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Lush Charity Pot: full guidelines

We like to look after those who look after others, and we are committed to supporting small, grassroots groups and other non-profit organisations working in the following areas:

  • Environment
  • Animal protection
  • Human rights (including equality, peace and social justice)

All applications within these fields will be considered irrespective of their geographical location or how the organisation is registered, however we will not support an organisation that:

  • Promotes or supports violence, aggression or oppression towards others (we will only support non-violent direct action groups)
  • Denies the human rights of others;
  • Is involved in cruelty or subjugation of animals, including farming, tests or research
  • Forces or coerces others to change their religious beliefs
  • Harbours racism, prejudice or judges others on anything other than their own actions
  • Has not made every effort to be environmentally responsible

We have thought very carefully about which causes we want to help and how we can make the most impact with our funding; the following information is provided to help you ascertain whether your project is what we're looking for. Please read these guidelines very carefully before applying; if you have any questions please email [email protected].

We are sorry that we are not able to offer feedback on rejected applications. We receive a lot of applications a year and simply cannot fund them all, and do not have the capacity to give reasons. If your application is rejected, please consider applying again. A rejection may simply mean that we cannot afford to support the project that month, not that we don’t support what you do.

Which organisations do you fund?

The majority of our funding is allocated to small, grassroots groups that are often best placed to make a real difference with limited resources and often struggle to find funding. Almost all the groups we fund have annual incomes of less than £250,000 and most are substantially smaller than this and run entirely or predominantly by volunteers. If your organisation is in the fortunate position of having many supporters and corporate sponsors or able to secure mainstream funding such as government grants, you're probably not one for us.

We believe we can make the most impact by funding causes that are often overlooked by other funders, therefore we give priority to less popular issues which are more difficult to raise funds for. The most popular causes tend to be health charities (medical research, hospices etc), social welfare, religious causes, children/ young people and military related causes, so these aren't a priority for us. We're looking for organisations that take on issues that others don't, those that push the boundaries and challenge mainstream opinion.

We support non-violent direct action groups because we feel it plays an important part in bringing about social change. Non-violent direct action includes protests and demonstrations, non-cooperation and other non-violent interventions. We will only consider supporting non-violent direct action groups, i.e. those which have no intention of physically harming others or threatening to do so. We do not fund actions that may break the law nor will we pay for anything to facilitate law breaking.

However, we may wish to support those who use peaceful civil disobedience by helping with costs of communications, for instance, as we strongly support the right to free speech.

We don't fund religious organisations, schools, councils, student expeditions or academic studies neither do we contribute to sponsored walks or other fundraising initiatives or sponsor events.

We also don’t fund individuals. You will have to apply for a group and the money must be paid into a group bank account. We cannot put money into an individual’s bank account, for obvious reasons.

Which projects do you fund?

As a campaigning company we particularly look for projects that create long-term change. Whilst we appreciate and understand the need for projects that care for or rehabilitate those in need (whether that's people, animals or the planet) we also feel it’s crucially important to fund projects that aim to stop the abuse from happening in the first place by addressing the root cause of the problem. For example, we would prefer to fund a project that aims to stop deforestation (e.g. by challenging the palm oil industry) over one that aims to plant trees to restore an area that’s already been deforested.

We therefore prioritise funding to projects which aim to change opinion and behaviour through raising awareness of issues, activism, education and campaigning, particularly because this kind of work is not well funded elsewhere. We're looking for initiatives that reach beyond those directly involved in the project; those that have the potential to benefit many rather than just a few individuals. However, we do also fund projects that provide aid and support where needed, such as animal shelters and refugee support and advice groups.

As well as challenging harmful practices it's important to support positive alternatives. Therefore, we also look for projects that promote and implement viable, fair and sustainable solutions to the world's problems.

We get a lot of applications for legal challenges but our experience has shown that this is not a good use of our funding. We will only consider funding legal actions if you have a favourable barrister’s opinion, and can demonstrate the national importance of your case.

Key principles

We fund organisations and projects in line with our values. Some of our key principles are as follows:

Animals: All our events and meetings are catered vegetarian/ vegan; we won't fund any food costs unless the same applies and likewise won’t support farming projects involving animals. We do not agree with the culling of animals for conservation or keeping wild animals in captivity, including captive breeding programmes, the exception being wildlife sanctuaries where animals cannot be released in to the wild due to injury.  We also only support animal sanctuaries that have a no-destruction policy. We also do not fund rehoming projects where the animals are going to another country.

Use of paper: We only use 100% recycled post-consumed paper for our printed materials so we wouldn't fund printing of leaflets etc if this isn't also the case. However, we do also recognise that in some countries recycled paper is not widely available and will make a decision on this on a case-by-case basis.

Flights: We do our best to minimise flights at Lush, we have a self-imposed Carbon Tax on international flights which we use to fund sustainable transport and climate change related projects and campaigns. Therefore, we are unlikely to fund flights except where absolutely necessary. We will consider alternative travel costs.

Climate change strategies: We do not support market-based solutions to climate change, such as carbon trading, carbon offsetting, clean development mechanism or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

Projects overseas: We are keen to fund projects overseas, however, these projects should be run by local people; applications from organisations based in the Hong Kong but working overseas will need to show clearly that direction is taken from local people. Due to it being more difficult for us to check out overseas projects, we require at least one reference from an international NGO that your group works with, and their email address should be for that NGO, not a gmail or yahoo account.  We do not accept references from funders, only international NGOs, as we wish to see your connections with the wider campaigning community.

Top tips for successful applications

  1. We prioritise campaigning over core funding
  2. We favour project costs over salaries and core costs
  3. We like focused, well defined projects
  4. A clear, detailed Budget is essential
  5. We prioritise projects that find it hard to attract funding elsewhere
  6. We favour groups that are environmentally responsible
  7. We prioritise voluntary groups over salaried groups
  8. It is useful to know what you could do with less money, if we cannot give the full amount
  9. Supply clear project activities – what will you DO?

Common reasons for rejection

  1. The application is waffly and it is difficult to grasp what it is you do and want to achieve
  2. The Budget is inadequate or unconvincing. Cost everything out, and do not inflate your costs
  3. The application is for salaries, not project costs 
  4. Your organisation is religious
  5. Your project does not challenge the causes of injustice, animal abuse or environmental destruction
  6. Your project would be likely to attract mainstream support elsewhere and is easy to attract funding for
  7. You do not give a group bank account (we cannot pay into individual’s accounts)

 

If you have any question about the Charity Pot funding, please refer to FAQ article here.

Chinese translation by Candy Cheung.

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