Application Guidance

Comic Relief receives many more applications than we can fund. Please read the guidance below carefully and be aware that any applications submitted outside of these criteria, without prior invitation, will be turned down at the concept note stage.

Organisational criteria

Comic Relief predominantly funds registered charities. We will ask for evidence of registration during the application process.

We fund charities registered in the country where the work we are funding is carried out. Applicants are welcome to include partners not registered in-country, but must be able to clearly demonstrate the value-added of all partners included in proposals.

We do also fund other types of organisations. In these instances, the governing documents of the organisation must clearly outline the organisation’s social purpose, demonstrate that any profit or assets are used for this social purpose, and show that an asset lock is in place. We will ask for a copy of your governing documents as part of your application.

Countries we fund in

The countries we fund in are as follows: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and all four nations of the United Kingdom. Please review open funding opportunities to identify which countries are included in each call.

Size of organisation

Unless otherwise stipulated in the funding call, applications made must be by organisations with an income level of between £250,000 and £10m in their last set of accounts submitted to the relevant authority. These limits do not apply to intermediary funders. 

Recent Comic Relief funding

To give as many organisations as fair a chance as possible, organisations can only submit one concept note within any funding opportunity (though they can be named as partners on any number of applications). Please be aware we will never read more than one concept note per organisation.

You can apply to multiple funding opportunities at the same time.

Comic Relief will not typically grant additional funding to organisations which have been in continuous funding for ten years or more.  

Private providers

Where proposals include the engagement of private providers (e.g. as service providers or consultants) as part of a project to deliver specific objectives, applicant must demonstrate the use of a private provider is ultimately resulting in public good, rather than solely private profit for those private providers.

Comic Relief does not fund:

  • Activities which evangelise (the practice of preaching or spreading religious beliefs) or proselytise (the practice of trying to convert people to one’s own belief or religious views).
  • Organisations which adopt a partisan political stance or activities which are party political. Comic Relief will not support organisations that advocate the use of violence to campaign or influence public opinion.
  • One-off conferences or workshops, as it is difficult to demonstrate what impact such events are likely to achieve. We can fund conferences, workshops and other gatherings as part of longer-term projects or work.
  • General appeals, individual and group sponsorship, marketing appeals, proposals for bursaries from individuals or proposals from individuals for the funding of study or attainment of qualifications.
  • Work where the long-term institutional care of children or young people is a preferred way of working over the longer -term (e.g. setting up or running orphanages). Where short-term, temporary institutional care is used as part of an intervention to support children and young people, applicants will need to demonstrate how the work they propose seeks to develop and implement community-based alternatives.
  • The provision of services that are the primary and legal responsibility of the state. We recognise this is a grey area, and in some exceptional circumstances may fund the provision of some services internationally. However, this will only be a result of proactive approaches. 

Your request for funding

Proportion of turnover

Our funding should not account for more than 35% of your total income in any one year (using your most recently submitted accounts as guidance for annual income over the course of the grant).

Capital costs

We recognise capital costs are a crucial part of many bid applications, particularly internationally, but we cannot support capital costs over 25% of the total applied for, and would generally expect to see them far lower than this.

Inflation

We expect applicants to develop budgets considering likely inflation. The inflation rate used will depend on current and projected inflation rates in the country where activity is being delivered, as well as the particular items of expenditure. We will question any rates which appear disproportionately high or low.

Full cost recovery

We support the principle of full cost recovery when funding project work, by which we mean that we understand that contributing towards broader organisational support costs enables the project or work we fund to flourish. We recognise organisational overhead costs will vary between organisations, so have no set limit, but we will always examine this figure carefully. 

Match and co-funding

We are happy to fund up to 100% of costs for a proposal, but equally we are happy to be applied to for funding as a match or co-funder.

Reserves

Where an applicant’s unrestricted reserves are more than one year’s running costs, we expect applicants to make a significant contribution to the costs of the proposed activities. We may not fund the proposal if we feel your organisation has enough to pay for the proposed activities itself. However we will not penalise organisations for holding reasonable reserves to meet organisation liabilities.

Living Wage

We are a Living Wage Friendly Funder and expect all UK salaries covered by proposals to reflect the Living Wage. You can find more information on Comic Relief’s approach to the Living Wage and how this may affect your budget here.

Current opportunities

To see what funding we currently have available, take a look here