Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Applying online

  • I want to log back in to continue working on my application, where has it gone?

    When you choose to ‘save and resume later’, a link will appear on the page and be emailed to you, which will enable you to return to the application form. You must do this within 30 days or the application form will be lost. We are not able to access incomplete or lost application forms, and so we advise saving the answers to your questions, and any attachments, locally as well.

  • The attachments have not been saved

    Attachments will not be saved between sessions, and so should be attached in your final session, before you submit your application.

  • Can I attach more documents (e.g. a business plan) to my application?

    We only require the information requested, and additional supplementary information may be requested at a later stage if needed. However, if you wish to submit anything additional and see it as necessary in order to understand your work, then you can email this to us directly.

  • I am struggling to attach my files

    This may be due to either the format of the file, or the size. If you have any difficulties submitting large files, then contact us directly as we can arrange for you to email these if necessary.

Funding and eligibility

  • If my income is less than £150,000 or greater than £1.5 million can I still apply?

    For our open programme we require three year’s financial information, all three years need to be showing a minimum income of £150,000 and be under the upper threshold of £1.5 million. This would include:

    - Most recent audited accounts;

    - If these are more than one year old, a set of management accounts for the subsequent financial year;

    - An income and expenditure budget for the financial year that you are applying in;

    - If there is less than six months left of the current financial year, a forecast income and expenditure budget, if possible, showing what is secured/unsecured for the coming financial year.

    If you are not sure if you are eligible, please contact the team.

  • We are not a registered charity, can we apply for a grant?

    Open programme grants can only be made to charities registered in the UK with either the Charity Commission (England and Wales), OSCR (Scotland) or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

  • My charity has recently been established – can we apply?

    Our open programme requires organisations to have one year published accounts on the charity commission, and meet the minimum income threshold of £150,000. If your organisation can meet those requirements, you can apply to us.

    See also If my income is less than £150,000 or greater than £1.5 million, can I still apply? For financial eligibility.

  • What do you mean by charities with large national links?

    We mean charities that may be registered separately from the national or international charity that bears the same name, but which exist in many locations, such as Citizens Advice. While we recognise that there is excellent work being carried out, we cannot normally fund such charities as we do not have the capacity to fund applications from every local organisation that may apply.

  • My project is part of a larger charity, can I apply?

    We recognise that structures can look very different, and sometimes a local or specific project forms a part of a broader organisation. While you may be able to apply, the overall organisation will still have to meet the eligibility criteria (e.g. within the turnover guidelines). The project should form a significant strand of the organisation’s work.

    Please note, while these applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, given demand on the open programme from sole/single priority focused organisations, it is unusual that such an application would be prioritised.

    Please also note FAQ My organisation has merged with, been acquired by, or forms part of a larger charity, can I still apply? And My project is a legal clinic at a university, am I eligible to apply?

  • My organisation’s work includes a large percentage of individuals from the communities that A B Charitable Trust funding supports, but is not targeted specifically at this group, can we apply?

    Applications are most likely to be successful where the entirety, or large majority, of activities are directly targeted towards communities that fall within the scope of our priority areas.

    For example, if your organisation works on housing, and a proportion of this work supports individuals seeking asylum this is less likely to be funded than an organisation which specifically support people seeking asylum with housing needs.

    The same would apply for those who have come into contact with the prison system. A housing organisation which supports those coming out of the prison system as part of their broader work, is less likely to be successful than an organisation working wholly with people upon release from prison.

  • Only part of our work fits within your priority areas, are we eligible?

    Applicants are most likely to be successful when their sole focus is the priority area, although we accept applications where it forms a significant strand of work and the organisation can show they are best placed to deliver the work.

  • We have very low, or very high free reserves, will we be successful?

    During assessment, we will look at financial health and assessing appropriate reserves levels will play a part in this. There is an opportunity in the financial section of the application form to add extra detail and so if you think your level of reserves may raise questions then do add context here. We may also get in contact during the assessment process to discuss this in more depth.

  • More information on how we define specialist legal advice

    We define specialist legal advice as relating to the resolution of a legal problem where the advice is tailored to the individual’s circumstances. This would normally include end-to-end casework (where you take action on behalf of the client to move the case on) through to representation. It would not normally include one-off interventions, unless your organisation is a particular expert in an area of law.

    The provision of advice regulated by OISC (at Level 3), the SRA, BSB or CILEX (through an employed solicitor, barrister or Chartered Legal Executive with a current practising certificate), or their Scottish/Northern Ireland equivalent, or delivered via a legal aid contract will automatically be treated as being specialist advice.

  • I deliver specialist legal advice as part of my broader work, am I eligible?

    We are looking to fund organisations where most of their work falls within our priority areas. Therefore, your application is most likely to be successful if your work routinely involves delivering specialist legal advice (usually casework) through to representation level, or if you are the expert in a specialist area of law. If this is a smaller proportion of your total work then your application is less likely to be successful, even if you apply for a project. Please include information in your application about the percentage of your work that can accurately be described as specialist legal advice.

  • My organisation has merged with, been acquired by, or forms part of a larger charity, can I still apply?

    We do receive applications from organisations that sit within a larger ‘parent’ charity (which may fall outside the open programme income parameters) via our open programme. These are considered on a case-by-case basis. When an application like this is received, we run through a series of questions around the independence of the subsidiary, decision-making, the size and focus of the parent, and how it fits overall with our priority areas.

    If your organisation is in the process of or considering merging with another organisation at the time of application, this should be flagged in your application to us.

    Please note, while these applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, given demand on the open programme, it is unusual that such an application would be prioritised.

    Please also note FAQ My project is part of a charity with a broader focus, can I apply and My project is a legal clinic at a university, am I eligible to apply?

  • My project is a legal clinic at a university, am I eligible to apply?

    We generally do not accept applications from projects/legal clinics within universities. Where this is the case, it is via invitation only as universities fall outside the scope of the open programme parameters.

    Please also note FAQ My project is part of a charity with a broader focus, can I apply? And My organisation has merged with, been acquired by, or forms part of a larger charity, can I still apply?

  • A B Charitable Trust does not fund ‘the promotion of religion’ – my organisation is rooted in religious values, can I apply?

    We recognise that many organisations may be rooted in religious values and this would not make you ineligible to apply. However, we do not fund organisations that promote religion. If you have the promotion/advancement of religion in your constitution, you are not eligible to apply; where this is not specifically outlined in your constitution, but as part of your work you do promote religion and religious teachings, you are also not eligible to apply.

  • A B Charitable Trust’s anchor programme supports specialist infrastructure. What does this mean?

    Our anchor programme supports specialist infrastructure organisations. By specialist we mean organisations that work within our identified priority areas. We do not fund ‘generalist’ infrastructure organisations.

    A B Charitable Trust understands ‘infrastructure organisation’ to encompass ‘umbrella’ organisations, and those that provide ‘second tier support’, including: providing organisational and skills/knowledge development; network organisations; supporting convening; coalition building and collaborative influencing; providing expert advice to other organisations; and supporting and platforming organisations.

    Our understanding of infrastructure also includes organisations creating the foundations for social action and an enabling environment for change in the areas that we work in – movement generous organisations, laying the path for change and building for the future, including for example, community organising, movement building, narrative change, and defence of civic space.

  • What do you mean by the Human Rights Framework?

    Human rights are a broad and constantly evolving concept. By the Human Rights framework, we refer widely recognised statements of human rights, including work rooted in:

    • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent United Nations conventions and declarations;

    • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

    • the European Convention on Human Rights

    • the Human Rights Act 1998.

  • What is an example of work supported under the human rights framework priority?

    Through this strand, we support organisations that, for example:

    • Focus on advocacy and campaigning around human rights legislation and application in the UK;

    • Undertaking legal representation and litigation for victims of human rights abuses;

    • Supporting individuals, communities and statutory bodies to understand their human rights.

    We do not support organisation focused on single human rights, for example, work around freedom of expression.

    We do not support organisations focused on human rights for particular communities, for example organisations supporting the human rights of women.

Making an application

  • Is my work likely to be funded?

    A B Charitable Trust limited funds and each application is considered alongside the other applications that come in at any particular time. Any organisation may apply if they believe their work fits the criteria and guidelines published on the website. We often have high numbers of applications from organisations which fit our priorities but due to demand are unable to fund everything which is eligible. You may find it useful to look at our page on ‘how we make decisions’.

    The proportion of applications that we are able to fund can be found on our apply page.

  • Do I stand a greater chance of getting funding if I apply for a project rather than for core funding?

    If your work fits within A B Charitable Trust’s priorities, then applying for a project rather than core costs will not improve your chances. We understand organisations need unrestricted funding and the majority of our open programme grants are unrestricted. It is our preference to provide unrestricted funding as much as possible so please don’t create a project for the sake of this application, but feel free to put forward a project if this would be preferable for your organisation at the current time.

  • Can we be considered for a multi-year grant?

    We recognise that multi-year grants are best practice in grant giving, as they provide increased stability and efficiency to our partner organisations. Our multi-year grants are usually made over two, three or five years, depending on the funding stream. This will usually cover either an organisation’s core costs, or a project which is expected to run over a number of years.

    Going forwards, we aim for the vast majority (75%-100%) of our Open Programme grants to be multi-year (typically across three years).

  • How much money should I request in our online application? If I ask for too much or too little, will that affect my chances of receiving a grant?

    The amount requested on your application will not affect the Directors’ decision on making a grant to your charity. The Directors have given amounts both larger and smaller than those requested by applicants. It is for you to decide how much you want to apply for, in light of your work and what you want us to fund.

    Information on the size of grants in our open programme is available on our apply page.

  • We work across more than one of your priorities, which should we choose?

    We ask you to choose one priority to apply under, which feels the most appropriate. This will not affect your chances of success.

  • What do you mean by your application form question ‘how does the organisation reflect the communities you work with’?

    This question aims to give us a snapshot of how your organisation reflects the communities* you work with, and how you incorporate the views of people you work with to steer the direction of the organisation. For example, this could include representation among your trustees/staff, seeking and responding to feedback, training volunteers from the community, developing services based on needs identified by those you work with etc.

    We recognise that this will look different for every organisation, and the relevance of the question could depend on your area of work. This question is to get a sense of your organisation’s thinking in this area.

    We do not expect your answer to be longer than a couple of sentences or short paragraph.

    * Community could include, for example, a geographical or local community, an ethnic or racialised community, a community of a particular nationality, a community with another shared identity (e.g., sexual orientation or gender), or shared interest based on marginalisation.

  • Can I call and discuss an application with you before I apply?

    We are always happy to discuss potential applications. You can reach us via email or the number at the bottom of our website. Before you get in touch, please check our guidance on the apply page, as the answer to your question may be available there.

  • When will I hear back about my application?

    Our Directors meet quarterly. We aim for all applicants to receive a letter to confirm the decision in approximately 3 months after the application deadline they have applied for.

Unsuccessful applicants

Holding a grant

  • What is the time frame on receiving our payment once the grant is approved?

    Payments are made monthly, towards the end of each month. Prior to payment of an approved grant, we require all grant agreement requirements to be met (including any paperwork, or conditions associated with the grant). Where possible we will make the payment as close as possible to the agreed start date of the grant.

  • We already have a grant from A B Charitable Trust – can we apply for another?

    Partner organisations can only hold one open programme grant at a time. This does not apply to special initiatives or the anchor programme, but we would carefully consider why we would give two grants to one organisation rather than supporting two organisations. Any second grant would not be additional unrestricted funding but for a project or piece of work. If this is something you would like to discuss, please contact the team.

  • Do staff or Board members come out to visit?

    We try to visit partner organisations when we can, although this is more likely once you are holding a grant. We rarely visit as part of the application process and view visits to organisations as a good learning opportunity for us.

  • When can I reapply following my grant?

    There is no required fallow period and you can reapply towards the end of your current grant. You can apply for the deadline 12 months after the last deadline you applied to.

    Although there is no fallow period and you have previously been successful in applying to us, this does not guarantee that your next application will be successful.

  • A B Charitable Trust requests that grantholders update on organisational changes. What does this mean?

    We expect grantholders to keep us updated on significant changes within your organisation. This is to ensure that we can support you in the best way possible, and also that we fulfil our own financial and governance requirements.

    Significant organisational changes could encompass a range of things and the below list is intended to give some examples of what these might be. If you are in any doubt, please contact the team.

    Examples of organisational changes that we would expect to be informed of:

    • Regulatory issues – for example, intervention from the Charity Commission;

    • Allegations of malpractice;

    • Major change of strategic direction;

    • Funding crises and/or risk of closure;

    • Departure of key staff, including for example the CEO/Director;

    • Significant negative media attention on the organisation;

    • Instances of fraud (both by internal and external actors);

    • The organisation is merging with, or acquiring, another organisation (either as parent or subsidiary).

    We understand that our partners are under significant pressure, and that organisational changes can add to this, but we ask that you inform us at the earliest stage that is possible.

  • Are there any branding requirements for your partners, or requirements to publicly announce the grant?

    No, we don’t have any branding requirements for our partners, nor do we require that you acknowledge the grant publicly. If you choose to announce the grant publicly or list the grant on your website and require a copy of ABCT’s logo, then please get in contact and we can provide this in a variety of formats.

  • What non-financial support are you able to provide?

    We do not have a standardised offer for non-financial support (sometimes referred to as ‘funder plus’). However, we may offer support where a grantholder identifies a need and approaches us, or where a need is identified during an application or the course of a grant.

About ABCT

  • Where does your funding come from?

    ABCT’s money is donated to us annually by the Bonavero family, and is then donated directly on to the organisations and initiatives we support, so ABCT doesn’t have any investments of its own.

    Accordingly, we have no investment strategy or policy.

    The Bonavero family’s wealth broadly comes from Yves Bonavero’s entrepreneurial ventures, of which the biggest is a listed residential developer in Poland, but also includes a range of other enterprises. More information can be found on Yves Bonavero’s biography, and on the Woodsford Consulting website.