How we make decisions




Projects review our funding information to see what we’re looking to fund and if it matches up what they want to do.

Proposal submitted


Concept note

Applicants submit a concept note online telling us what they can do, how, why, how much money they need, and the difference it will make. 

Proposal review


Full application

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. 

Application process

We receive many more applications than we’re able to fund, so please take a careful look at what we fund, details of the funding opportunity, the application guidance or use our eligibility checker before you apply. 

Unless otherwise stated, all proposals must be submitted through our grant management system, GEM. For guidance on how to use GEM, take a look here. You can find more information on what documents you’ll need for a full application here.

As well as the general guidance, there is also guidance for each programme which you can refer to as you work through the application form on GEM. If you have any questions on your proposal please email and we'll do our best to help you.

Applicants whose concept notes are shortlisted will be asked to complete a full application form.

Successful applicants at this stage will have a compliance check undertaken, and an assessment meeting scheduled, where the proposal will be discussed in depth and assessed on its strengths and weaknesses. Decisions are made by staff members, external experts and Comic Relief trustees based upon your proposal and our recommendations after assessment.

When we inform you about unsuccessful proposals, we will let you know whether we’re able to give more detailed feedback at this stage or not. 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.