How do I apply for a grant from Charity Pot?
To apply for a Charity Pot grant you will need to complete a new funding application form. To request an application form, please send an email to [email protected] with the subject "Application Form Request". In your email please give a brief description of your organisation and the project you'd like funding for (no more than a couple of paragraphs). We will respond as soon as we can.
Do you have any deadlines for applications?
No, you can apply at any time. Please note that typically we assess applications monthly. We would recommend that you apply for projects that start no less than 3 months after the submission of the application.
When will I know if my application is successful?
We aim to let you know if your application has been short-listed or not within 6-8 weeks, after it has been reviewed by a panel. We then check references which can take a further couple of weeks, depending on how quickly your references respond (choose them carefully, as this part of the process can often take the longest). The panel may also have further questions about your application. If your application is urgent please make this clear in your application form. Please note that applications received in November and December may take longer to assess, as this is our busiest time of year as a business.
How much can I apply for?
Our support ranges from a couple thousands to a maximum of HK$120,000 per project. However we rarely give out HK$120,000 as that means we can only fund a few projects. Our average grant is around HK$40,000 to HK$70,000.
My organisation is not a registered charity, does that matter?
No, we fund all types of organisations; it is not necessary to be a registered charity. Our focus is to support small, volunteer run grassroots groups and particularly campaign groups, which are often unable to register as charity yet play an important role in society.
Do you fund projects outside the HK?
Yes, we fund projects all around the world. If your project is in or close to another Lush country which has a Charity Pot scheme, we may refer you on to them. We have Charity Pot schemes in 35 different countries now including the UK, most of Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and South Africa. You can find contact details for them at www.lush.com. For projects overseas we require at least one of your references to be from a known international NGO you work with, with an official work email address (see below).
Can I apply for core costs/general running costs?
Yes, you can apply for core/ general running costs so long as you give a detailed breakdown of those costs. Although we prefer to fund project costs, we realise that without core costs covered an organisation cannot operate at all so we do consider applications with core costs included.
Can I apply for salary costs?
We prefer to direct our funding to voluntary campaigning (which struggles to attract funding) and we very rarely fund salaries. We simply cannot afford to pay salaries for all those campaigning and it would be unfair to pay salaries for some, and not for others. We feel our limited funds are best spent on supporting the underfunded voluntary groups.
Do you fund films?
Generally we don't fund feature length films apart from exceptional cases. When we do fund films this would be as a donation rather than investment in the film and we'd expect the project to be a non-profit venture. We would like to see evidence of plans for any film produced that demonstrate it will be useful and widely viewed.
Do you sponsor events?
We have a policy against paid advertising so we do not sponsor events. However, we are willing to consider giving a donation towards the costs of running an event if its aim falls in to one of our three focus areas. Please note that as public events would usually attract hundreds of participants these projects tend to have a much better opportunity for raising funds than many of those we are asked to support and our priority is to help those projects which need our help the most.
Do you fund individuals?
No, we usually only support organisations and projects. We do not pay grants into an individual’s account either, and you will need a group bank account (see below).
Do you fund start-ups and new organisations?
Yes. We recognise that many new organisations and start-ups struggle to find the funds they need to get up on their feet and we like to give people a chance to make a difference. We ask that you provide references for, and track records of, the main individuals involved in the organisation, which we can use to assess the application.
If my project costs more than HK$120,000.00, can I apply for part of the costs?
Yes, you can apply for funding towards a project with a total budget of over HK$120,000, but we prefer to fund small projects. We would need to see evidence of how you plan to raise the remainder of the project cost. If the total budget is substantially over HK$120,000 we may ask you to come back again once you have raised the balance of the funds.
Can I apply for more than one project?
Yes, you can do this and can include all projects on the same application form so long as each has a detailed budget, and the total is under HK$120,000. However, the funding panels may choose to fund only one or some of the projects.
Does it matter if we don’t have a bank account for our organisation?
We prefer to fund organisations that show commitment to their project by setting up a bank account. However if this is not possible or time scales do not allow it, we may consider paying the donation in to an account of another organisation that you work closely with. We do not pay money into individual’s accounts, for obvious reasons.
Please ensure all your account details are correct. Many applications have incorrect bank details which causes a huge administrative burden on Charity Pot staff, delays your application, and costs us in bank charges. We will reject all applications with incorrect bank details, so it is your responsibility to get these crucial details right.
How do you decide who to fund?
As above, there are certain organisations and projects we prioritise for funding. We will use the application form to assess the project and will also ask for two references (see below). Our funding panels will short list, based on our priorities to fund grassroots campaigning. If your application is rejected, it may mean we were particularly heavily subscribed that month, not that we don’t support your project. Please consider applying again.
Which individuals/organisations would be considered suitable referees?
Referees should be as unbiased as possible and independent of your organisation. They should also have some experience and expertise in the area in which you work, for example, your printing company may know you well as individuals but probably aren’t best positioned to vouch for the quality and integrity of your work. As a small team, we are unable to visit all the groups we support or are considering supporting; therefore good referees are crucial. However choose them carefully as referees can often delay the approval of funds by weeks/months if they don’t appreciate the urgency of your application. We will notify you if you have been short listed, so you can alert your references to expect an email or phone call from us.
We will no longer be accepting applications for groups overseas unless you can supply at least one reference from a known international NGO, with a work email address, such as International Rivers, Amazon Watch, Friends of the Earth International (including member groups), Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Foundation, Survival International, War on Want, Global Justice Now, Oil Watch, World Society for the Protection of Animals, International Animal Rescue. They must have an organisational NGO email address, i.e not a gmail or yahoo address. Please note we do not accept references from funders.
If my application is successful, what will my organisation need to do to acknowledge Lush's support?
Nothing; we are happy to help and don't expect anything in return. However if you feel it would be beneficial to you to use our logo on your website or send out a press release about our donation, please always discuss this with us first as it can create a lot of extra work for us. We do list our donations on our website, to provide transparency to our customers and staff about how Charity Pot funds are spent. Many groups welcome this publicity, however if you would prefer that our donation to you is kept confidential, that is absolutely fine and please discuss this with us and make this clear on your application form.
What reporting requirements are there if I am successful?
We expect all successful applicants to report back on how the money was spent, and the outcomes. In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you regularly to hear how the project is progressing; this also gives us the opportunity to share your news with our customers (i.e. your potential supporters!) if you’d like us to.
Can I apply for a second grant?
Yes. We give repeat grants, after at least a year of receiving previous funding. This wholly depends on funds available, the success of the first project and whether reporting requirements have been satisfied.
Will you give me feedback if my application is unsuccessful?
We’re sorry that the high level of applications we receive mean it is not possible to give reasons why your application was not successful. However, please see the common reasons given above for unsuccessful applications.
If my application is unsuccessful, can I apply again?
Yes please! We get more applications than we can afford to fund, and rejection of your application does not mean we don’t support your group. However, if you wish to reapply, please re-read our funding guidelines again to ensure you fit our funding criteria as this was probably the most likely reason you were unsuccessful before. You would need to demonstrate that the project has changed significantly.
Chinese translation by Candy Cheung.