Grants Plus

Grants Plus - coronavirus update

We realise that organisational needs and priorities may change in the wake of coronavirus. Our Grants Plus offering has been adapted to provide current grant and social investment holders with support to deal with some of the resulting challenges and uncertainties. 

Please visit our News page for details of the additional Grants Plus support available to funded organisations.

What is Grants Plus?

'Grants Plus' is the additional support we provide to current grant and social investment holders that enables the work we’ve funded to have a greater impact.

In 2018 we spent £452k on Grants Plus work, supporting more than 170 organisations with training and consultancy.

We have a limited budget for Grants Plus and consider requests for support on a case by case basis. If you are currently funded by Esmée, and there is some consultancy or training you cannot afford yourself which could enable the work we have funded to have a greater impact, please get in touch with your Grants Manager to find out whether it's something we might support through Grants Plus.

Free support

Free support includes:

  • Use of our central London meeting rooms

  • Connections to other organisations we fund or other funders where appropriate

  • Signposting to some of the free resources and support available to organisations in our sectors

207 organisations we fund used our King's Cross meeting rooms in 2018, with over 4,000 attendees.

Skills support

This includes:

  • Training, networking, or learning events to which we invite groups of those we fund, eg communications, social investment, cost & pricing, evaluation and learning.

In 2018 we arranged workshops in Darlington, London and Northern Ireland on impact and evaluation, income diversification and business development.

Communications and advocacy support


  • Strategy and planning, public affairs, digital planning, media training, messaging, brand development, crisis communications, advocacy and campaigns 

  • Supporting grantees to create short films about their work

We want to ensure grantees are able to communicate effectively for maximum impact in their work. If you have:

  • identified that your organisation requires communication support,

  • a strong understanding of what your communications needs and issues are, 

  • a clear idea of the tangible outcomes of this support

and would welcome a conversation about this, please email us with your contact details and we will be in touch. 

Strategic support

Strategic support includes:

  • Tailored expert advice, support or training to give the extra help to an organisation at a difficult or opportune moment
  • Key issues we know organisations need help with are: evaluation, business planning, merger feasibility support and financial management
  • We have a few suppliers we have worked with before, but also fund organisations directly to work with consultants they know and trust

In 2018 we funded consultancy support for 104 organisations, at an average cost of £6,000 each.


We do not fund

Through Grants Plus, we do not fund:

  • Work that doesn’t build the skills and capacity of the organisation and still leaves a skills shortage
  • Work that has already taken place
  • Work that is a core activity for most organisations:
    • Part-time or temporary staffing costs
    • Fundraising: we would fund advice, training, and support with developing a fundraising or income generation strategy. We would not fund direct fundraising costs, including bid writing.
    • Recruitment: we would fund advice, skills or strategy development around recruitment; we would not fund direct recruitment costs, including outsourced recruitment services, agency commission or advertising fees.
    • Marketing costs
    • Impact measurement and evaluation where the primary aim isn’t to improve services i.e. to meet funders’ requirements
    • General legal advice
    • Website upgrade or redesign
    • Work to update standard IT systems and infrastructure
  • Organisations that have already received Grant Plus funding from us during the grant
  • Organisations already receiving 'beyond money'/funder plus support from another funder if it’s not clear where we could add value, or why the existing funding isn’t enough

Before applying for Grants Plus, please consider whether your organisation has the existing resources and capacity to deliver any plans resulting from the support. 

When assessing requests for Grants Plus, we will take into account whether some pro bono support could have been secured.