Community gathers around local water pump in Burkina Faso


We support organisations to access funding and become financially sustainable through expert guidance and insights.

To help NGOs adapt to increasing financial pressures and complexities, we offer resources and support on securing sustainable funding, including:

You can also find out more information about value for moneypayment by resultsEC funding and cost recovery.

Funding guide on open grants

Below is a brief guide to funding from some of the largest open grant-funding options for UK-based NGOs including DFID, Comic Relief, the Big Lottery Fund and the major trusts and foundations. For regularly updated forthcoming funding opportunities, please see the funding opportunities section and sign up to Bond's newsletter.

DFID funding

The Department for International Development (DFID) funds civil society organisations through several programmes:

UK Aid Connect

Aid Connect invites proposals from consortia of CSOs together with think tanks and public, private and third sector organisations for funding to help find solutions to complex situations across DFID's priority countries. Applications are made through a one-stage process – the submission of a proposal by the consortium lead. 

The Terms of Reference for each of the themes set out the background on UK Aid Connect and the process for submitting the proposal. These are available at: www.gov.uk/international-development-funding/uk-aid-connect#background-information-on-the-fund

Applications for Aid Connect are currently closed.

Small Charities Challenge Fund

The Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) will support Britain’s small non-for-profit groups, to scale-up and increase the reach and efficiency of their projects. The fund is designed to strengthen grassroots development organisations working with the poor, vulnerable and most marginalised.

Grants of up to £50,000 are available for projects of up to 2 years, and applications for funding can be submitted via www.ukaiddirect.org.

The SCCF is a rolling funding opportunity – applications are reviewed on a 6-monthly basis.

To find out if your organisation is eligible to apply visit the eligiblity section or the how to apply section.

UK Aid Match

The UK Aid Match programme match-funds public donations to charity appeals for projects to reduce poverty in developing countries. The programme proposes to make up to £30 million available to match appeals for programmes. 

UK Aid Match has recently announced the opening of a new funding round launching on Tuesday 20 August. To further support potential applicants, Mannion Daniels will be hosting two webinars – one on Wednesday 7 August, to register please visit this link, and another on Tuesday 27 August – before the application deadline on Tuesday 12 November.  Find out more at www.ukaidmatch.org.

UK Aid Direct

The UK Aid Direct programme is the main, central fund for small and medium CSOs. Even the smallest organisations are welcome to apply. 

Community Partnership grants are open to applications from small, UK registered, non-government organisations. Grants are available for up to £250,000 for projects of 3 years or less. The grants are designed to support initiatives that focus on delivering results on a small scale, pilot new or innovative approaches, focus on the most marginalised, and work at the community level.

Impact grants are open to applications from medium-sized, non-government organisations registered in the UK, one of the lowest 50 countries in the UN HDI or in a country considered to be of high or moderate fragility. Grants are available from between £250,001 and £4,000,000 for projects of 3 – 5 years. The grants are designed to bring tangible change to the lives of the poorest and most marginalised, on a large scale.

Applications can be submitted from Wednesday 4 April. The closing date for submitting applications is Wednesday 13 June 2018 at 17:00 (GMT).

Bond offers a service where our experts can review your concept note or proposal, to give your DFID application the best change of success.

On 9 May 2018 fund managers MannionDaniels held a Q&A with Bond members.

Jo Cox Memorial Grants

The Jo Cox Memorial Grants are currently closed to new applications.

On 9 May 2018 fund managers MannionDaniels held a Q&A with Bond members.

UK Aid Volunteers 

This programme will bring together the existing International Citizen Service programme (ICS) and any future DFID relationship with volunteering agencies. Through this programme, DFID recognises the unique characteristics and broad social benefits that volunteering programmes can bring to the individual and the community, and aims to increase the number of young people taking part. 

Global Innovation Fund

A multi-donor fund providing grants and loans of between £30,000 to £10 million for social innovations to transform the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. Open to social enterprises, not-for-profits, and research and government agencies.

Humanitarian response funding

This is bilateral funding to non-governmental organisations for humanitarian emergency responses. Funding is used to respond to emergencies caused by natural disasters and is usually for programming up to 12 months.

In-Country funding

DFID has decentralised country offices around the world which also distribute funding, some of which is available for international NGOs. For the contact details for country offices, go to the country profile page. It is generally not possible to find out about funding opportunities from DFID country offices here in the UK, but is possible to see what kind of activities are being funded or planned by searching on AidData.

Further reading

DFID's Funder Finder is a comprehensive searchable website of all their funding opportunities.

DFID country offices have all published a country profile. The profiles set out: why DFID is investing in a country; what UK aid has achieved; what UK aid expects to achieve looking ahead; how DFID is supporting countries to transition from aid; what is being achieved for the UK; who DFID is working with; and their country spending plans over the financial years 2017/18 to 2018/2019. This is helpful as it will outline the priorities and programmes that the country office is going to procure.

The National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is a government-appointed body responsible for distributing the National Lottery's profits. Between 2009 and March 2015, the BLF’s International Communities programme was their main source of funding for projects overseas. They have since re-strategised and are now focused on disability and livelihoods with the majority of their portfolio in East Africa through the East Africa Disability Fund. They don’t have any funding open at the moment. 

Further information on the East Africa Disability Fund can be found on their website.

Comic Relief

Comic Relief is one of the largest UK donors for international development they focus on promoting a just world free from poverty.  

Comic Relief focuses their work on four main thematic areas: children survive and thrive, global mental health matters, fighting for gender justice and a safe place to be. They also support social tech investments and sport for change approaches that cut across core issues.

Comic Relief operates in all four nations in the UK and key priority countries around the world which include: Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. They aim to split their funding 50/50 between the UK and rest of the world.

More information can be found on the Comic Relief website.

Trusts and foundations

Updated funding opportunities can be found on the Funding Opportunities page.

This report by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy gives an overview of some of the largest donors that fund international development.

For information on the many other trusts and foundations that fund international development work, please see the other resources for grantseekers section at the end of this page.

A few of the foundations that fund international development include:

The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trust which is a group of 18 foundations, of which eight provide grants for international work. Many of the trusts do not accept unsolicited applications but those that do include:

  • The Indigo Trust, which supports technology-driven projects to bring about social change.
  • The True Colours Trust, which supports palliative care in Africa.

An application to the main trust will be directed to the most appropriate programme, and only one proposal will be considered each time.

Elton John AIDS Foundation is the largest HIV/AIDS grant-maker in the UK, supporting projects in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation supports local NGOs in India that help disadvantaged communities to access basic services.

STARS Foundation works to improve the lives of disadvantaged children around the world. It does so by supporting organisations which achieve excellence in the provision of health, education, protection and water, sanitation and hygiene services for children.

The Wellcome Trust provides grants for scientific research and other health and medicine-related work.

Rufford Foundation offers small grants for conservation projects in the developing world.

Waterloo Foundation is interested in global projects, with particular focus on the disparity of opportunities, wealth and the unsustainable use of the world’s natural resources.

Beit Trust provides grants for projects in southern Africa, including buildings and infrastructure and scholarships.

Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust was set up in memory of two generations of the Ferguson family to promote their particular interests in education, international friendship and understanding, and the promotion of world peace and development.

TRAID (Textile and Recycling for Aid and International Development) raises funds through the collection and resale of the UK public's unwanted clothes and shoes. This is used to fund projects that combat any negative impacts of the textile industry on people and the environment.

Other resources for grant-seekers

The Directory of Social Change publishes a range of resources on fundraising from trusts and foundations.

Global Grant-making is a 2012 study of trusts and foundations that fund international development, commissioned jointly by the Baring, Nuffield and Paul Hamlyn Foundations.

Terra Viva Grants provides information about grants for agriculture, energy, environment and natural resources in the world's developing countries.

The website Funds for NGOs sends alerts with new calls for proposals, donor deadlines and other useful resources for NGOs.

Contracts and tenders

For those interested in contracts from the major aid agencies, the Development Aid website offers a resource that provides a list of current tenders.

Read our guide to bidding for DFID contracts.