Frequently Asked Questions

Your query is probably more common than you think; you might find the answer you’re looking for below.

If the answer to your question is not below please contact us.

    What do you fund?

    We fund a wide range of strategic work. This is work that benefits more than individuals and has the potential to create a step change in policy, practice, attitudes and/or behaviour. It includes policy work, campaigning, research, public attitudinal work, and improving practice and design.

    We are interested in funding issues, where we can add value. In particular, where there is limited funding available and there is a clear niche for the Foundation. We do not fund direct delivery of services, unless this is testing and evaluating a new approach which has good potential to lead to wider change and be of significant benefit. We will also fund evaluations of existing initiatives that have not been evaluated.

    Funding will usually be for a specific project and sometimes for on-going costs. This includes staff salaries and overheads. We encourage organisations to include a reasonable amount of core costs to cover their overheads when they apply for funding. Overall we plan to award around £2million each year.

    back to top

    Who do you fund?

    We fund organisations undertaking charitable activities. You do not need to be a registered charity. We expect all organisations we fund to have a governing body, with at least three non-executive directors/trustees. We will fund a wide range of organisations including voluntary organisations, think tanks, campaigning groups, research bodies and universities.

    We are also able to partner with other funders, government, employers and regulators in jointly funding relevant work.

    Please see our Funding Guidelines.

    back to top

    What is financial well-being?

    Financial well-being is about people’s ability to meet their financial commitments – having enough income for more than just life’s essentials, not struggling to make ends meet. It also means having the capacity to cope financially in the future, including the ability to deal with financial shocks, and having enough saved for retirement. We want everyone to feel more in control and confident over their finances.

    Many people on low-to-middle incomes face financial difficulties and struggle to cope. Change is needed at a structural and an individual level, to help improve financial well-being.

    back to top

    When can I apply?

    We have two closing dates each year. Our next funding deadline is 3 June 2019 at 1pm. The one after this is 4 February 2020 at 1pm.

    We accept applications at any time, but only consider them once the next deadline is passed. For example if you send an application in November, we won’t consider it until our 4 February deadline.

    It takes around four months from the application deadline to a decision from our trustees.

    back to top

    How do I apply?

    We are keen to ensure our application process is open and accessible. We do not require you to fill out lengthy forms - your outline application just needs to provide a clear, concise and compelling proposal, outlining details of your organisation and its achievements, why the work is needed and what it is expected to achieve. Your outline must demonstrate that the proposed work fits with at least one of our funding programmes and meets a number of the shortlisting priorities (outlined in our Funding Guidelines - pg 12).

    Your outline application must stand alone to make your case, without any need for us to undertake further research or to follow up references in order to judge your application. Occasionally we may contact you for further clarification regarding your proposed work.

    Information on how to structure your application is in our Funding Guidelines (pgs 16-17).

    back to top

    What is excluded from funding?

    The full list of exclusions is listed on page 13 of our Funding Guidelines.

    back to top

    How much can I apply for?

    There is no minimum or maximum size of grant. The amount you request should be the amount you need. It’s likely our grants will range between £10,000 and £250,000, with most between £50,000 to £150,000 in total. Few grants will be more than £150,000.

    The amounts may be spread over one, two or three years, and sometimes for shorter periods. For example, if you are awarded a grant of £60,000, this could be £20,000 each year over three years, or £40,000 in the first year and £20,000 in the second.

    We sometimes cannot fund the full cost of a project and you may need to raise funds from other sources, especially if you are seeking a grant which is above the average amount we award.

    back to top

    Can I hold more than one grant from you at a time?

    Generally, we do not provide more than one grant to a single organisation at a time, and we do not consider more than one outline application from any single organisation at a time.

    back to top

    Will you fund core costs?

    We encourage organisations to include a reasonable amount of core costs to cover their overheads when they apply for funding.

    back to top

    Do you fund individuals?

    No. We fund organisations undertaking charitable activities. You do not need to be a registered charity. We expect all organisations we fund to have a governing body, with at least three non-executive directors/trustees. We will fund a wide range of organisations including voluntary organisations, think tanks, campaigning groups, research bodies and universities.

    back to top

    Can I talk to you about my idea before submitting an application?

    Please read our Funding Guidelines first. If you think your project would be a good fit we’d be happy to talk to you about your idea. In the first instance contact us on 0131 2451089.

    back to top

    If my application is unsuccessful when can I apply again?

    We do not accept applications from organisations who have been rejected by us in the last 12 months.

    back to top

    Will you fund work outside the UK?

    Our remit is UK-wide and we do not fund work which is outside the UK. It is likely that most of the organisations we fund will be based in the UK.

    We are particularly keen to support work in Scotland, including UK-wide work which has a Scottish dimension to it. There are specific issues relating to geography, with some regions and areas of the UK faring better than others, which we aim to address through the work we fund.

    We are interested in learning lessons from other areas (from within and outside the UK) and how good ideas and practice can potentially be replicated in the UK, and lessons shared here. Our aim is not to transfer policies from one place or sector to another but to translate the learning in a way others can act upon in a way that is appropriate to the situation and circumstances in the UK. We are also interested in international comparisons and how the UK fares in relation to other countries.

    back to top

    Can I apply if I don’t have a set of annual accounts?

    We expect most organisations that apply to us to have some track record and received some form of funding. However, you may be new and have a great idea. If that is the case, you will need as a minimum a bank account for your organisation and you’ll need to provide us with some management accounts of your activity.

    back to top

    What is the Foundation’s relationship with Standard Life Aberdeen?

    Our funds are provided by unclaimed assets from Standard Life’s demutualisation, which were donated to the Foundation in 2017. The company also supports us through in-kind donations of office space and professional support.

    Decisions about our strategy and what we fund are made by our independent board of trustees. Three of our ten trustees are appointed by, and are employees of, Standard Life Aberdeen. Whilst we are a subsidiary of the company, it respects our right to create our own strategy and to speak out about the social issues we are seeking to address.

    back to top