Top 7 ways to speed up your search for fundraising grants in the UK

Top 7 ways to speed up your search for fundraising grants in the UK

Blog post

with Esme, founder of Considered Capital

Top 7 ways to speed up your search for fundraising grants in the UK

with Esme founder of Considered Capital

Firstly, what exactly is 'grant funding', and what should we look for?

Simply put, a ‘grant’ is money awarded to an individual or an organisation. Various organisations offer grants, including governments, public institutions, or other grantmakers such as foundations or NGOs. Most of these organisations won't ask for anything in return for grant funding, so this fundraising method won't dilute your equity (read about other types of funding here)

 

Grant organisations are many and varied and support organisations across different sectors, stages, and locations. It’s good to be sure you're applying for a grant that truly applies to you to save you from falling into 'the application rabbit hole' that many founders find themselves in (trust us, we've been there, too 🕳️🐇).

 

Here are some of the common eligibility factors you might need to consider

 

  • Legal status: Some grants are very specifically designed for charities, while others are broader, e.g. for-profit companies or social enterprises 

 

  • Location: When searching for grants, it's crucial to pay attention to the location as most grants target a specific area of jurisdiction

 

  • Sector-specific: some grants target particular industries, research fields, or social causes

 

  • Amount: Grant sizes can range from small sums to millions of pounds depending on the funder and purpose

 

  • Years active: Many grants require at least 1-2 years of operation, while others will only fund new organisations

 

  • What they will fund: Always carefully read the grant description to ensure your needs align with what the funder is willing to support. Some grants are very specific on what you can spend the funding on (e.g. 'only funding equipment purchases'), while others are more flexible.

 

Secondly, the wide variety of grants available can make searching time-consuming and frustrating. We've compiled a list of some of the most common paths founders use to speed up their search for grants.

 

Social Media Post

1. Social Media

Following foundations, trusts, and fundraising experts on platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn:

 

✅ UPSIDE

  • Receive up-to-date information on new grant opportunities as soon as they're announced.

 

⬇️ DOWNSIDE

  • Regularly checking social media and curating your newsfeed can be time-consuming
  • Information is often outdated or inaccurate, and you can miss important deadlines.

 

💡 BONUS TIP

Following our founder Esme Verity on LinkedIn means you'll see a handful of fundraising opportunities for free when she shares them with her followers

 

2. Subscribing to newsletters

Signing up for emails and alerts from relevant organisations:

 

✅ UPSIDE

  • Some newsletters compile information from multiple sources, exposing you to more opportunities across sectors and organisations 
  • Getting updates delivered directly to your inbox can save time and energy

 

⬇️ DOWNSIDE

  • Subscribing to multiple newsletters can be overwhelming and clutter your inbox
  • Most newsletters don't provide enough details about eligibility, so you still need to do a lot of your own research

 

💡 BONUS TIP

Our Considered Club newsletter is free to sign up for and releases a few funding opportunities every fortnight. It's an excellent place to begin, but it's worth noting that even though these opportunities are up-to-date and curated for impact-focused/wonky-shaped businesses, these are just a few of the many grant funding opportunities out there.

 

3. Government websites

Regularly checking national and local government sites for funding opportunities:

 

✅ UPSIDE

  • Receive up-to-date information on new grant opportunities straight from the source 
  • New grants are added frequently, and old ones removed 

 

⬇️ DOWNSIDE

  • Relying solely on government websites might cause you to miss grants offered by other organisations 

 

💡 BONUS TIP

Here are some links to government websites in the UK to get you started

  • Find a grant - HMRC list of UK Government Grants 
  • Innovate UK - Search current funding opportunities from across UKRI, research councils and Innovate UK 

 

Considered Directory

4. Free online directories & databases

Directories that aggregate and list grant opportunities from multiple sources: 

 

✅ UPSIDE

  • Most grant databases allow you to filter by basic eligibility criteria such as location, sector and amount

 

⬇️ DOWNSIDE

  • Typically, free grant databases are not updated regularly and do not highlight opportunities that you can apply for right now
  • Often, they offer up basic information but do not provide the details you need to figure out if a particular grant is a good fit
  • Usually, they are sector or location-specific, so don't speak to all the different sectors across the UK

 

💡 BONUS TIP

Our Considered Directory is free to download and is full of links to non-dilutive funding opportunities for you and your business. It's a great place to start finding grants, but it won't show you what opportunities are open now.

 

 

5. Pay someone to help you find grants

You can hire grant writers, agencies or interns to do your grant search:

 

✅ UPSIDE

  • Time-saving, freeing you up to focus on other things 
  • Professional grant writers may uncover grants you have missed by offering a personalised service 

 

⬇️ DOWNSIDE

  • Expensive, especially for smaller organisations or single founders with limited budgets 
  • Likely, they won't understand your business in the same way you do, and because of this, they may not highlight the best opportunities 

 

Networking

6. Networking

Attend events, join networks, or contact local support organisations, as they may have information on available grants and can provide guidance:

 

✅ UPSIDE

  • Often free or low-cost compared to paying someone directly 
  • Uncover opportunities you might not find through formal channels

 

⬇️ DOWNSIDE

  • Building and maintaining networks requires time and effort 
  • Others in your network may be competing for the same grants, so you might not hear about every opportunity

7. Live Funding Database

A brand new database curated by the team at Considered Capital made for impact-focused founders and organisations

 

✅ UPSIDE

  • Serves up all the grants, prizes, and accelerators open to you right now in the UK that are actively taking applications 
  • Actual humans behind it ("hi there!") whose sole job is to do your fundraising searches for you, updating the database regularly and removing opportunities once closed
  • It's curated with care for impact-focused/'wonky-shaped' organisations
  • Email reminders so you don't miss opportunities and deadlines
  • Super speedy to identify relevant opportunities by giving you in-depth profiles for each opportunity and allowing you to filter by location, funding amount, funding type, sector and legal structure of your business
  • Comes with exclusive access to a WhatsApp group to ask questions and get regular updates on new opportunities (plus a group of lovely likeminded people to champion you through your wins and funding challenges)
  • Includes exclusive access to a 'funding focus session' to use the power of virtual co-working with others to stay focused on funding and beat distraction

 

⬇️ DOWNSIDE

  • We charge a subscription to access the Live Funding Database. This is used to pay our team fairly so that they can maintain and update the Database regularly. 

 

💡 BONUS TIP

Want to explore the Live Funding Database? Sign up here before the 8th July 2024 to be the first 50 founders offered access and get 20% off during launch week. If you're reading this after the 8th July 2024, you can join the waitlist to be part of the next batch of founders given access (it's being rolled out slowly to ensure it's created with care to include iteration and feedback from a small community of founders)

 

Ways we can support you on your fundraising journey

If you're ready to find your fundraising confidence, then we provide products and programmes to support you along the way. Check out our current offerings below.

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