Additional Q&A

The following were given written answers during the webinar or after the webinar.


Can the impact of our work be in the countries outside the UK?

I'm afraid we can only fund work where the impact of the work is within the UK.

Are you able to support projects / proposals put forward by state funded Further Education establishments?

We do, but it’s rare that we do. The key thing for us is understanding where the impact sits and who the work benefits. Another point to consider is that we have an exclusion around academic research - unless it can demonstrate real potential for practical outcomes.

In terms of the statutory responsibility. Would a project holding local authorities to account not be considered?

Many of organisations we support hold different stakeholders to account - we are interested in supporting organisations which are trying to tackle unfair or unjust systems and holding authorities to account can be a part of this, often as part of a wider strategy of influence.

Is sustainable transport something that Esmée considers for funding? The project covers all of the funding priorities.

It does not fall within our exclusions but we would not fund the routine provision of sustainable transport. It is worth doing the eligibility quiz on the guidance to understand better if it might work. Broadly, if we funded something on this it would be something that is testing a new model or bringing together partners in a new way in a particular location where others could then learn from how the work is happening.

I know previously there was a need to have a charity partner. is this still the case?

Most organisations we give grants to are charities, but we do fund other types of organisations (including Community Interest Companies, and companies limited by guarantee) as long as the work they are doing with our grant funding is legally charitable. The Charities Act 2006 defines this as work that falls within one of 13 descriptions of purposes and is for the public benefit.

We encourage collaborative approaches across our aims. We can fund both existing or new collaborations. One organisation will need to apply as the 'lead' - they will be treated as the grant-holding organisation in our system and hold responsibility for the progress of the work.

We'll need the collaboration partners to confirm their involvement. Not all partners have to be registered charities. You'll also nominate two contacts; one from the 'lead' organisation and one of the partners. You can include anticipated costs of setting up and co-ordinating networks or partnerships in your application.

Our organisation's 'main work' does not fall within your eligibility criteria (palliative care), however we have a sub department focused exclusively on community action and which acts as an anchor organisation in the local area, drawing local organisations and communities together to challenge systemic societal issues around attitudes and responses to death, dying, loss and isolation. Would we be automatically excluded based on the rest of our organisation's work, or do you only take into consideration the specific project being delivered (which we believe is a good fit)?

While we would not fund the delivery of palliative care, we could consider work which matches our funding priorities (even if other bits of you work are excluded) so for this piece of work you would not be excluded.

Application process

Do you need to state how much funding you are looking for in your EOI?

Yes - when completing the EOI form you will be asked to state the amount of funding your are requesting.

Should we bid for the total amount over multiple years? So, £300k if we need £100k for 3 years.

Yes if you are applying for multiple years, the total you request should be the multi-year total.

Is the six step process the same for the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund?

If you are applying for the Collections Fund you should look at the Museums Association's website. The Collections Fund has a different application process, and is delivered in partnership with the Museums Association.

Are you able to process Social Investment and Grant applications from a single organisations simultaneously?

Yes, if it is for the same or related work, we recommend submitting an application for social investment in the first instance. If the work is eligible and we take your application forward, we will discuss the type of funding you need in more detail. If they are for separate pieces of work and one is not reliant on the other, you are welcome to submit two applications - one for social investment, and one for a grant. Please note the applications should not be for the same work or costs.

Is it OK to apply at a time where we are still developing and exploring partnerships for a project, or should we wait until we have all partners in place?

You can submit an EOI before you have all the partners in place. During assessment we would want some level of confidence that there was genuine commitment from partners but we understand that building trusted partnerships takes time and resource.

What is the deadline for submitting EOIs?

There is no deadline. EOIs are assessed on a rolling basis. We aim to provide a decision within 4 weeks.

Do you require more than 3 year business plan / budget to fund organisations?

If we invite you to submit a proposal, we will require a budget for the current financial year and latest set of accounts. A business plan isn't essential but is helpful if you have one.

Our website is not good. We have a grant to completely overhaul this and it will be relaunched in the next few months. Is a poor website going to affect likelihood of success?

We use a range of resources to make an assessment including your EOI responses, annual reports, impact reports and information found on the Charity Commission website. The main thing were looking to learn about is your impact and what you do.

Is the follow up phone call after the EOI a one-to-one conversation or an Esmee representative and our team?

We hope not to take up too much of your time at that stage in the process so a one-to-one call between Esmée and somebody with a good overview of the work is most often the case. If you want to bring a colleague on to the call to ensure you are able to describe the work then we can certainly do that.

Esmée's strategy and guidance

Our organisation delivers on a range Esmée Fairbairn outcomes – natural world, community development, infrastructure support, refugees /asylum seekers, challenging inequality and supporting vulnerable people through asset-based approaches through a large team of community builders, leading to systematic change - is there a way to apply that encompasses multiple strands of delivery.

We think it’s great if your work fits more than one so don’t worry too much if it does. Our application process will ask you to choose an aim and priority that is the best match for your work. You will also have the chance to select which other priorities are also a match for what you do.

We also don't have a preference in terms of projects focusing on one of our priorities and projects that work across more than one priority. We want applicants to tell us about their priorities and how they align with ours.

We are launching a new co-produced community based project which would be a good match for the Creative Confident Communities programme as our project seeks to use our charity shops more widely, including as places of connection, creativity and education. However we are a homelessness and addiction charity - and I realise you do not support treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. My question is therefore whether this exclusion is based on the whole organisation (in which case we would be unable to apply) or individual projects (in which case I think we could put in an EOI as the project is not medical/treatment based and primarily preventative)?

We will only fund work that is driving change for the future by breaking new ground, or using tried and tested models to push things forward in a new way. We fund only a tiny fraction of the vast range of charitable work that takes place in the UK and we are looking to support work that goes beyond service delivery.

The organisations we support will be doing truly exceptional work, which we think could have a ripple effect, ie: an influence that reaches beyond directly engaged to influence the policy, practice, or behaviour of others.

As part of our project we would like to fund a fundraiser to grow a sustainable longer term funding model. Is this something that EF would accept as one part of our budget?

If funding a fundraiser post is key to your overall plan, then you can include it among other costs. Increasingly many of our grants are unrestricted and in that case you would obviously be able to include that cost.

Can you specify if you fund campaigning? Our project is about facilitating local community groups with campaigning support.

We will fund campaigns that are key to making progress towards our impact goals; build alliances to push for change; or join a push for better legislation, regulation or policy change.

What percentage of support that you fund could be focused on existing staff to ensure our tried and tested work continues or does all of the grant need to be for new staff, new initiatives without supporting the core that enables the new initiative to take place?

We have no restriction on the proportion of funds that can pay for core costs. Many of our grants are unrestricted.

Do you have any examples of projects in the arts you have funded which have achieved sustainable, long-term change and impact? It would be helpful to see some egs. of good practice?

I would recommend looking at our website in the 'stories' section for each priority.

Do you put a weighting on projects that have some existing match funding?

We want to look at the impact of work first. That said, if the impact of our funding is increased because it sits alongside other sources of funding then we would take that into account. An example might be adding value to another funded programme by picking up important elements that they won't fund.

I work with the Learning department of a theatre that runs programmes for communities who experience structural marginalisation and are often communities brought together by circumstance (all though all within the same city). Because we are working across groups who experience poverty, addiction, homelessness, physical and mental disability and with refugee's and young people more generally - would our work be too broad to fund in a single application?

I would advise you to look at community-led art and creativity priority if you are working specifically in one city. The grants in this area can fund multiple groups providing the work and the way it is done matches our impact goal.

I’m interested in the definitions for creativity and culture too - we are an organisation who use arts as a tool for social change, our community collaborators may be interested in a wider definition of culture. I’m also keen to understand how we can best keep enough space for specific events can be determined during the project by the participants.

As you will know the definition of creativity and culture is very complex. We don't specifically define what we mean by creativity and culture as the scope of our work is broad and we are interested in understanding how people use creativity and how they chose to define it.

Are you still closed to applications to end the outcome of ending cliff edge support for young people?

We're currently supporting a fantastic group of organisations, and are focusing on working more closely with them to achieve our desired outcomes. We may invite applications where we feel additional work is needed in one of our focus areas, and we will identify these by working with our partners in the sector.

As we do not plan to make many new grants to organisations we’re not already supporting, this priority is currently closed to applications.

See our Young People Leaving Care Learning programme to learn more about out work and support.

Are you fine to fund pilots and testing new and innovative ideas?

Yes, we will fund work to test new and innovative ideas. During assessment we will want to explore how you hope to use the results to influence wider change. For work with people and communities we will need to see evidence that the outcomes for those people and communities had been considered beyond the end of a time-limited intervention.

We work in rural communities with children and young people who are facing barriers - school is often the only accessible place they can engage in projects because it provides pastoral/needs support, transport, a familiar setting, and is also more environmentally friendly as the children travel from a wide radius and are already there and don’t need to travel again. (More of a comment than a question!)

We appreciate that often schools are the main link into the community so can in theory fund work in this way, but not work connected to the curriculum. Often the work we fund is aiming to have a much wider reach across the community or aiming to do work in a new way that others can learn from.

Esmée's funding data

Do you have an average range of the financial amount that you fund each year (amount per grant)?

In 2021 our median grant size was £180,000 over 3 years, and we made one grant of over £1m.

Is there an average grant amount that has been funded? If orgs ask for a sum which is too high would there be a conversation about an alternative amount Esmée may fund if an EOI connects with what you want to fund?

If you look at our annual report or funding data you can see that there is a large range of our grant sizes. If you are invited to submit a full proposal we will have a discussion with you about the size of the request.

Can potential applicants find out if you have funded activity in their geographic area of operation?

Yes, you can using Grant Nav. It's a free-to-use open data platform that enables you to access and explore funder information from UK grantmaking organisations. You can search by multiple criteria including by funder, recipient, location and keywords for thousands of grants. See our funding data.