How to get funding and support from businesses

Grants from companies can often involve a less rigorous application process and lighter-touch monitoring than funding through charitable trusts, but this doesn’t always mean it’s easier to access. As many of them promote their grants heavily through local branches, lots of people know about them and give it a go. It also often requires gaining public support, so you have to actively encourage your friends, family and supporters to vote online or in store.

Here are a run down of companies that currently have grants available, but this isn’t an exhaustive list. Companies often choose to support organisations that work in areas where they have branches, so if in doubt, just pop in and ask!

Waitrose and John Lewis Community Matters

  • What? Support for local community groups
  • How Much? A share of £1000 in Waitrose / a share of £3000 in John Lewis
  • When? Ongoing, but there is often a long waiting list to be the chosen charities
  • How? Go in store to pick up a nomination form. Customers vote with tokens they receive when shopping.
  • What else? John Lewis and Waitrose encourage partner (employee) volunteering, so if you have a big one-off job that a team of people could help with, it could be worth asking – building up this kind of relationship may also help you secure funding.

B&Q Waste Donation Scheme

  • What? B&Q aren’t offering money, but they are offering surplus products that they are unable to sell. B&Q can donate items such as slightly damaged tins of paint, off-cuts of timber, broken tiles for mosaic projects.
  • When? Ongoing
  • How? Go into the store and ask to speak to the duty manager
  • What else? They also run workshops in-store for children and adults on a range of DIY and craft activities.

Nationwide

  • What? A Community fund to support projects near to local branches
  • When? Ongoing
  • How? Fill out the form online your.nationwide.co.uk/nominate-a-charity then the public get to vote.
  • What else? No specific criteria but Nationwide favour causes linked to housing, financial education and money management.

Many companies either offer in-kind support (skills, people or things rather than money) or employees choose the charities – so it’s worth checking with friends of family if they work for companies that have charitable giving schemes.

  • Natwest has both match funding for employees own fundraising activities and grants for projects staff are involved with.
  • InKindDirect is a website where you can order surplus goods from companies. You have to join, then anything you order is free.
  • Google Grants are in-kind support from Google to help you improve your web rating by offering paid-for Google services for free.
  • Sainsburys – Earn as you shop – You get a charity portal, give the link to everyone you know, they shop on Sainsbury’s online through the portal and at the end of the year, you receive 4% of everything spent!
  • Connect Reading acts as a bridge between local businesses and the voluntary sector, providing support for corporate volunteering and redistributing donated office equipment among other things.

Most large companies will have a strategy for ‘giving back’ to the community in some way. The best way to start is to find out what they do then approach them through the right channels. If it’s a smaller company, find out if they have chosen charities of the year (often decided by employees) or try to approach friends and family who work for local businesses to approach them on your behalf.

To search regularly for funding opportunities for charitable trusts and corporate funding, and to receive a monthly digest of current funding available locally, sign up to GrantNet through Reading Borough Council http://beta.reading.gov.uk/fundraising.

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