’t always match up with what you want to do.
  • Grant funding is often oversubscribed. Grant funding received by the voluntary sector has fallen in recent years, there are more groups looking for funding which means greater competition.
  • Funders may have terms and conditions to manage the project - such as new financial procedures or systems.
  • The application process can take time, each funder has their own criteria, priorities and processes which means every application has to be tailored. It then takes time to get a decision – on average from two to six months depending on the individual funder and scale of grant requested.

Find out more

Start your funding search for grants

With almost 9000 of grant giving bodies in the UK, working out who to apply for can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. Help identify the most relevant funders for your work through our funding search

Online training

This online training course introduces you to sustainable funding and how it can work for your organisation.