Frequently Asked Questions
Before making an application
It can take up to 12 weeks to get a decision on an application, however this depends on when in the cycle your application is submitted, the process generally takes between 6 and 12 weeks.
Select the fund most appropriate for your project in terms of criteria and priorities. If we feel that your application would be better suited to another grant scheme we will automatically transfer the application for consideration for other funds. If you are in any doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone for a chat about your project.
As our funds are limited and we generally receive far more applications than we can support, we give priority to smaller and grassroots organisations. An average grant award from Two Ridings CF is around £3000 and we feel that this can make a huge difference to a small organisation but perhaps less so to a much larger organisation. For this reason, we would not normally fund an organisation with an income in excess of £500k. Additionally, some of our grant schemes have different income criteria, for example the Grassroots Endowment scheme cannot fund an organisation with an income in excess of £30k. Where this is the case, it will be outlined in the guidance notes.
We can however, and do on occasion, provide funding for larger organisations where we feel that it is in the interest of our communities to do so. If your income is over £500k and you wish to make an application, please talk to us first.
If you are not based in our area we may be able to provide funding but we will need to be sure that you have relevant local partnerships and a good understanding of the area in which you will be working. We will usually prioritise applicants with a local management committee and a local presence so if you are based outside the area you will need to present a strong case for support and be able to demonstrate how the project is locally led.
Most of our grant schemes provide funding for projects which last up to one year. We do however have some schemes that can provide multi year funding and where this is the case it will be detailed in the scheme guidance notes.
Most of our grant schemes can support either capital (equipment) costs or activity costs. Many of our schemes can also provide organisational running costs and we always encourage groups to consider full cost recovery to cover overheads where they are running a specific project.
Any specific instructions or exclusions relating to an individual scheme will be detailed in the scheme guidance notes.
Full cost recovery is the system which allows groups running multiple projects to allocate a proportion of the overheads and management costs of running a particular project to each project and grant application. We have a separate worksheet that explains full cost recovery in more detail which can be accessed here. Allocating some of the overheads and management costs to each project (ie considering the real time full costs of the project to the organisation) will assist with the ongoing sustainability of the organisation.
Yes, however where groups can reclaim VAT costs, for example parish councils, we may expect that the grant is either paid net of VAT or that any VAT subsequently reclaimed will be repayable to the fund as a condition of funding.
We recognise that this is an important need in the voluntary sector and we always encourage donors to consider this when creating a fund. Many of our grant schemes can support organisational running costs and where this is not the case it will be detailed in the scheme guidance notes.
We may visit your project during the assessment stage of the application to undertake an assessment but generally speaking our assessments are carried out by telephone. We do not usually visit projects in the pre-application stage as we cannot offer this to all potential applicants due to limited resources, although we may choose to visit where this will be helpful to us. We do have regular ‘meet the funder’ events and these will be openly advertised through our newsletters and on our website. We may also choose to visit selected projects to assist us in gathering intelligence to inform our grant making programmes.
We do accept applications from CIC’s but these will be subject to greater scrutiny. This is because we cannot fund activity which is not charitable. We would not normally provide funding for the general running costs of a CIC. Further details about our expectations of a CIC can be found here.
No, we can provide funding for community groups that are not registered as a charity and other types of not for profit organisation.
We aim to ensure that the amount of information that we request is proportionate to the amount of the funding applied for. We want to know what the need is, how the grant will be spent to meet that need and how you will know if the need has been met. For larger grants we may want to know a little more about how you will measure the impact of your project, your experience of helping people and the people involved with your project.
We can provide funding for new projects or ongoing projects. We cannot provide funding for activity which has already taken place though so if you are applying for ongoing costs please be clear about the dates of the funding period and allow plenty of time for a decision to be made.
Yes, if you are running two different projects that meet the criteria for different schemes then you can apply to more than one scheme.
If you have one project that meets the criteria for more than one scheme and you would like to apply to both, please speak to us before making your applications, depending on the schemes we may be able to automatically consider funding from both and this could save you time in completing multiple applications.
Different schemes may well have different deadlines, in which case we would recommend applying to the one with the nearest deadline first. If we feel that your application would be better suited to another grant scheme we will automatically transfer the application for consideration for other funds. If you are in any doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone for a chat about your project.
Generally we ask that groups should have been in existence for a minimum period of 6 months before applying. Some of our grant schemes will have more specific instructions and may want to see 12 months of activity. This does not mean that you need to have been constituted for that minimum period provided you have been active in the community for this period. This may mean undertaking initial consultations and steering group meetings during setting up etc.
We cannot fund a national organisation and in many cases national organisations will be too big to access our funding. However, if you are a separate group that comes under the umbrella of a national organisation, we can consider your application provided that you have your own governing document, your own local management committee and are responsible for your own accounts. An example of this might be a local branch of the MS Society.
Making an application
You may not have all the required documents together at the application stage or by the advertised deadline. This does not necessarily mean we cannot fund you. Please contact us for advice if this is the case.
Please ask for what you need within the criteria for the fund. You will not be penalised for requesting the maximum amount available.
Most of our grant schemes do not require any match funding and are happy to provide 100% of project costs. We do have a small number of schemes which require a contribution and where this is the case, it will be detailed in the scheme guidance notes. In most cases, match funding does not necessarily have to be a financial contribution but can be an ‘in kind’ contribution such as volunteer time.
This is about accountability, we need to know who is responsible for the funds we provide. The individual management committee members are responsible for the grant and we need to be sure that we are able to undertake basic due diligence checks, for example ensuring there are enough independent members where two or more members reside at the same address or are related in some way. This information is stored in our secure database and not used for any other reason except in connection with the grant where necessary. We may contact members of the management committee if we have concerns about the management of our grant and are unable to get satisfactory information from the named main contact.
As a general rule we will require two like for like quotes for any capital items or work to be carried out with a value of £250 and over. Different grant schemes may have different requirements in this respect and this will be detailed in the guidance notes.
Check your junk mailbox. As many of our emails are generated directly through our automatic systems or from our database, they can end up in junk mail. If you cannot trace it in your junk mail, give us a call so we can check this out for you.
Occasionally we may solicit applications by invitation, this may be because we are looking for a specific outcome in a specific area, perhaps in a very short space of time and with limited funds available.
We need to ensure that we fully understand how your project works so that we can communicate this to the panel making decisions on the allocation of funding. We need to be able to evaluate the strengths of your project in relation to other applications received and make a recommendation to the panel.
Give us a ring, we will be happy to help.
We have a standard assessment framework which is applicable to all grant schemes. Our assessors will look at the following areas:
- Is it a workable project?
- Is there evidence of need and community engagement?
- Does it reach the right beneficiaries?
- Does it represent good value for money?
- How well does it meet the criteria and priorities for the scheme?
- The application didn’t meet the grant criteria/was not eligible
- The application was incomplete
- Supporting documents were not supplied
- Poor performance in the monitoring process for previous grants
- Received after the advertised closing date
- Budget does not add up/is not clearly explained
- The benefits and outcomes of the project are not clearly explained
- The delivery plan is not thought through/ clearly explained
- Good, clear information provided about the project to support the application
- The need for the grant was clear or clearly explained by the applicant
- The purpose and benefits of the project were clearly stated
- It was felt that the applicant has limited reserves and limited opportunity to access other sources of funding or fundraising
- A clear and realistic breakdown of costs was provided
- The scale of the project was judged to be manageable for the current management structure and size of the organisation as described in the application.
- The project has realistic and achievable outcomes
- The application is inclusive and wide reaching
Once an application is received, a Two Ridings CF Grants Officer will undertake due diligence on the applicant organisation. This will involve reviewing the governing document, the accounts, the management committee details and any relevant policies. The application will then be assessed either by one of our trained volunteer Assessors or by a member of the grants team. Once the application has been assessed, summary information on each application is prepared for consideration by a special panel. The summary information will include a recommendation for funding based on the application’s fit with the fund, the assessors comments and the Grants Officer’s comments. The panel considering the application may be our own grants committee or one of a range of panels set up to advise on the allocation of funds from a particular scheme. Our grants panels bring an additional layer of expertise in terms of local needs and priorities and/ or expert opinion depending on the scheme. Grants panels generally meet face to face to discuss the merits of each application or occasionally this may be done as a ‘virtual’ panel in an online forum.
Our external grants panels act in an advisory capacity and once they have made their recommendations on the allocation of funds, this is then ratified by the Two Ridings CF grants committee.
We have a number of different grants panels and applications to the different schemes that we operate will be decided by different panels. Some of our schemes make grants in very specific geographical areas, for example wind farm and other community benefit funds and these can be made up of local residents and parish councillors based in the area of benefit along with technical experts and representatives of local voluntary sector networks. Some panels may include representatives of the donor, or subject matter experts.
Some of our grant schemes will be considered by our own grants committee, which is made up of Two Ridings CF trustees along with lay members selected for their expertise in the voluntary sector and major donors.
We occasionally have vacancies on grants panels or need local people to set up a new panel in a specific area and these opportunities are advertised on our website when they are available.
Check your junk mailbox, we always communicate the outcome of an application and this can occasionally end up in junk mailboxes. If you cannot trace an email, give us a call.
When you receive an offer of funding, the email outlining the offer will be accompanied by a grant acceptance form containing the standard terms and conditions of funding. This form will need to be signed by two members of your management committee and returned to the office by post or by email. The email outlining the offer may also contain additional conditions relating to your grant offer and these may need to be satisfied before we can release any payment to you. Once we have your completed grant acceptance form together with confirmation of your bank details and all conditions of funding have been met, your payment should be with you within approximately two weeks.
During the funding period
We will always be open to changes to funded projects provided this is in keeping with the broad aims of the original application. You must seek prior permission however before any changes to expenditure are made.
We may be able to extend the project duration as long as this is allowable within the rules of the scheme that is funding your project. If there are any changes to your project or if there will be any delays in submission of end of grant monitoring you must let us know.
We are always interested to see how our funded groups are getting on. We may want to visit your project as part of our monitoring procedures in which case we will be checking to ensure that the project is running as we expected and as outlined in the grant application. In addition, we often like to take donors to visit funded projects so that they can see first hand how their donation is making a difference in the local community. It is also a useful way for us to engage with potential donors and allows us to showcase the fantastic work that small grassroots organisations do in supporting local people and communities.
End of Grant Monitoring
We request monitoring information for two main reasons, to ensure that all the funds have been spent and that they have been spent as outlined in the application. We also want to know if the project was successful and to be able to communicate that to donors and funders. We want to know about the difference that has been made to the beneficiaries of your project but we also want to know where things haven’t gone so well so that we can learn about what works. We rely on honest feedback to assist us in designing suitable programmes that can really make a difference in our communities.
Having an individual story of change helps us to bring the project to life when we are talking to funders and donors and provides a powerful and compelling reason for donors to give to continue to support grant making to groups such as yours. It helps us to understand the difference that funding for small groups can make to individuals in need.