Why We Turn Down Applications

Each year we receive 3,000 applications from across the UK, and only one in ten will be funded.

New Diorama Theatre

We are trying to reduce the number of applications we receive, and the accompanying amount of wasted time and effort. We hope that being clearer about what we turn down will help.

We appreciate the huge amount of work that goes into making a funding application. Please check your answers to these questions before investing time in applying:


Does your work closely match our identified priorities?

We strongly advise you read about what we fund and what we don't fund. Please don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole - if your work genuinely doesn't fit with our priorities then your efforts may be better focused on applying to other funders.


Is your work commonly delivered elsewhere in the UK?
 

With limited funds it is very difficult for us to prioritise between the many excellent, but similar, organisations that apply to us, this is no reflection on the quality or importance of this work. Successful projects will be a strong match to one of our aims and are likely to produce learning which can be shared with/have implications for the wider sector.

Examples of what we don’t fund includes workshop delivery, advice centres, volunteer development, ESOL provision, standard work to improve employability skills, refuges, hostels, night shelters and standard services for homeless people, sports associations, playgroups, play schemes, out of school clubs, supplementary schools, playgroups, youth clubs and general capacity building/ professional development.


What is the relative, practical impact of your work? 
 

With limited funds, we need to make the most effective use of our money. We have to make judgements about the relative impact of each grant we make, based on the depth of the effect on individuals or organisations, and the breadth of its wider impact on the issue or geographic area. We don’t fund one-off events, or short-term programmes. We do not fund academic research unless the plans and partnerships are in place to deliver a practical impact as a result of its findings.


Is your work designed to have wider benefits?

We only fund work that is designed to have wider benefits – beyond the direct participants and the life of a project. We try to fund work which tackles root cases: which uncovers a need or prevents it from happening in future. Or work which sets out to change future thinking and practice more widely – from art forms, to public opinion, to government policy. For example, individual case work might make a real difference to young refugees, but unless it also sets out to have a lasting and wider influence beyond those young refugees, we won’t fund it.


Can you provide evidence of the difference you have made so far?

We need to see that organisations are best placed to provide the work they do. Evidence of past impact, and how you’ve learned from it, helps us to make this judgement. If your organisation is new, we need to see that your plans are based on sound evidence or learning from elsewhere.


Cumbria Action for Sustainability


Can you tell us everything we need to know to make an informed decision? 
 

Your application will need to be specific about the proposed work, the beneficiaries, the organisation’s track record and partnerships to reach our second stage. Please ensure you have read through what we fund, our application guidance and FAQs before deciding whether to apply.


Can you demonstrate you have the track record to successfully deliver the work?

We need to see that organisations are best placed to provide the work they do. If your organisation is new, we need to see evidence that you have the right people, partnerships and processes in place.


Is there a geographic case for your work?
 

We try and give priority to work in parts of the UK with limited access to resource and opportunities. These areas might be experiencing geographic isolation, high levels of deprivation, social and/or economic disadvantage.


Because of the high number of applications we receive, we aren't yet able to provide individual tailored feedback for applications declined at first stage.  Feedback is available for applications declined at second stage.