The most popular question by far is around eligibility for our grants. The important thing to remember here is that our trustees will normally only consider funding capital and equipment costs, and not running costs and salaries (with the exception of our Hope Beyond programme). . You must also be a registered charity to apply and it’s important that your organisation, and not just your project, has strong Christian links (and that you make that clear on your form!)
People are often unsure whether it’s okay to apply if their project or repair is already underway, and the answer is yes. The trustees normally won’t award retrospective funding though, and it usually takes between three and six months between the time you apply and the cheque hitting your doormat, so the best advice is to get your application in as early as you can.
Having said that, it’s also important to take your time in tailoring your application to our funding criteria and our charity’s objects, and providing all of the information we need up front. There are a number of the sections on the website that can help here, and I’d recommend having a read of the ‘About’, ‘What We Fund’ and ‘How To Apply’ pages, particularly the FAQs, before picking up the phone.
I often get asked how much our grant would be if an applicant is successful, and that’s trickier to answer than you might think. The final figure is entirely at the discretion of the trustees, but it’s worth highlighting that the Trust likes to say yes to as many eligible applications as possible, so, for most of our programmes, (with the exception of Growing Lives and Hope Beyond) the percentage of project cost funded through a grant is normally quite low.
The uplift we apply for levels of deprivation in the community can make a big difference though, and minimum grant amounts for varying project costs often mean applicants are pleasantly surprised by their final award. What we hear time and time again is that a Benefact Trust grant and our help with publicising it has been the catalyst for further fundraising - our show of faith in a project often encourages other funders to get on board.
Here’s a top tip for maximising your grant award…Because our grant awards are based on a percentage of project cost, and you have to wait two years until you can apply from another grant from us if you have been successful, it’s important to give us the overall, likely final cost of your project, and not just the costs for phase one.
A requirement of our application form is to provide a high level project budget. Quite a few people ask me about the detail needed here, and essentially, what the trustees need to see is what the basic breakdown of costs will be for your project, as grant amount calculations are generally based on a percentage of capital and equipment costs only (because we don’t fund salaries or running costs).
We’re often complimented on the simplicity (and shorter length!) of our online form compared to those from other funders, but like any online software, it has its foibles. People sometimes get frustrated when they are adding costs into the fields and the computer says no! Top tip: use whole numbers only and delete commas or any other punctuation – the software doesn’t like them!
People sometimes struggle to upload their photos to the form too, and there’s a requirement to submit at least one. Please don’t give up and send us a lower quality photo just because it is under the 3MB limit; your good quality photos are so helpful to us in publicising your project and your grant. We’ve produced a separate resource that will help you upload your best photos to the form.
And finally…and it really is the final step (!), the one thing potential beneficiaries struggle with the most is actually submitting their online form when they have finished completing it. Top tip: click the review button and then scroll right down to the bottom of the form, checking it as you go. When you get to the end, the submit button will appear as the software recognises you have reviewed your form. Click submit, then sit back and relax – we’ll do the rest!