Application process steps
stage 1 proposal
Applicants submit a Stage 1 Proposal via our grant management system Salesforce saying what they want to do and the difference it will make.
Stage 2 Proposal
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit further information on their plans.
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.
How much money should you apply for?
Maximum amount to be applied for
In general we will not award funding to organisations that is more than an average of 2/3 of their annual income per year. For example, if an organisation has an income of £300,000 they could apply for up to £600,000 for a 3 year grant. We recognise organisations will need different amounts at different points in the work so will take this as an average across the time funding is being requested for
We will assess this 2/3 for each application you submit, based on your total income. At assessment stage any pre-existing funding from Comic Relief (and thus the proportion of funding Comic Relief would be providing to your organisational overall will be taken into account and discussed. The panel will use this information to make the final decision as one of the factors that will inform decision-making.
To calculate this figure we will use the income shown on your most recently submitted annual accounts submitted to the relevant authorities.
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 welcome requests for core funding for the majority of our calls. We need to know what we’re paying for, but we’re happy to consider a range of costs not directly linked to a specific project. This could include all kinds of running costs associated with doing the work you deliver on an everyday basis as well as organisational capacity building, staff training etc.
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.
Read more about our approach to the Living Wage here.
If you expect and plan to reclaim VAT for any costs associated with your funding application, don't include these costs in your funding proposal. In the event any irrecoverable VAT financed by the Funding becomes reclaimable, you will notify us immediately and repay us any VAT you recover.
Submitting the Stage 1 proposal
Unless otherwise stated, all proposals must be submitted through our grant management system, Salesforce.
More information on the questions asked when submitting a Stage 1 Proposal are detailed in the funding opportunity page.
Full application form
Applicants whose proposals are shortlisted will be asked to submit all documents and complete a full application form (Download an example application form here(opens in new window)).
Decisions are made by staff members, external experts and Comic Relief trustees based upon your proposal and our recommendations after assessment.
If your organisation has been funded by Comic Relief before, we will consider any previous fraud or safeguarding issues when considering your new application. Such previous incidents will not automatically exclude an organisation from future funding, though we may request additional information on any improvements to processes and the way risks are being managed effectively.
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.
If you're successful, we're going to contact you with all the information needed to get started.
Documents required for applying
For two-stage processes (where we ask for a stage 1 proposal 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 Salesforce
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 or other policies relating to the safety and protection of beneficiaries, staff and others connected with your work
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:
For international funding proposals we also require the following for each of your partners:
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(opens in new window))(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:
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