8 top tips for applying for charitable grants if you are in need

Charitable trusts and grants come in all shapes and sizes.  Turn 2 Us estimate that there are over 3,000 grant-giving charities available in the UK, distributing £288 million in grants and services to individuals in need every year.

If you qualify for assistance, charitable funds can help by providing funding or grants that do not need to be paid back. Other trusts may award vouchers, pieces of equipment or holidays.

Each fund follows their own direction and sets their own criteria. This means that getting grant funding involves a bit of ground-work. Here we share our top tips on how to help your application succeed.

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1. Know where to check for relevant grants

If you’re looking for grant funding, you will need a starting point. The Disability Information Scotland helpline team can assist you with this. Our website has some handy info guides: Grants and support for individuals and Holiday and Respite Grants.  You can also search for money (grants and trusts) on the Scottish Disability Directory.

If you are looking for a further info, try a search on Turn2us and Disability Grants Search

2. Research funders relevant to your situation or background

Look for charitable trusts looking to support people in your situation. Many charities related to specific health conditions offer some financial assistance or grants.

For instance, the MS Society or the Stroke Association.

Consider your background and any previous occupations. Many large employers, Trade Associations, Professional Bodies and Trade Unions have benevolent funds which are open to applications from ex-employees and their dependents.

For example, members of the armed forces or veterans may be eligible for help from The British Legion or SSAFA.

Some charitable trusts and funders are specifically set up to assist families, so have a think about how your family situation might be relevant.

For example, the Family Fund give grants to families raising disabled and seriously ill children aged 17 and under.

Think about local grants providers in your area or grants aimed at people in your age group.

3. Read (and then re-read) the eligibility rules

It’s important to have a good understanding of what can be funded and who is eligible for support. Take a look at the funder’s priorities. Think about what you want funding for and if it meets the criteria.

Example: our helpline team often get asked about funding towards a specialist piece of disability equipment. Look for funders who prioritise supporting people to live independently.

4. Talk it over

If the charitable fund says that they can offer help and advice then get in touch.  If you’re not sure about whether you are eligible for help, it’s always better to ask before submitting an application if this is possible. Many funds rely on volunteers to deal with applications so be patient if you don’t hear back straight away.

Example: if uncertain, contact the funder to ask about their current funding priorities and the sort of information they’d expect you to include in your application.  

5. Be clear about what you are looking to fund

When applying, make sure that what you are asking for is easy to understand. State clearly what you want fund. Make clear who you are requesting a grant for (yourself or on behalf of a friend, relative, client etc.). Be clear about the amount of money needed and let the funder know if you are looking for a contribution towards the costs or the full amount.

Example: “I am writing (on behalf of…) to ask for grant funding to help towards (adapting my home / paying for a respite break / purchasing a mobility scooter). The required amount of funding is…) 

6. Be clear about why you need funding

State clearly why

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