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Finding Funding: How Much Should I Apply For?

At Beehive we have data at our fingertips which can help you get the most out of a funding application. Something we’ve noticed small charities can struggle with is the amount of funding they should ask for.

Usually when looking for funding, you’ll have an amount in mind for how much to ask for. This might be based on estimated costs for a new project, or asking to cover the ongoing costs of your existing work. But funders have a different view - most funders put an upper or lower limit on the amount you can apply for, sometimes with more complex criteria about the amount available per year. You might find an otherwise perfect funder, but they can’t give the amount you need.

What can you apply for?

We’ve got two sources of data that might help you navigate this. The first is the limits that funders place on their funds. The chart below shows the number of funds on Beehive which allow applications at particular sizes. These funds - which are mostly aimed at the smallest charities - peak in two places. The first is between £1,000 and £2,000, with the second between £10,000 and £25,000. We have funds outside of these ranges, but there are most in those two ranges. There are fewer funds that allow applications above £50,000.

What grants have been made?

We can also use the 360 Giving grants data that drives Beehive to investigate the amounts that have actually been awarded (rather than the possible range). For this analysis we’ve not included the Big Lottery Fund, which makes so many grants it skews the data, and have based it on grants awarded between 2015-2017.

The grants data tells us a few things:

  • Grantmakers love round numbers. Almost a third of grants made are for round numbers - £5,000 is the most popular, followed by £1,000, £2,000 and £10,000.
  • The grants made match the limits. There’s a definite dip between £5,000 and £10,000 which matches the funding available from the previous chart, and a similar tail-off after £50,000. The exception to this is grants for £100,000.

What you can do

  1. Not a Beehive user? Sign up now. Add your funding proposal and we’ll give recommendations for suitable funders, and check your eligibility for them.

  2. Add the amount you’re seeking when you create a proposal on Beehive. This lets us automatically check your proposal for eligibility against all the funds on Beehive.

  3. Look at a fund’s page to check the eligibility criteria. As well as the amount you’re seeking we also check the duration of the grant, your organisation’s size and other criteria.

  4. Adjust the amount you’re seeking if you don’t get the right results. Use the data above to target funders. If you’re looking for an amount between £5,000 and £10,000 you might not get the best results - why not look for a smaller amount? What about splitting up your proposal into two chunks - you might get better results approaching two funders. And consider that fewer funds offer grants of £50,000 or more - so proposals of that size might be less likely to succeed.

Ready to get started?