Important Message On Coronavirus

Foundation Scotland – We are open

Reassurance on supporting communities, charities and social enterprises following the impact of Coronavirus
Foundation Scotland appreciate that the Coronavirus situation will have a big impact on communities. We know that charities, local organisations and social enterprises will play a critical support role - providing practical and emotional support, helping to mobilise local services, care for those most in need and tackle isolation.
We want to reassure you that we will do what we can to support communities.

We are open as usual – our staff are now are working from home - we are working differently, working digitally. Staff work travel has been suspended so we will hold our meetings online.
All contacts including telephone numbers and email addresses will remain the same. Please just continue to contact our staff through these means. Our IT systems enable us to work from home with no risk to data security and ensure there is limited disruption to services.

Please continue with grant applications – however please scan and email in any supporting documents. Our offices are closed for the time being, and we cannot receive mail – so please do not post any supporting documents. If you don’t have a scanner an option is to download a scanner app onto your smart phone – this uses the camera function to scan the document and convert it into a PDF for e-mail.

We aim to be as helpful as possible over the coming weeks - so our grantees can focus on supporting communities. Alongside continuing to deliver all our community funds and published grant-making programmes, we are taking the following steps:

  1. Relaxing deadlines for monitoring reports
  2. Increasing mentoring and support for grantees and investees
  3. Establishing payment holidays for social enterprises supported with loans
  4. Increasing cash flow support loans to social enterprises
  5. Planning to introduce rolling deadlines for some place-based Funds for those delivering any projects that address immediate community needs in light of the Coronavirus
  6. Working with other funders to pool resources
  7. Working with local community organisations and umbrella groups to gather information about local needs and how best to support these
  8. Establishing a Community Resilience and Recovery Fund
  9. Giving our staff paid time to work flexibly so that they can care for loved ones and also volunteer and support activity in their local community dealing with needs arising from the Coronavirus
  10. Asking you how we can best support your community

Please do get in touch, as normal, if you have questions.


Acknowledge & Close

Top Tips for Applicants

tips for applicants

We know how much time organisations spend filling out grant applications, and it’s even more frustrating if you're then unsuccessful.

To increase your chance of success we're sharing some of our top tips below. We've also listed a few reasons why applications get rejected, this might help you avoid some of the common mistakes.

  • Read the fund guidelines and ensure you understand them. We cannot stress this enough, it will save us all time if you check you can meet the eligibility criteria first. If you're not sure then get in touch first.
  • Meet the deadline. We recommend applying as soon as you can. Also, please check the criteria to see when your project can start.
  • Write in easy, simple language. Stick to plain English and avoid using any jargon and acronyms. Be very clear about what your project is, what the fund will pay for as well as the difference it will make e.g. to pay for a sports coach for 5 hours per week.
  • Show us that you understand your local community. Demonstrate that you understand the issues it is facing, avoid using generic statistics to reflect a local situation.
  • Don’t exaggerate the value you bring to the community. Offer realistic beneficiary numbers, not just area population. Equally, don’t underestimate the value you bring. Be confident to talk about the difference you make.
  • Make sure your governing documents are up to date and fit for purpose.  We look at your governance in as much detail as the actual project you are planning
  • Does everything add up? Provide an accurate cost breakdown for what the grant will cover
  • Make sure your accounts are clear and that you have up to date policies and that your staff/volunteers know about the policies and procedures around them.  Policies should be regularly reviewed, not just left to gather dust.
  • Be honest about your income and reserves. We can check this against your accounts. We recommend that you try to build/hold 6 months running costs in reserve. This gives us confidence that you will be able to survive should something happen (eg pandemic) that would leave your organisation vulnerable. However, if you have high unrestricted reserves this could suggest the grant is not needed. Ensure any funds you have saved are for specific project– e.g. building repairs in a designated fund. Remember, any grants received should also be included in your income.
  • Be clear which items the grant will cover if you are asking for part funding. Where else you may have applied and if the outcome is known/expected
  • How will you measure your success? Include details on how you'll measure the impact, for example, increased membership, feedback from beneficiaries, consultation questionnaires.


And last but most importantly... make sure any applications you submit are well written and thought through. Ask someone to read the application before you submit it, if they can understand what you are asking for then we will too.


Top Reasons Applications Get Rejected

  • Applicant has failed to meet the guidelines. Don't try to 'shoehorn' your project into criteria that isn’t appropriate.
  • Accounts not been signed by an independent examiner. By independent we mean the accounts should have been inspected by someone with no connection to the management committee/organisation and can undertake an objective and impartial inspection. The purpose of an inspection is to check that your accounts are consistent with the financial records of your organisation. 
  • Failure to submit relevant documentation. It's not enough just to complete the application form. Please refer to the guidelines for a full list of additional documentation required and make its included on submission.
  • Application form is incomplete. If there's information missing it will limit our ability to understand your project objectives. Please ensure that all sections are completed.
  • Project start date is before the decision is made. We are unable to make grants retrospectively i.e. for costs already incurred. Therefore, you can't apply for help with the costs for any activities that start before a decision on your application has been made. Each fund comes with a clear indication of when decisions are expected, please factor that into your application.
  • Your budget doesn’t work. Make sure your budget is clear and well thought out. We need to be confident in your ability to calculate your financial needs.
  • You didn’t meet the deadline. Failure to meet the submission deadline will result in an automatic rejection and due to the volume of applications we are unable to make exceptions.
  • Project costs are too high. Many of our programmes have a limit on the project cost so please check this in the application guidelines.  We want to see the difference our grant will make so often specify that the grant should be no less than 25% of the total cost.  If we are making a small grant of up to £2,000 that means the overall project should be no more than £8,000.


If you still have any questions when applying for funding then send us an email at:

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