By Rebecca Graham

Standard Life Foundation’s goal is to improve financial wellbeing in the UK, and we do that by working with others. A big part of this is our grant funding programme - so how do organisations go about funding organisations?

Applying for funding can be confusing. We know first-hand that it is often really time-consuming, too. When teams are working hard to achieve their mission, we don’t want them to spend more time on funding applications than necessary. To try to help organisations with their funding, we’ve created a set of funding guidelines. These are the first port-of-call for working out whether funding from us is likely to be a good fit for you.

Our first funding rounds in 2019 taught us a fair bit about what should be in the guidelines, so since then we’ve made a few amendments to them. In many cases it was a question of scope rather than quality of project. We had a lot of proposals for projects that sounded great but weren’t quite what we were looking for. One of the main things we need to make clear is our focus on work that is likely to make an impact at scale (what we’ve called strategic work). This means that locally-based projects—particularly those that directly target individual beneficiaries such as educating people in the local area about good savings habits—are unlikely to be a good fit.

Another big thing we’re looking for is a set of well-defined outcomes that could be reasonably expected from the work planned. Alongside that, it is really important to show an understanding of how your proposed work fits in with what is already known about the aspect of financial wellbeing in question. If you plan to do a piece of research, it needs to be something new and ideally you should tell us how it differs from research that is already out there, and how it might be used in practice to create a positive change.

Projects that have successfully applied for funding are those that could clearly demonstrate the intended impact of the work, were at a large scale with the potential to benefit thousands and were not restricted to one particular geographical area. These included work such as research and advocacy-based projects, where the impact on individuals may be indirect but at a large scale. You can find out more about them here.

We’ve funded a variety of work and are keen on funding some of our programme areas where there has been less focus. This includes work in relation to retirement saving and pensions, consumer spending, problem gambling and borrowing. Our next deadline for funding is on 4th February 2020.