Our approach to funding
Learn more about how we work and what to expect if you apply to us — this includes our approach to revenue, capital and core costs, the amounts we can give, and timescales
What’s included on this page:
This year, we will give more than £30m to organisations that are working for a fairer, greener London. While most of the support we give is financial – in the form of project grants and core grants – we also seek to amplify our impact by offering help via our knowledge, networks and platforms.
Our vision, mission and values
- Our vision is for London to be a city where all individuals and communities can thrive
- Our mission is to reduce inequality and grow stronger, more resilient and thriving communities for a London that serves everyone
- Our values are to be; progressive, adaptive, collaborative, inclusive, environmentally responsible and representative in all our work
We have two overarching priorities to:
enable voice and representation for people who are disadvantaged
We know it takes charities considerable time and effort to apply for funding, so we’ve streamlined our application processes as far as possible and we strive to be open and swift in all our responses to applicants. We take decisions on all applications as quickly as we can and – on request – will provide feedback on any that we reject.
How we approach our funding
- We aim to make our application process easy and accessible
- We aim to be clear about what we can and what we can’t fund
- If we cannot or will not fund something, we will explain why (and do so quickly)
- We seek to fund work which challenges and improves the power dynamics in the voluntary and community sector (including how we address the imbalance of power between funders and funded organisation)
- We fund work which demonstrates an appreciation of the value of equity and work which supports organisations to grow internal diversity and inclusion in the sector — all funded work must demonstrate this understanding, as a minimum
- We design programmes and seek to fund work which embodies our own learning ethos
- We acknowledge the value of and champion lived experience and expertise of those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation, and ensure we publicise this
- We seek to take an intersectional approach in our work because we recognise that issues of inequality and disadvantage are complex and frequently inter-related
- We support work which has the potential to allow organisations to grow their own approach to learning
- Funding is awarded in support of our vision, our mission, our values and our Bridging Divides strategy
- We look to make decisions quickly
- Wherever appropriate, we look to fund with others
- We augment our funding with resources elsewhere across the organisation and the City of London Corporation (our total assets approach), including related work on philanthropy, strategic communications and social investment
- We use research and evidence in our funding decisions
- We cover the costs necessary to deliver the work being funded
- We look to minimise restrictions on our funding wherever possible
- We look to support funded organisations over the long term
- We are clear about where funding decisions are taken and who takes them
- We are transparent not only about the funding decisions we take, but also the basis on which we take them
- We act to ensure safeguarding is in place with all funded work
- We cover costs in advance
- Where relevant, we look to support those organisations we fund to become more financially and environmentally sustainable during their funding relationship with us
- We work with funded organisations to think about how the funding relationship will end and what the organisation will do next
- We offer a range of funding types and terms, we always take a flexible approach
- We review our funding practice on a regular basis, using our learning to inform our funding approach
- We use our convening power to continue building networks
Our funding principles
We aim to provide an excellent service to the organisations we fund and to those who seek our funding
We look to make continuous improvements to the ways we engage with applicants and funded organisations
We recognise our power and privilege, and we take steps to ensure that our approach is equitable
We ensure that the voices of Londoners and London’s communities are centred in all our work
Equity is at the heart of our grant making and we only fund work which can demonstrate expertise in this area or a strong desire to improve (as part of the funded work itself)
We have a learning ethos — whilst the overarching strategic direction of Bridging Divides may not change, its implementation varies greatly over time in response to learning and the changing context
We seek feedback from applicants and funded organisations so we can learn and improve
We share our learning with others
Wherever possible, we seek to work across sectors and harness the capabilities and skills of business and statutory bodies
We leverage wider networks, knowledge, and funding towards solving the problems we address
We monitor progress against our Bridging Divides strategy, and we publish details of our progress
We always act in an environmentally responsible way
About our funding: revenue, capital and core costs, how much we give and timescales
We can offer a range of different funding, including grants for:
Revenue costs: where we cover a project’s direct running costs, such as salaries, space or equipment hire, stationery (as well as related overheads, following a full cost recovery approach)
Capital costs: where we cover a project or organisation’s renovation of a building (some other capital costs, such as equipment, may also be covered under revenue costs, if they relate to a specific project).
Core costs: where we cover an organisation’s operating costs which are not related to specific, distinct projects, but which are related to the overall overheads of the organisation – this could include fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, communications, digital innovation and more.
We recognise that core costs are incurred in the delivery of good services and are willing to consider funding these costs, provided the work supported meets our priorities and you can demonstrate the costs cannot be found elsewhere.
You can also apply entirely for core cost funding in relation to elements of your organisation’s work which meet our funding priorities. For example, for a community centre which has five areas of work, only one of which meets our criteria, only the core costs relating to that particular area of work can be considered.
It is our standard approach to encourage a full cost recovery approach to budgeting, which means that applicants should submit applications which include the entire costs of the work to be undertaken, not just the direct costs. This includes the costs of management and leadership posts not directly working on the project but supporting the staff who do (at a sensible %), overheads such as heating, lighting rent etc of the overarching charity, and other relevant costs.
There is no minimum or maximum limit to how much we will give. The smallest grant we’ve ever given is £1000, the largest is £10m.
Each grant is awarded based on a thorough assessment of your application and supporting documents, undertaken by our experienced assessment staff.
In most cases we will discuss any questions we have at an assessment meeting, which will be held in person at the applicant’s premises.
We usually don’t award revenue funding exceeding 50% of the applicant charity’s turnover/income in any one year and usually will only support salaries at up to one full time equivalent role (other project costs can be added to this).
Each application is judged on its merits, with no automatic advantage nor penalty if your project or charity already has funding in place from another trust or foundation.
In most of our grant programmes we accept applications on a rolling basis. If there is a deadline for a specific programme this will be made clear.
Application turnaround times vary according to application volumes and staff capacity. We are currently experiencing delays to our usual turnaround time of four to six months, due to key staff turnover, and a considerable increase in the number of incoming applications.
We are working hard to process as many applications as quickly as possible, but please plan on the basis of a decision taking seven months. We are working to reduce this turnaround time and will post further updates here. Thank you for your patience.
A trusted partner to the sector
We see civil society organisations as crucial and trusted partners in our work to build a fairer, greener London. To accelerate progress towards that goal we are committed to:
- publishing all our data, learning and resources: sharing knowledge of what works, and gaps in provision
- actively looking for ways to use our voice and platform to raise awareness of the issues confronting London, impactful solutions, and to advocate for broader, systemic change
- amplifying the voices of others, including our funded organisations
- building relationships of trust and dialogue with funded organisations – encouraging the free flow of knowledge, insight and expertise for the duration of every funding partnership to accelerate impact
- the principles set out in the Flexible Funders pledge
Non-financial support and additional benefits
Our support goes beyond funding. We use our people, networks and experience to bolster our financial support to include the giving of skills, time and talent to deliver our mission.Learn more about our support beyond funding