Funds that come from a well established, usually large funder that is independent of government.   Examples include funds given out by national lotteries around the world or proceeds from telethons or large public campaigns like Comic Relief in the UK. They usually have similarly complex criteria to statutory funders and it requires experience to succeed with your application.

Applying for any grant can be a cost effective way of fundraising, but still takes time and planning. The more research that can be carried out, the more chance of success. You must ensure that the trusts criteria and requirements are addressed and that the application seems as tailored as possible. Often, such bodies will not welcome telephone calls or attempts at relationship building, as they will make or refuse grants based on the criteria they have. That said, if they do fit and there is a purpose for calling them, then do so.

It can be a long process; trusts sometimes only meet once a year, but usually you can expect an answer in 3-6 months. Other funders (especially statutory or bigger donors) will publish meeting times and ask for proposals a stated time in advance.

Bigger grants will often be given as restricted income. This is income that must be spent on a particular project or item that you will have specified in your application. Staff costs and overheads associated with this project can sometimes be included, provided you have put these in your application budget and the funder has not ruled them out.

The main thing to bear in mind with this type of grant is that it is up to the donor whether to restrict or not and they may well outline their conditions when they offer a grant. Laws differ locally, but it is sometimes legal and always good practice that if you have applied for a particular piece of work and received funding with no conditions attached, you should still regard that as a restricted grant.

Such funding will need to be reported back on and funds accounted for. The timescale to report back will often be set by the donor, but, if not, good practice would be to send an interim report at 6 months and a fuller version after 1 year. Generally, the higher amount being asked for, the more stringent the application process and reporting requirements.

You need to be aware when applying of rules around restrictions and that you are certain that you can deliver the project. Whilst unrestricted grants are possible, they tend to be at the lower end of the scale unless you have a very good and longstanding relationship with a trust. Some will provide unrestricted support for an organisation that is new to fundraising in order to help them set up. Check the funding criteria in all cases and apply for what suits that.

There are benefits to both types of fundraising. Unrestricted income can be spent on absolutely anything within the organisation’s programme of work, including salaries, administration, utility bills etc. The downside is that an excess of such funds can lead to a lack of strategic planning.

Restricted income may be focussed on just one area of your work and come with conditions, but it does allow you to develop longer-term strategic partnerships with your beneficiaries and the funder.

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