Before applying (essential information)
What to think about before you apply
What should an organisation think about before applying?
Here are some things you should consider:
- Is there a clear need for your activity?
- Do you have the ability to effectively provide the activity?
- Does your organisation have an appropriate structure to apply for a grant? For organisational development support please contact the organisations listed in the Other Help and Support section.
- Are there any other organisations already providing the activity/service that you could work with?
What is Quartet Community Foundation looking for in a grant application?
Your application must meet the criteria for the specific grant programme you are applying to. Here are some of the common features that we will be looking for in any grant application we receive.
- What consultation you have done with your target beneficiaries to establish the activity is needed and wanted.
- If appropriate, what contact you have had with other relevant community groups, charities or organisations and how this has helped to establish the need for your organisation’s activity.
- If appropriate, what relevant social studies you have used to demonstrate the need for your activity. Please take a look at the Community Foundation’s Vital Signs Report which presents a concise analysis of social needs in our region.
- A clear description of what you would like to do with the grant.
- A clear description of who will benefit from your activity and how they will benefit.
- Details of who will coordinate and deliver the activity.
- Details of what relevant expertise, experience, knowledge or resources your group has that will enable you to effectively provide the activity.
- Details of how your group intend to record or measure the benefit of your activity.
- If your activity is addressing an ongoing need, details of how your group or activity will address the ongoing need once the grant has been spent, e.g. sign posting group’s to other activities, the continuation of the activity using other sources of funding.
Can individuals apply?
A small number of specific grant programmes can award grants to individuals but the majority of our grant programmes award grants only to organisations with charitable purposes.
Which types of organisation can apply?
Grants are awarded to organisations with charitable aims based and working in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire (though each grants programme may have its own eligibility criteria). Your group does not have to be a registered charity but must have charitable aims together with the following:
- A management committee/board of trustees/board of directors with at least 3 members, and the majority should be unrelated. Companies must have 3 directors registered with Companies House.
- A written constitution/set of rules that sets out the purpose of your organisation and how it is managed.
- A copy of your most recent annual accounts or financial records that show your organisation’s balance of funds, income and expenditure. If you do not have financial records that cover a full year then you will need to provide what records you have currently.
- A bank account in the name of the organisation with at least two signatories. If your organisation is struggling to set-up a bank account, consider talking to your local credit union about creating a bank account for your group: https://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/
- Your safeguarding policy. To read more about safeguarding requirements please see below.
Can schools apply?
Quartet Community Foundation (QCF) will only award funding for school based activities which are outside the scope of statutory provision. QCF will not generally make grants for purchases or activities which fall within an existing statutorily funded budget, even where that budget may be insufficient to fund the school’s ambitions.
Can faith based organisations apply?
Whilst promotion of any religion is not an activity which will receive grant funding from Quartet Community Foundation, faith based organisations may still be funded provided that the grant benefits the wider community and is not intended to influence people’s religious choices or to promote a particular belief system.
Can national organisations apply?
Quartet Community Foundation gives priority to small, local organisations whose work benefits people in the West of England. However, national charities with a base in the area and a significant local presence can apply if the grant will benefit local people.
Is there a restriction on the size of income or financial reserves of applicant organisations?
For the majority of Quartet Community Foundation’s grant programmes an organisation’s income and level of financial reserves will be taken into consideration. If your organisation is holding significant financial reserves you will need to make it clear in the application why the reserves cannot be used to cover the cost of your activity.
Is there a minimum amount of financial reserves applicant organisations must hold to be eligible to apply?
There is no set minimum, but we will consider an applicant organisation’s financial reserves when considering the health and sustainability of the applicant organisation. We would recommend that an applicant organisation holds enough reserves to cover a minimum of 3 months of the organisation’s annual expenditure. If for any reason your organisation has less than 3 months in financial reserves, you will need to make it clear in the application why the organisation’s reserves are at this level. If your organisation has a reserves policy, then we will consider how the organisation is performing against this policy. Why is a reserves policy important? A reserves policy explains to existing and potential funders, donors, beneficiaries and other stakeholders why an organisation is holding a particular amount of reserves. A good reserves policy gives confidence that the organisation’s finances are being properly managed and will also provide an indicator of future funding needs and its overall resilience.
Are applicant organisations asked to provide references?
For the majority of our grant programmes applicant organisations must provide a referee. Referees should know the work of the applicant organisation in a professional capacity but not be directly involved.
Are applicant organisations asked to provide evidence of insurance?
Organisations do not have provide evidence of insurance for their activities at the application stage. However, if it is necessary, your organisation must maintain adequate insurance for its activities at all times, and if asked, must supply copies of insurance confirmation.
Which types of organisation cannot apply?
Grants will not normally be made to the following types of organisation or to fund the following types of activity:
- Animal welfare
- Arts projects with no community or charitable element
- Direct replacement of statutory funding
- Medical research
- Political groups or activities promoting political beliefs
- Religious groups seeking to influence people’s religious choices
- Sports projects with no community or charitable element
- General appeals
What a group can apply for
What can be applied for?
The types of activity or item a group can apply for will depend on the grant programme to which the application is submitted. Quartet Community Foundation (QCF) manages a range of grant programmes each with its own criteria and maximum grant award. The relevant guidelines can be found on the grant programme’s webpage or you can request a hard copy of any of our grant programme guidelines to be sent by post by contacting our office on 0117 989 7700. The majority of QCF’s grant programmes support activities that benefit people who are disadvantaged. The beneficiaries may be disadvantaged due to poverty, disability, age, location or culture.
Does Quartet Community Foundation support the principle of full cost recovery?
Full cost recovery means securing funding for all the costs involved in running a project/activity. Quartet Community Foundation supports the principle of full cost recovery and where appropriate applicants can include management cost in their application proportionate to the activity being undertaken.
Will Quartet Community Foundation award a grant that contributes toward a larger project involving multiple funders?
The majority of our grant programmes can award grants toward such projects. However, your group must have the majority of the necessary funding secured or you will need to demonstrate that you have a realistic plan for securing the rest of the funding shortly after a QCF grant is awarded.
Will Quartet Community Foundation award a grant to cover the cost of activities that have already taken place?
No, we cannot fund any activity retrospectively. Please also bear in mind that it can take 6-8 weeks before you hear back on your application, so you will have to ensure that you receive a decision before your activity begins.
Can an organisation submit applications to more than one grant programme?
In any one financial year applicants can apply to one or more of the grant programmes run by Quartet Community Foundation for which they are eligible. Groups are welcome to apply to more than one grant programme if they have multiple activities they need funding for, or if they need to apply for more than one aspect of a single activity. However, we discourage the submission of duplicate applications to multiple grant programmes.
How often can an application be submitted to any one grant programme?
This will depend upon the grant programme. Please refer to the guidelines of each specific grant programme. For the majority of our grant programmes applicants are not permitted to apply more than once in any one year to the same grant programme.
Submitting an application
When can an application be submitted?
Some of Quartet Community Foundation’s grant programmes are run in rounds with a set number of submission deadlines throughout the year, whilst others do not have a submission deadline and an application can be submitted at any time of the year. Please refer to the guidelines of each specific grant programme.
What questions will be asked in the application form?
Listed below are the main questions we ask in our grant application forms. These questions may vary depending on the aims of the particular grant programme:
- Please describe the overall aims and objectives of your organisation and the activities or services your organisation provides?
- How will you spend this grant? Please describe your project or activity.
- What need will your project address and what evidence have you collected to demonstrate this need?
- What positive changes will your activity/project make?
- Please explain how you will measure and report on the positive changes made?
- Please tell us about your organisation’s experience and the impact of your previous work; you may also want to tell us about the people involved in your project and why you are confident in their ability to make the project succeed.
- How do you see this project/activity developing after this funding comes to an end, or do you see this as a one-off project/activity?
- Please tell us why the cost of this project/activity cannot be met using your organisation’s existing funds?
How is an application submitted?
For many of our grant programmes you can apply online by using the link on the grant programme’s webpage. You will need a valid email address to be able to do this. Alternatively you can request a hard copy of the application form to be sent by post by contacting our office on 0117 989 7700.
Can I edit, save and return to the online application form or does it need to be completed in one visit?
Applicants can return to their online application form as many times as is needed, and save it as they go along, until the application is submitted. The online application link can also be shared with colleagues, or other parties, if more than one person needs to contribute to the application. When completed, remember to click on ‘submit’.
Assessing your application
What will the assessment involve?
When assessing an application, the Quartet Community Foundation will consider such matters as:
- The management of the applicant organisation
- Whether the proposed activity fits the criteria for the specific grant programme
- Whether the application evidences a clear need to be addressed
- Whether the activity fits well with existing services/activities in the community and is not duplicating existing services/activities
- Whether the activity appears achievable
- Whether the activity is value for money, and appropriately costed
- The financial position and sustainability of the applicant organisation
This is not an exhaustive list as other matters may be considered depending on the grant programme.
Will the assessor contact the applicant?
The assessor may contact the applicant for further information or to arrange a meeting to discuss the application in more detail. If you are contacted, we do require a prompt response and will arrange a suitable timescale with you to provide information so that a decision can be made within a reasonable time period. Failure to respond within the agreed timescale may result in the withdrawal or rejection of your application.
Who decides if a grant is awarded?
This will depend upon the grant programme. The decision to award a grant may be delegated by Quartet Community Foundation Trustees to senior staff or a grant panel. In certain instances fund holders will make the final decision.
How soon do applicants receive a decision?
For the majority of our grant programmes you will have a decision 6-8 weeks after the submission deadline. For grant programmes that do not have a submission deadline you will have a decision 6-8 weeks after we receive the full application, including all supporting documents.
How are applicants informed of the decision?
You will receive a letter informing you of the decision. If your group is offered a grant you will be provided with a set of grant conditions and a grant acceptance form. If you are willing to accept the grant conditions, the acceptance form will need to be signed and returned to Quartet Community Foundation, together with a copy of a recent bank statement, before the grant can be paid.
How long do applicants have to accept a grant offer?
Applicant organisations have 3 months in which to accept and start spending the grant. After that time the grant offer will lapse and you will need to re-apply.
How are grants paid?
Grants are paid directly into the grant recipient’s bank account. We may occasionally make grant payments by cheque.
If an application is unsuccessful, how soon can another application be submitted to that grant programme?
For grant programmes that have submission deadlines you will have to wait until the next round of the grant programme. For grant programmes that have no set submission deadline you will need to contact Quartet Community Foundation to discuss if, and when, it might be appropriate to submit another grant application.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is about creating a safe and secure environment for everyone, ensuring your organisation is taking positive steps to promote the welfare and wellbeing of the people you work with (e.g. beneficiaries), staff and volunteers. Its about actively preventing harm, harassment, abuse and neglect, and being able to respond if any problem occurs.
Both children and ‘adults at risk’ need safeguarding, but there are different approaches to take. Further information about this distinction can be found on the NVCO website here.
Quartet expects all organisations applying for funding to have a safeguarding policy that is up to date and relevant to their work. If you apply for a grant you will be asked for a copy of your organisation’s safeguarding policy.
Why is safeguarding important to Quartet Community Foundation?
Organisations we fund are helping people. Many may be experiencing or have previously experienced disadvantage, discrimination, or are vulnerable. These people are at a higher risk of neglect, abuse and exploitation. Some organisations we fund may not be providing direct support, but they do provide services that ultimately lead to helping people.
Either way, we need to be confident that steps are being taken by organisations to create a safe environment and run in a way that prevents any harm, abuse and neglect, and can recognise signs where this may be taking place. This is why we request a copy of your safeguarding policy when you apply to us. It can demonstrate that you understand your duty to operate in a safe and secure environment and protect beneficiaries, staff and volunteers.
How does Quartet Community Foundation assess safeguarding when you apply?
We recognise that safeguarding policies can vary from one organisation to another, and these will vary depending on the role of the organisation and the services you deliver. How you meet your safeguarding duties will be proportional to the level of risk involved, which increases when you work directly with children or adults at risk. However, we expect all safeguarding policies to include at least the following:
- A named safeguarding lead
- Definitions of abuse experienced by children and adults at risk
- An approach to safe recruitment and training – e.g. reference to DBS checks when recruiting staff and volunteers, providing relevant safeguarding training
- Reporting procedures – what steps to take if there are concerns, or if a disclosure or allegation is made
- Useful contacts – can be contact details for the safeguarding lead, local authority, police or local safeguarding board
- Policy review date – the policy should be a live document that is regularly reviewed and updated by the organisation
We will consider your safeguarding policy against the context of what your organisation provides and see if it meets our requirements. We may contact you if we have any questions.
What happens if we think your safeguarding arrangements do not meet our requirements for funding
If we think your safeguarding arrangements do not meet our requirements, the decision we make on your application can depend on a couple of factors. If we think your safeguarding policy requires significant improvements, we may reject your request for funding, and suggest you get advice or training before we consider another application. If any improvements are minor, we may offer funding with a condition to make certain changes before we award a grant.
Where can I find more information about safeguarding?
There are numerous online resources about safeguarding in the voluntary and charity sector and what you need to consider as an organisation. Here are some examples:
- NCVO website provides information on what is safeguarding, what steps to take for being a safer organisation, and safeguarding documents you need. Click here for more information
- The Charity Commission explains the importance of safeguarding, the duty of trustees, and has links to other guidance and resources. Click here
You can also contact your local infrastructure organisation who support the local voluntary and charity sectors. Further details can be found here.
Spending the grant and reporting back (monitoring)
How long do grant recipients have to take up and spend the grant?
Once a grant offer has been made the grant recipient must return the acceptance form and start spending the grant within 3 months of the date of the grant offer letter. If you have been unable to start spending a grant within three months of receiving the grant offer letter, or it cannot be used for the purpose for which it was awarded, you must inform us of the situation as soon as possible. The duration of the grant spend will depend upon how long the funded activity will last. For the majority of our grants we would expect funding to be used within 6 months to 1 year of payment.
Once a grant is awarded can a grant recipient change what it is spent on?
In signing the grant acceptance form a grant recipient agrees to use the grant only for the purposes described in the grant offer letter. If there is a change in your organisation’s circumstances that affects the way the grant can be spent, you must contact Quartet Community Foundation to discuss this. We will try to be as helpful as possible.
Are grant recipients expected to report back on the use of the grant?
End of Grant reports will be required from grant recipients to confirm that the grant they received has been used appropriately and to assess the impact of the activity on the identified need. In addition to the information contained in the End of Grant form, tangible evidence of the progress of the project, such as publicity material, photographs and feedback from users should be submitted. We may also arrange to visit your group as part of the monitoring process. No further grants will be awarded to a group until all outstanding End of Grant reports that are due are satisfactorily completed and returned to Quartet Community Foundation. Further guidance on end of grant reporting can be found here.
How soon are grant recipients expected to report back on the use of the grant?
This depends on how long the funded activity is due to last. For the majority of our grant programmes we expect a report between 6 months to 1 year after payment of the grant. An End of Grant report form is sent out to grant recipients at the appropriate time.
Do grant recipients need to provide evidence of the how the grant is used, e.g. receipts?
Grant recipients must keep receipts and financial records of the way in which the grant is spent, as these may be needed in the future for audit purposes.
Do grant recipients need to acknowledge Quartet Community Foundation in publicity relating to a grant award?
Yes, we ask that grant recipients acknowledge Quartet Community Foundation and the grant programme, and where possible use of the QCF and grant programme’s logo, in all publicity relating to the grant project/activity. This will include press releases in the local media and any of your publications.
Will Quartet Community Foundation feature organisations that have received a grant award in its publicity?
Yes, we may feature your organisation in our own publicity materials unless you have asked us not to do so in writing.
Will Quartet Community Foundation use photos or film footage provided by grant recipients in its publicity?
Yes, we may use a grant recipients photos or film footage in our own publicity materials unless you have asked us not to do so in writing. When photos are sent through to QCF it is assumed that full consent has been obtained and that QCF has the right to use the photos / film footage provided in any publicity materials, books, newspapers and magazines articles, on QCF’s website and via social media.
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