Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Can I apply as an individual?

No, the LEF does not provide funding or bursaries for individuals.

How much can we apply for?

Please apply for the amount you need to deliver the proposed work effectively. The average grant size is £164,000. Grants have ranged from £20,000 (single year) to over £500,000 (over three years).

Can I apply for a grant for multiple years? If so, how many can I apply for?

Yes, the LEF does fund projects over multiple years (up to three years). You will be asked for the duration of your project when completing the application form. Please apply for the length of time you need to deliver the proposed work.

Do you fund new, early-stage or pilot initiatives?

We do, and this will depend on to what extent this new activity is sustainable for the organisation. If an organisation seeks to develop a new strand of work, we are likely to ask what scoping has been done that demonstrates the need for this and the additional capacity the organisation would need to deliver it. In some cases, we might suggest starting with a smaller scoping grant before encouraging a full application.

If an organisation is very new then other funders may be more able to provide the wraparound support needed for a brand-new project.

What is the size range of organisations that you fund? Are there turnover or staff upper limits?

We don’t have any set limits and have funded multimillion pound organisations and very small, new organisations. Most organisations we fund are medium-sized, between £250k to £1 million.

We do take turnover into consideration when looking at how much would be a helpful amount of money to an organisation. When an organisation is very large, we might not prioritise them because of the other sources of funding open to them. When an organisation is small, we might take into account the proportion of their turnover that our funding would be contributing.

Does the age or size of the organisation influence the size of the grant they might receive?

Yes, if an organisation is very small then we will consider what would be the most helpful grant size to allow for sustainable growth. But that doesn’t mean that we always make large grants to large organisations; we will sometimes make a small grant to a large organisation in order for them to do something specific.

Organisations are asked to indicate the size of the requested grant in their first stage application. If invited to submit a second stage application, you will have a conversation with someone from the grants team about your application which will cover whether the size of the grant request should be adjusted .

Does LEF provide core costs or unrestricted funding?

Yes, we can fund core costs, which can include staffing, volunteer expenses, consultancy, travel, venue hire and a reasonable contribution to overheads.

We also increasingly look to provide unrestricted funding where we can. This would depend on the overall aims and goals of your organisation and whether they align with the objectives of our Stronger Sector or Fairer Systems programmes.

I already have a grant from the LEF. Can I apply for another?

Yes, we can make multiple grants to one organisation. If you would like to apply for additional funding, please ask advice from your Grants Manager in the first instance.

Our current funding is coming to an end. Can we apply for continuation funding?

Yes. If you would like to apply for continuation funding, please ask advice from your Grants Manager. Please note that the application process will usually be the same for continuation funding so it may take up to five months from deadline to decision.

Do you have any tips for the first stage application?

We recommend focusing on telling us about the difference that you’ve made and where you feel you’ve made change and progress, as well as the experience and connections you’re bringing to the issue you’re working on. It’s also really helpful for us to know where your organisation sits within the wider ecosystem that you work in and who your key partner organisations are.

It’s less useful for us to know about awards or prizes that your organisation has won.

I’m having trouble entering text into the online form. What can I do?

Sometimes data can be lost before you have saved your answers. We advise you to prepare your content beforehand using an offline plain text editor, such as Notepad (for Windows) or TextEdit (for Mac). These editors allow you to check the character count. Microsoft Word can lead to issues where the text will not fit into the box even when the character count is correct.

If you are having difficulty submitting the online form, please get in touch with us using our Contact Form.

Can we post, fax or email you our funding proposal?

We only accept applications submitted via our online process. However, if you are having difficulty submitting the online form, please get in touch with us using our Contact Form.

What happens after we submit our first stage application?

You will receive an automatic acknowledgement by email when you have submitted your first stage application. It is then passed to a member of our grants team for assessment.

Our grants team then meet to discuss all of the applications received and decide which ones have the closest fit with our funding programmes and priorities (see How we prioritise applications). We’ll let you know whether we are inviting you to submit a second-stage application within four weeks of the closing date.

You can find out more about our application and decision process on our How to apply for a grant page.

What kind of information will you need at second stage?

If you are invited to apply to the second stage, we will ask you more about:

  • Your organisation, including your Board and staff; planned income and expenditure in the current financial year; and your approach to quality control.
  • What you would like LEF funding for, including the problem you are trying to solve, further detail on your planned approach, what difference you hope to make and how you would learn from your work.

Second stage applications are decided by our Grants Committee, made up of members from our Board of Trustees.

How likely is my application to be successful?

Overall, just over half of all first stage applications are invited to submit a second stage application and just under 40% of all applications are successful. However, this does vary with each round and is dependent on the number and size of applications we receive. You will be able to request feedback regardless of the outcome of your application.

Do you provide feedback on why applications are rejected?

Yes, we do. We recognise how much work goes into applying for funding, and if your application is rejected, the email will include the main reason(s) we were unable to support your work. You may also phone us for further feedback.


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