Voluntary Action Camden

Guide to fundraising

Whether you’re starting a new voluntary organisation, a community project or an event, you’ll need a source of funding to carry out your activities. It will be difficult to achieve your objectives without enough financial support.

In this guide we explain how to apply for funding in the voluntary sector.

You can search our current fundraising opportunities and our directory of funders. We can also match you with the best funding opportunities for your organisation.

Current funding opportunties

We keep a wide-ranging and up-to-date list of funding opportunities. These typically have a deadline for applications.

directory of funders

Find out which funders provide Camden for projects, initiatives and activities taking place in the London Borough of Camden.


We offer expert advice and guidance on finding funding, writing applications and developing longer term fundraising strategies.

How funding works in the voluntary sector

Voluntary organisations generate income through grant funding schemes. You can apply to national schemes, such as the National Lottery Fund, or you can apply to the many smaller grant schemes that fund local projects and causes.

If you’re planning to submit a single grant application, it’s unlikely you’ll be successful first time. Due to the short supply and high demand for funding, grant bids tend to have low success rates. But this should not put you off from applying.

Getting projects funded requires persistence and an understanding of what funders are looking for in a bid. Successful applications will meet the criteria for funding. You might need to make a number of applications before you get the income you need. When writing bids, however, it’s worth keeping in mind the reasons why many applications are turned down and try to avoid these mistakes:

  • The information submitted didn’t meet the criteria.
  • The organisation is underdeveloped and risks underdelivering.
  • The estimated budget is wrong, i.e., the applicant asks for too much or not enough money.
  • The project proposal is poorly researched and written.
  • The proposal is for a duplicate service or project that is being run successfully by a similar organisation in the area.

If you would like help with finding grants or your funding applications, either get in touch for a conversation or fill in our form to request our support.

When to apply for a grant fund

You might not need to go to the trouble of applying for a grant if you’re seeking cash for a small community project that would cost under £1000 to fund. In this case, it might be worth raising the funds from local businesses or launching a crowdfunding campaign.

We don’t recommend applying for funding until you are sure your organisation is ready. Grant funders receive hundreds of applications and, therefore, must be selective. An organisation must meet their strict criteria in order to be considered. You’ll also be up against more experienced fundraisers for a limited amount of funding. Therefore, it is important to be well prepared before you make an application. Yours must stand out and impress rather than disappoint the awarding funding body.

We can match you up with suitable funding opportunities. If we feel your application needs more development then we’ll work with you to bring it up to the industry standard.

Fundraising strategy

Some funding opportunities have strict deadlines. Rolling funding programs have no deadline meaning you can apply anytime throughout the year.

Getting funding and generating income is a numbers game: the more grant bids you make, the higher your chances are of getting funded. We can help you develop a fundraising strategy to stay focused on the goal and improve your success rate.


If you would like help with fundraising for your organisation, contact Ricky Singh Tokhi rsingh@vac.org.uk.