This guidance describes what Comic Relief is interested in funding now: any applications submitted outside of these criteria, without prior invitation, will be turned down at stage 1.
Type of organisation
Comic Relief predominantly funds registered charities. We will ask for evidence of registration during the application process.
We will always prioritise applications from organisations that are registered in the country where the work will take place. Applicants are welcome to include partner organisations not registered in the country, but must be able to clearly demonstrate the added value of all partner organisations included in the proposal.
Other types of organisations
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.
Organisations applying to work in India must be Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registered approval before they apply, as well as any partner organisations they expect to work with.
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 delivery of services that are normally government’s responsibility. The only exceptions would be when specific services are simply not in place, and are fundamental to delivering the programme’s results as specified in the call for proposals. In this case, low-cost alternatives can be used as an interim measure, along with a realistic plan for ensuring sustainability when the investment ends, for example through community ownership.
Any organisation (including sub-partners or individual members of staff) who appears on any of the following financial sanctions lists:
HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation – Financial sanctions: consolidated list of targets(opens in new window)
UK Home Office – Proscribed terrorist groups or organisations(opens in new window)
European Union – Consolidated list of sanctions(opens in new window)
United Nations – United Nations Security Council Sanctions List(opens in new window)
YOUR ORGANISATION’S ANNUAL INCOME
Unless otherwise stated, applications are welcome from organisations in the UK with a minimum annual income of £250,000 and a maximum of £10 million. For organisations outside the UK, the minimum income required is £75,000 and the maximum is £10 million. Please review the individual funding opportunities to see which countries are included. This figure should be based on the last set of annual accounts submitted to the relevant authority.
If you are in the process of submitting your annual accounts and will do so by the stage 2 deadline (or overarching deadline if it’s a single stage process), then we are happy to accept your proposal on this basis.
We cannot accept projected incomes. Our funding opportunities are very competitive, and we always receive far more applications than we can fund. It is therefore important that we have a simple and consistent way of assessing an organisation’s income level.
COUNTRIES WE FUND IN
We fund in: Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, all four nations of the United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Please review open funding opportunities to identify which countries are included in each call.
We prioritise funding applications direct from in-country delivery organisations. If you are not a direct delivery partner we expect to see clear evidence of how you are adding value, clear partnership roles and responsibilities, and defined power relationships.
RECENT COMIC RELIEF FUNDING
To give as many organisations as fair a chance as possible, organisations can only submit one proposal within any funding opportunity (though they can be named as partner organisations 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 award additional funding to organisations which have been in continuous funding for ten years or more.
WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP
We welcome applications working in partnership. Partner organisations can be outside of our size criteria and outside the countries we fund in. However, the lead applicant’s income must meet our income criteria. The income of several smaller organisations cannot be combined to meet the minimum income criteria. Please note that the guidance around the proportion of an organisation’s income applies to partner organisations as well as lead applicants.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR
When making funding decisions we're looking for organisations that are:
1. MATCHING OUR MISSION
We look to build a family of funded partners that share our vision for a Just World Free from Poverty and are working toward meaningful change in our four focus areas.
2. MAKING CHANGE AT DIFFERENT LEVELS
We are committed to learning about different types of change. Whilst it is essential that all the work we fund is or has been informed by a grassroots understanding of service delivery and issues on the ground, our funded partners will be at different stages of the change they are working towards. This means we invest in a broad portfolio of work which might include, for example; immediate service delivery work, grassroots activism and movement building, strategic litigation or longer-term whole-system change.
3. CENTRED AROUND PEOPLE
We are looking for partners who demonstrate a commitment to putting the people they seek to serve at the heart of how decisions are made. This means that we work with partners closest to the problems and with demonstrable input and accountability from those they work on behalf of.
4. RISK AWARE
We aim to develop trust-based relationships with our partners whilst developing and implementing robust governance, safeguarding and financial management practices.
5. LEARNING LED
We are committed to learning from the expertise and experience of the partners we fund. We want to work with organisations who have a culture that values evidence and learning, is committed to continual improvement and sharing what they learn on the journey to impact.
We believe that effective storytelling and narratives can change the world. We want to build partnerships which support and improve our own and others’ storytelling about the issues we work on. We care about investing in approaches where storytelling is rooted in the experience of those affected by the problems.