Blog: IT’S A NEW YEAR, AND WE HAVE SOME CHANGES TO OUR FUNDING CRITERIA By Sue Wicks, Head of Investments

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Funding eligibility may not the most exciting topic for a blog, but we know it’s a vital issue if you are seeking support from Comic Relief. 

Our aim is to move away from project-driven funding to making investments in organisations. This means we are trying to pay more attention to the needs of partner organisations, not just project outcomes, activities and expenses.  

As part of our new strategy, and our efforts for ongoing improvement, we’ve listened to feedback and are changing two key criteria and updating the wording on several other criteria. 

  • The figure we had set as a maximum proportion of funding (35%) is difficult to calculate and not in line with other funders 
  • Organisations outside the UK had difficulty in meeting the criteria of an existing annual income of at least £250,000
  • The wording of our criteria was not always as clear as it could be, leading to extra questions and confusion for applicants

Proportion of annual income (previously called “proportion of turnover”)

We will now fund no more than 40% of your organisation’s total income in any one year. This is an increase from what we’ve previously specified.  

 The 40% will apply to the percentage of your total new funding, after Comic Relief’s investment is added to other income your organisation receives.  

The simplest way of calculating the new maximum funding is to multiply last year’s income by two-thirds. The annual funding will come out to 40% of the new total.

New funding criteria example – percentage of annual income

A.  Annual income last year of Organisation A

£250,000

B.  Two-thirds of annual income

£166,667

C.  Years of funding requested

3

D.  Total funding request for three years = (B X C )

£500,000 

unless this is higher than the maximum available per application

If the application is successful, Organisation A’s new annual income will be as follows:

 

Amount

Percentage 

of total income

Current funding continues at:

£250,000

60%

Comic Relief funding:

£166,667

40%

Forecast: average income per year:

£416,667

100%

This will apply to the average annual funding - so we will consider budgets that have higher amounts in some years, as long as the average annual funding is within the new 40% limit.

This limit applies to the overall funding amount for your organisation and includes any funding distributed to partners. We will still use your latest annual accounts filed with the relevant authorities to calculate the annual funding you can apply for.  

Your organisation’s annual income (previously called “size of organisation”)

Except when stated otherwise, we welcome applications from organisations with a maximum annual income of £10m in the UK or outside the UK. This has not changed. 

However, our minimum income level for organisations outside the UK is now £75,000. The minimum figure of £250,000 remains the same for UK organisations. 

For example, if an organisation in Malawi has an income of £75,000 it is eligible to apply. The maximum funding request can be for an average of £50,000 per year.  This will give a new income of £125,000.  

New funding criteria for organisations outside the UK – annual income of at least £75,0000

A.  Annual income last year

£75,000

B.  Two-thirds of annual income

£50,000

C.  Years of funding requested

3

D.  Total funding request for three years = (B X C)

£150,000 unless that is higher than the maximum available

Again, this will be the maximum both for overall grant amount applied for by you, but also includes any funding distributed to partners.  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.  

We’re aiming to be a predictable and consistent funder in a world that fluxes and changes daily. But we want to keep learning and make the application journey as smooth as possible, so will keep listening to your feedback and making changes where we can.