Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-application - Grant Eligibility FAQs

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. 

Each organisation must have a governing body of at least three unconnected individuals, and a bank account in the organisation's name with at least two unconnected signatories required to authorise payments. 

Statutory organisations and 'for profit' companies are excluded from applying for funding.

Q. We are a new organisation without our first years' accounts, are we eligible to apply? 

No - following our Strategic Review in early 2024 it was agreed that all organisations applying must have been established for at least 18 months and be able to provide their annual accounts as part of the application process. 

If in doubt, please contact our Operations Manager who will be able to advise whether it is appropriate for your organisation to apply. 

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 individuals?

No, we do not fund individuals.  If you are looking for grants for individuals, please visit the Turn2Us website. 

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?

Usually 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.

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. What do you mean by financial capability?

We define financial capability as the ability to manage money well – both day-to-day and through significant life events, such as: having a baby; moving home; unexpected job loss; bereavement; major illness or injury.

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.   

For more guidance please review the Money & Pensions Service, Financial Capability Strategy website

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. Some examples are listed below:

Check out some of the projects we have funded recently.  The applications most likely to be successful are those that ask us to fund specific activity costs.

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. 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) up to a maximum of 15% of your project budget.  For more support on preparing a funding application budget, please review guidance from NCVO.  

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.  

We will 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 £750,000 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. When can we apply, are there any deadlines?

Our summer grant round opens on Wednesday 19 June 2024 for Stage 1 - outline proposals to be accepted.  These will be accepted up to the 31 July*, but we may close sooner if too many proposals are received. 

*UPDATE - Grant round closing at noon on Friday 12 July.  

Notification of the outcome of your Stage 1 proposal will be sent out by 30 August.  

Stage 2 applicants will need to complete their full applications by 11 October 2024. Decisions on funding late November 2024. 

The winter grant round opens on Monday 2 December 2024 for Stage 1 - outline proposals to be accepted.  These will be accepted up to the 15 January 2025, but we may close sooner if too many proposals are received. Notification of the outcome of your Stage 1 proposal will be sent out by 31 January 2025.  

Stage 2 applicants will need to complete their full applications by 28 February 2025. Decisions on funding late March 2025.

Q. How soon can we re-apply if our application is accepted and considered but not successful? 

Usually we would ask you to wait a year, however for our first new-style grant round, if you applied in September 2023 you could submit a Stage 1 outline proposal in the June 2024 grant round. 

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 November 2022, for a one year project ending in December 2023. The next eligible grant round you could apply to would be in  January 2025. If in doubt, please contact us.

Q. What are the chances of being funded?

By completing a Stage 1 outline proposal, we currently have no data to advise how successful you are likely to be, as we are testing this new approach in 2024.

However, if you are invited to apply and complete a Stage 2 application, we would hope to offer funding to approximately 1 in 3 applications; but it does depend on many factors so there is no hard and fast rule. We aim to fund anywhere between 6 to 9 projects per grant round. 

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. We still have an unanswered question, who can we contact?

Please contact our Operations Manager by email, who will endeavour to answer your question, or will arrange a phone call back.  All emails will be acknowledged and answered within 6 working days.  

Stage 2 - Application FAQs

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. 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. 

Post application FAQs

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. 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;  

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. We still have an unanswered question, who can we contact?

Please contact our Operations Manager by email, who will endeavour to answer your question, or will arrange a phone call back.  All emails will be acknowledged and answered within 6 working days.