Five trust funds for small non-profit organisations

  • Trust funding can support your core costs, a salary, equipment or a new project
  • Competition for funding can be intense. Trusts receive many more applications than they can fund, so you need to research which funders fit your needs
  • We look at five types of trusts who support non-profit organisations

1. Local grants

A quick and easy way to identify local trust funds is through a community foundation. Community foundations support individuals, families, companies, charitable trusts and public sector bodies who want to invest in their local community.

Community foundations focus on supporting local organisations and grassroots projects.

There are 48 community foundations across the UK, each with its own grant making programme. The governing body UK Community Foundations has an interactive map to help you find your local one. The average grant awarded by a community foundation in the UK is £3,200.

Gladrags Community Costume Resource received a grant of £4,765 from the Marit and Hans Rausing Trust to support workshops for children aged between eight and 11. This grant is managed by the Sussex Community Foundation.

2. Support for urban and rural communities

Many grassroots organisations exist to make a difference in areas of deprivation. The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation gives grants to small and medium-sized established organisations who deal with urban deprivation and issues faced by rural communities.

Applications are welcomed from community interest companies (CICs), social enterprises, non-profit companies and voluntary associations in the UK.

Applications have to sit under one of three themes:

  • Community support
  • Disability and health care
  • Arts, education and heritage

Organisations with an annual income of under £500k can apply for:

  • Fast track application grants of up to £5,000
  • Small grants for up to £9,999

The grants are available for one year of running costs (including salaries), project costs, capital costs (such as equipment purchases or building improvements), adaptions or new builds.

Decisions for the fast track applications are made within eight weeks. For the other grants the trustees meet throughout the year. Details are available on the website.

The funder also has specific funding streams for hospices and a larger grant scheme for organisations with an income of up to £5m.

For more information, guidelines and an application form visit the Trusthouse website.

3. Development funds

Small non-profits are often presented with exciting opportunities, but lack the infrastructure or resources needed to take the next step. The Golden Bottle Trust and the Bulldog Trust Funding Initiative provides grants that enable charities to take a step forward in their development and do something they were not able to do before.

It supports any non-profit groups in the UK and provides criteria free grants of £1,000- £30,000 intended to really make a difference to the organisation that receives them.

Examples include:

  • Extending the reach of an existing offering
  • Creating a new strand of work that strengthens sustainability
  • Developing new partnerships
  • Simply becoming more organised within their own operations

Yes Futures received a grant in October 2014 to fund a Programmes Officer role for 12 months. The charity specialises in extra-curricular personal development programmes, improving young people’s confidence, resilience and access to successful futures.

For more information on how to apply and examples of previous successful applicants, visit the Golden Bottle Trust and the Bulldog Trust Funding Initiative website.

4. Grants to make a significant difference

The Foyle Foundation delivers a Small Grants Scheme for small community organisations with an annual income of under £100,000. It provide grants of £1,000- £10,000 to cover core costs, projects and equipment.

Applicants must show that a grant will make a significant difference and explain plans for sustaining activity after the grant finishes as no multi-year grants are made.

The Foyle Foundation also operates a Main Grants Scheme for registered charities whose dominating focus is the arts or learning. The size of the Arts Main Grants Scheme ranges from £15k to £200k.

Full grant guidelines and an application form are available on the Foyle Foundation website. Application decisions take around four months.

5. Flexible funding

Are you a community-led organisation? The Tudor Trust supports any non-profit organisation in the UK with a turnover of less than £1m. The trust does not have specific funding programmes, instead it looks for specific characteristics and provides flexible funding.

Some examples of the characteristics it is looking for are:

  • Organisations working directly with people who are at the margins of society
  • A focus on building stronger communities by overcoming isolation and fragmentation and encouraging inclusion, connection and integration
  • Organisations that are embedded in their community and can identify and channel the potential within that community – whether local or a ‘community of interest’
  • Organisations that can demonstrate that they listen to and are responsive to their users
  • Organisations that are thoughtful in their use of resources and foster community resilience in the face of environmental, economic or social change

The Bliston Resource Centre was awarded a one-off grant of £35k for equipment for its training centre in a former steelworks area in the West Midlands following an extension of the building.

Take a look at the trust’s website to also find our about projects it doesn’t fund.