Application process




Find out about our currently open funding opportunities, our eligibility criteria or funding strategy

Proposal submitted


stage 1 proposal

Applicants submit a Stage 1 Proposal via our grant management system (GEM) saying what they want to do and the difference it will make.

See more detailed guidance

Proposal review


Stage 2 Proposal

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit further information on their plans.  

Monitoring, evaluation and learning


Proposal Review

We assess the proposal, contacting the applicant to discuss their work and to carry out due diligence checks.




Staff, independent experts and our trustees robustly discuss applications and decide on which are the best fit.

Grant awarded


Investment awarded

If the proposal is approved, we’ll send an offer letter, the funding conditions and work with you to get started. 

What to expect when you get funding

How much money should you apply for? 

Proportion of annual income

We aim to fund no more than 40% of your organisation’s total income in any one year.  This is the case both for overall grant amount applied for by you, but also for any funding distributed to partners. In other words, no organisation receiving funding though Comic Relief can receive more than 40% of their annual income, whether they are the lead applicant or a downstream partner organisation.

At the point of your application, we will use your organisation’s most recent annual accounts submitted to the relevant authorities, and the average annual amount of funding that you have requested from us.  

For example, if an organisation outside the UK has an income of at least £75,000 they are eligible to apply.  If the funding request is for an average of £50,000 per year, this will give a new income of £125,000.  (£50,000 is 40% of £125,000.)

Capital costs

We cannot support projects that include significant resources for capital costs.  We can’t support capital costs over 25% of the total funding request, and we generally expect to see amounts that are far lower than this.


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 understand that contributing towards broader organisational support costs enables the project or work we fund to flourish and we recognise organisational overhead costs will vary between organisations. Therefore we have no set limit, but we will always examine this figure carefully.

Budgets will be scrutinised at assessment, and all and any taxes payable to local or national governments should be included in the budget with clear rationale.

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.


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.


Concept note and full application guidance

Submitting the concept note

Unless otherwise stated, all proposals and concept notes must be submitted through our grant management system, GEM.

More information on the questions asked when submitting a concept note are detailed in the funding opportunity page.

Full application form

Applicants whose concept notes are shortlisted will be asked to submit all documents and complete a full application form (Download an example application form here). 


Decision making

Decision making

Decisions are made by staff members, external experts and Comic Relief trustees based upon your proposal and our recommendations after assessment.

Unsuccessful applications and complaints

When we inform you about unsuccessful proposals, we will let you know whether we’re able to give more detailed feedback. This will be made clear in the letter of notification.

Comic Relief works hard to ensure that all proposals are thoroughly considered and that everyone is treated equally and fairly. We do not accept appeals against the rejection of a proposal. If you are unhappy with your experience of Comic Relief and have genuine concerns about the way an assessment has been undertaken, or the general service provided, this should be dealt with through the complaints procedure.

Successful applications

If you're successful, we're going to contact you with all the information needed to get started.

More information on what's asked when receiving funding.

Documents required for applying

For two-stage processes (where we ask for a concept note before a full proposal)  we’ll only ask for the full documentation if you’re successful in reaching the second stage.

In the initial stages we will require you to:

  • Complete a proposal form on GEM (You can see an example of the full application form here)

At full proposal we’ll need the following documents:

  • Constitution/memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Most recent set of annual accounts
  • Most recent set of management accounts
  • Safeguarding policy
  • Diversity policy

Depending on the programme, we may also ask for an organisational development plan for your organisation. We will confirm whether this is required as part of the application guidance.


You may also find the following documents useful when planning your proposal:

Example proposal form (pdf, 402 KB) (please note that we only accept proposals through our funding making platform GEM) Partnership working in an international context (pdf, 259 KB) List of sports eligible for Sport for Change funding (pdf, 218 KB) (unless stated otherwise in the initiative’s guidance) Living Wage Friendly Funder (pdf, 211 KB)

For international funding proposals we also require the following for each of your partners:

Organisation development plan (doc, 29 KB)

About the project

Project budget. You must provide this in one of our financial templates, below. Proposals not submitted using the correct template will not be considered:

Monitoring, evaluation and learning plan (doc, 23 KB) (depends on the initiative – we will make this clear in the initiative’s guidance) Business case or market analysis (if your proposal is about social investment) Evaluation or latest report (if project has been funded previously)

If you’re planning work with partners, we’ll also need:

A compliance and financial assessment (doc, 29 KB) for each partner Your partner's most recent set of annual accounts

If your organisation is not based in the UK we will ask you to provide:

Registration documents Evidence of trustees e.g. board meeting minutes Evidence of accountant qualifications

surfers running to the beach

Need more help?

If you have any questions on your proposal please email us and we'll do our best to help you.