Guidance & Resources

New to applying for funding, or want a refresher? Start here.

We have a thorough grants process to ensure that funds can go to organisations and projects which will have the greatest impact on our local communities.

Check out below our step-by-step guide to explain this process, including whether you are eligible to receive a grant, how to apply, and how funding decisions are made, as well as our helpful tips video for getting the most out of your application.

Follow our step-by-step guide

Step 1: Check your organisation’s structure is eligible to receive funding from us

We make grants to a wide range of constituted voluntary and community organisations based in, or clearly operating in Norfolk. We will generally consider applications from the following types of groups:

  • Registered charities/charitable incorporated organisations
  • Community interest companies, companies limited by guarantee or other social enterprises. Please read additional guidance here
  • Unincorporated associations
  • Parish/ Town Councils where the project is clearly of wide community benefit, such as a play area or community buildings
  • Community benefit societies
  • Community amateur sports clubs
  • Churches and other faith organisations for inclusive community activities that do not promote religious beliefs
  • Schools – we occasionally have limited opportunities for schools to apply for activities taking place outside of the curriculum. Schools can check our available funds page to see if we currently have any suitable opportunities
  • Individuals – we have limited funding opportunities for individuals. You can view these opportunities here

If you are unsure whether your group is eligible, please contact us for advice before you begin an application.

Step 2: Check you meet our good governance criteria

To apply for a grant, your group must have:

  • A governing document (a constitution, rules, articles of association etc.) that shows how your group is managed, states your charitable aims/benefit to the community and includes a charitable dissolution clause. Note: This is not applicable for faith groups (which are exempted from charity registration) or parish/town councils.
  • A governing body with at least 3 unconnected individuals. This means not connected by blood, marriage, in a long-term relationship or living at the same address.
  • A bank account in the group’s name with at least two unconnected signatories. If you do not meet this requirement but have additional internal controls in place, we may be able to consider an application if your request is for less than £5,000. Please speak to us about this before beginning your application.
  • Annual accounts if you have been operating for over 12 months. This does not have to be every transaction, but should show your income, expenditure, free reserves and a balance sheet.
  • A bank statement to verify your group’s bank details. This should be from within the last 12 months and include the group’s name, sort code and bank account number on the statement.
  • A safeguarding policy, outlining what steps will be taken to safeguard children and vulnerable adults under your care to include recruitment processes, training, and procedures for reporting. This should be reviewed regularly and include a named safeguarding lead. Click here for guidance on what we expect your safeguarding policy to include.
  • An equal opportunities policy or statement that sets out your organisation’s approach to inclusivity and diversity for staff, volunteers and those accessing your services/activities.  This should contain a clear anti-discrimination statement and refer to the protected groups included in the Equality Act 2010.

Step 3: Check your proposed project is fundable

In general, our funds support activities that address a recognised need or disadvantage in a community. In most cases, funding can be used for running costs, equipment or capital costs.

We cannot fund the following:

  • Reimbursement (funding activities that have already taken place)
  • Projects primarily benefitting people outside of Norfolk
  • Contributions to general appeals
  • Development to land/buildings which the applicant does not have a legal interest in
  • The costs associated with applying for planning permission
  • Activities solely supporting animal welfare
  • Activities solely supporting religious/political activity
  • Medical research and equipment
  • In-school activities that take place in curriculum/ classroom time
  • We are unlikely to fund schools-based projects mainly benefiting students and teachers that do not benefit the wider community outside of the school

Step 4: Look at our open grants

Look at the grants that we have available here. Each grant will detail its specific criteria and deadline. If you do not see a fund that is right for you, please sign up for our Grants Newsletter which will alert you to new opportunities. Our team will also be happy to advise you on available grants so please contact us if you need help choosing a fund.

Step 5: Submit your online application

After identifying the grant you want to apply for, select ‘apply online’ at the bottom of that fund’s webpage to take you to the online application form. If you are unable to apply online, please contact us and we will be able to assist.

For tips on making your application stand out, watch our video at the bottom of this page.  When you’re happy with your application and have attached your supporting documents, click submit. Please note: it may take up to 6 weeks to be informed of the outcome of your application, so please bear this in mind when planning your project start date.

Izzy talks to visitors at the Royal Norfolk Show. Izzy stands in front of a yellow food bus and engages three people while smiling.

Step 6: Our team will review your application

Our skilled programmes team will review your application to assess the suitability of your project for the fund you are applying to and carry out all necessary governance checks. We may contact you if we need further information.

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Step 7: Decisions and notification of outcome

A fund panel, often referred to as a grants panel, will meet to discuss and make decisions on the applications. Norfolk Community Foundation funds have a variety of panels, though all are usually formed from the donor/fundholder and those they invite to participate in making funding decisions. This may include family members, staff, tenants, residents or any other partners or associates who have agreed to participate in grant making.

We work with our panels to ensure that panel members:

  • Understand their responsibilities and commit to making timely decisions.
  • Can demonstrate a working knowledge and genuine interest in issues that affect people living in Norfolk.
  • Prepare for each panel meeting by reading the application summaries provided by the Foundation and carefully considering each application.
  • Use their backgrounds, skills, and experiences to participate in effective and fair decision making.
  • Make decisions on the basis of objective assessment and respect for all groups and individuals, in accordance with the Foundation’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion policy.

A member of the the Foundation team will work alongside the panel to help provide additional insight and guidance, to support their decision making. The Foundation staff member is typically in a supporting role only and is not a decision-making member of the panel, but can be on request.

Offer letters or emails will be sent out to successful applicants as soon as the panel have decided. Unsuccessful applicants will also be notified, along with any feedback to help with your next application. Funds for successful applicants will be paid within a week of notification of outcome, via bank transfer.

Benjamin Foundation

Step 8: Keeping in touch

The arrangements for updating us on your project will be detailed in your grant offer. Typically, we ask for a progress update at 6 months, and an end of project update, which is usually after 12 months (unless you inform us of an earlier completion). We love to hear from groups at any time though, and we are always keen to hear news and receive invitations to events so we can see your work in action. Feel free to share your grants updates on social media, with help from our how to publicise your grant page. We know that things don’t always go to plan, though, so don’t worry if things aren’t on track. Please give us a call if you are concerned about the progress of your project.

We wish you the best of luck with your project. Whether you were successful or not in receiving funding this time, you are welcome to apply again for funding from us in the future. We look forward to receiving your next application!

Want some tips for getting the most out of your application?

Whether you’re new to applying for a grant or if you’ve applied to us before, check out our video on the top 10 tips for making a great application. From giving advice on the key points to consider before starting your project to the best way to explain the impact of your work, our helpful video guide gives you the information you need to increase your chances of being approved for a grant.

Unsure of anything or want to talk it through in advance of submitting an application? Give us a call, send us an email or book a 1:1 online session with a member of the team and we’ll be happy to talk.