A grant is a sum of money given to you or your project. You do not have to pay interest and if you meet the terms and conditions of the grant you will not have to return the money.
Grants are available from a large number of organisations, including:
- the National Lottery
- central and local government
- the European Union
- charitable trusts and foundations.
Applying for a grant is a competitive process. For the best possible chance of winning a grant plan your application carefully and read our pages on applying for funding.
Many organisations that provide grants will only fund part of your project, so you may need to find some of the funding from your own budget or another source. This is often known as 'match funding'.
A loan is borrowed money which you need to pay back with interest. Loans provided by commercial organisations like banks often require security in the form of assets. This is a form of guarantee that the loan will be repaid.
Loans with low interest rates are also available from lenders to support charities and social enterprises. These loans may also be 'soft loans', which may have lower rates of interest and reduced security requirements. Eligibility for this type of loan will vary according to the lender.
Credit Unions are community-based savings and loan organisations owned and controlled by their members. They provide loans at reasonable rates and may be more willing to help than banks or building societies if you find it difficult to borrow money. You can get information and advice about savings and loans from the West Sussex Credit Union.
Crowdfunding is the practice of raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, usually through the internet. It is available for a range of organisations, including businesses.
CrowdingIn is run by Nesta, an independent charity that provides tips for getting started and a list of crowdfunding platforms to help you and your organisation.
Formal sponsorship is an arrangement with an organisation where it contributes to your project in return for some recognition. This could be through financial support, support in kind or use of equipment or facilities.
When you start to look for sponsors:
- talk to local businesses and local branches of national companies
- ask others if they have links with companies who might be prepared to sponsor your project
- think about what you and that company might have in common
- check company websites for their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, where a company supports charities or local projects. Bear in mind that some companies don't have a formal CSR and may not have provided sponsorship before.
Once a company agrees to sponsor your project make sure you clarify in writing what both parties will and won't contribute to the project.
Also, think of others who might be able to sponsor you, such as:
- friends and family
- fellow staff or your employer
- organisations or people you have had contact with recently.
Make sure you: