Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What kind of organisations can you fund?
We can make grants to organisations which must be either a UK registered charity, community interest company, credit union or a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee or social enterprise company.
Community interest companies and social enterprise organisations must have a governing document which shows the name, aim/purpose, objects of the group, including a dissolution clause (what happens if your group stops operating). This clause should show that you are a not-for-profit group by confirming that any assets remaining after all debts are paid will be given to another voluntary group with similar aims. This document should also include details of your Trustees or management committee.
Statutory organisations and 'for profit' companies are excluded from applying for funding.
Q. Do you fund schools directly?
No, we do not fund statutory organisations such as schools. However we do support organisations as listed above delivering financial capability projects in a school-based context.
Q. Do you fund projects outside of the UK?
No, our area of benefit is limited to activities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Q. Do you fund business or professional development courses?
No, we do not fund business or professional development courses. Our funding is to support people accessing personal financial life skills such as household budgeting.
Q. Do you fund debt and welfare benefits advice?
No - project activity costs must relate to future service delivery, that is pro-active in delivering financial life skills, money management education and or debt avoidance.
Applications only providing debt or welfare benefits advice will not be considered.
Q. What sort of activities are most likely to get funding?
We fund a very wide range of organisations for all sorts of activities related to increasing personal financial capability. Check out some of the projects we have funded recently.
The applications most likely to be successful are those that ask us to fund a specific activity cost rather than a general contribution to running costs or a much larger project.
Q. Do you fund core costs?
No not directly. We do support full cost recovery, so we will consider requests for direct project costs and for a proportionate share of your organisation's overheads (core costs). For more support on preparing a funding application budget, please review guidance from NCVO.
Q. Do you fund training costs for money advisers?
Yes - if the training is providing direct support for delivery to end users, for example 'train the trainer' but not general CPD training for practitioners.
Q. Do you fund capital costs such as contributions to a building fund?
No, we do not fund building or capital costs for example office furniture.
Update July 2020, we will now fund up to £500 per application for essential IT equipment for project delivery.
We only fund specific activity costs related to financial capability projects only.
Q. Is there a maximum annual income level for eligible organisations?
As the Charity's resources are modest, the Trustees prefer to fund small to medium-sized non-profit organisations.
Organisations should have an annual income under £500,000 and have less than six months free reserves.
Q. What do you mean by free reserves?
Free reserves are the total current assets (i.e. total assets minus fixed assets) shown on your balance sheet, minus any balance of 'restricted' funds.
Designated funds are part of your free reserves, and should not be deducted.
Please Note - if you are a Credit Union, please use data from the Revenue Account and Accounts Notes regarding General Reserves rather than data from your Balance Sheet.
Q. We are a new organisation without our first years' accounts, are we eligible to apply?
Yes. You should submit your most recent set of management accounts along with your forecast income and expenditure for the next twelve months.
Additionally, in your application, please explain your situation so that we know why a full set of accounts is not available.
Q. Our group received a grant from the Martin Lewis Coronavirus Poverty Emergency Fund - are we eligible to apply?
Yes - the Martin Lewis Coronavirus Poverty Emergency Fund was not administered or funded by the MSE Charity, so there is no issue in applying to the MSE Charity for funding in 2021, assuming you meet our eligibility criteria for the next grant round. Please take our quick Eligibility Quiz now to check.
Q. Can we discuss our ideas with the MSE Charity before applying?
Yes, we want to give you the best possible chance of submitting a successful application. We are happy to discuss briefly potential applications.
Please contact our Operations Manager in the first instance via email.
Q. What do you mean by financial capability?
It gives people the confidence and knowledge to make the most of their money and improve their lives. This means addressing all the factors that influence people’s behaviour around money: skills and knowledge, attitudes towards money, motivation to take action, and accessibility to financial services.
Q. When applying - what sort of evidence of need should be provided?
Statistical evidence of deprivation or need in your particular area or amongst the group of people you are working with is very helpful. Evidence of demand for the activity you are seeking funding for is also helpful, such as waiting lists, requests for the activity, surveys you have carried out etc.
Q. When applying - why do I need to provide information about referral organisations and delivery partners?
It's important for us to know that your organisation is working with and alongside other agencies to support beneficiaries to get the appropriate support, training and advice they need.
In this context a referral organisation will signpost, advise or direct a person to your organisation for specific advice or support. Examples could include a local council, religious groups, housing association, social worker or any other community group.
In this context a delivery partner will provide goods, and /or services to support the direct delivery of the project to the beneficiaries. Examples could include working with a particular school/prison or perhaps another organisation who provides the 'specialist money trainer' for delivering a workshop.
Please note when working with delivery partners, we will require as part of the application process, written confirmation of the working arrangement to be provided.
Q. Does our organisation need to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to deliver financial life skills?
No - but it is a very fine line of what is permitted and what is not - please review the following guidance from the FCA on what is defined as debt counselling (individual debt advice) and what is defined as giving general information. Please be careful what terminology you use.
Q. When applying - do the people delivering the activity need any specific qualifications?
You must demonstrate that the people delivering the project have appropriate qualifications and experience to work with the people group targeted by the project.
Please advise the names of the key personnel who will be delivering and what relevant financial capability qualifications, skills, and/or experience they have to ensure successful delivery of financial life skills/capability to the group.
Q. When can we apply, are there any deadlines?
Yes applications are only accepted online in February and September each year.
We have two themed grant rounds per year, four themes rotate through a two year cycle.
Please check which themed grant round is most appropriate for your organisation to apply to.
The next grant round opens on Wednesday 1st September 2021. The grant round closes on Thursday 30th September 5pm or earlier if we have already accepted 40 applications.
Q. What happens if more than 40 applications are received in the grant round?
If we have closed the grant round early the online link to the application form will NOT be accessible from the website for you to complete.
Q. How soon can we re-apply if our group didn't make it to being one of the first 40 applications?
Q. How soon can we re-apply if our application is accepted and considered but not successful?
If your group is unsuccessful, you must wait one year to re-apply, so if you applied in the September 2020 round your group could re-apply from September 2021 assuming your project meets the theme focus of the grant round. If you applied in February 2021 you would need to wait until February 2022 to re-apply.
Q. How soon can we re-apply if we are successful in gaining funding?
If your group is successful in receiving a grant you must wait at least one year from the project END date. For example if you received a grant in April 2019, for a one year project ending in July 2020. The next eligible grant round you could apply to would be in September 2021. If in doubt, please contact us.
Q. What are the chances of being funded?
If you are one of the 40 applications accepted into a grant round, and you meet the criteria, we would hope to offer funding to approximately 1 in 4 applications; however it does depend on many factors so there is no hard and fast rule.
Q. How will we know if our organisation has been successful?
If your organisation is successful, we will endeavour to advise you by email informally within 5 working days of the GAP decision meeting date. If your organisation is unsuccessful you will be advised by email within 10 working days of the GAP decision meeting date.
Q. Why has the Panel not offered us the full amount of funding we applied for?
Funding is limited, and the Grant Advisory Panel may assess that the budget submitted did not demonstrate sufficient detail; or it did not represent good value for money; or it may have included some items which are not eligible.
Q. Do you provide feedback for unsuccessful applications?
Generally no, we are a small charity, with only one part time employee, so do not have the resources to do this.
However if you are not successful, there are usually a variety of reasons, these generally are but not limited to;
there are limited funds available and competition for funding is high
other applications in the round were judged to meet the requirements of the Application Guidance better
the budget for the project doesn't demonstrate good value
the application doesn't provide compelling evidence how it meets the Application criteria
the project isn't in line with the mission of the MSE Charity