16th Jan 2020

The Community Foundation has reopened for applications with a new grant system, but what does this mean for new and existing grantees?

What has the Community Foundation done?

We have introduced a new system to manage our grants, contacts and back-office functions. We’ve done this because our old system had become out of date. Lots of things we wanted to do to make our funding processes better needed something brand new. Our new system is built on a platform called Salesforce which is used by lots of grant-makers. Applying to us should become simpler and easier, but there are some important changes that you will notice if you have applied to us before.

The first change is that you will have to get registered on our new system.

How to register on the new grants system

Registering with us as an applicant

The first time you apply to us from 20 January 2020, you will need to register on our system. That’s whether or not you have applied to or been funded by us before that date. You register by following the link from the apply pages of our website which takes you to our new ‘grantee community portal’. You will see there a button to register. You fill in some brief details and you can check a list to see if we already have your organisation on our system. We then get you set up to use our system. We’ll email you to confirm when that’s done, and you can then get on with making your application. Please do check your spam folder in case emails go there.

If anyone else from your organisation needs to make an application, they will also need to register and be approved by us. That’s to make sure that only people we know for sure are part of your organisation can access the information we have about you.

Normally it will only take one working day for us to get you registered. But in the first week or so following 20 January 2020, we expect we’ll have a lot of registrations to do, so it may take us a few days to come back to you.

Starting a grant application

Once you’re registered, you can log in and start an application. As before, there is a ‘general application’ button for most funding requests. But if you want to apply in response to one of our calls for applications for a specific fund, you click on that button on the portal which will bring up a list of the current calls.

The first thing you then do in the application form is complete your organisation’s profile.

How to make an application on the new grants system

Your organisation’s profile

You need to set up a profile the first time you apply after 20 January 2020 whether or not you have applied to us or had a grant before then. But another big change, which we hope will save you time and effort, is that each subsequent application your organisation makes then links to that profile. So, when you apply again, the answers in the organisation section will be filled in with the ones you gave us last time. You will be able to check and update that information where changes are needed (for some questions, you’ll need to get us to make changes for you).

In the organisation profile, we have included some new questions about the knowledge and experience you use in your work, how you make sure you welcome everyone you are set up to help, and how you pay for your work. This is because we want to focus more on your strengths as an organisation rather than just the activities you want us to fund.

We’ve also done away with tick boxes and categories for things like geography and beneficiary groups. Instead, we now ask you to tell us in your own words where you work and who you help. We will then turn that into the data we need on our system.

What about safeguarding?

We had already introduced some changes to the information we ask for about safeguarding before we moved to the new system. These are still in place.

Sending us your supporting documents

You will now upload the supporting documents we ask for directly to our system from your own computer rather than having to email or post them to us separately. To make things even easier, after you have applied once on the new system you will then be able to see the documents you’ve already sent us, so you will know if they need to be updated.

What you can apply for

We haven’t changed our policies on who and what we fund. But we are very keen to encourage applications for core costs, as well as for projects and capital items. We’ve changed some of the questions on the application form to make this clear. Another good thing about the new system is you will be able to see the history of all the funding requests you’ve made from January 2020.

What about grant conditions and monitoring?

The grantee community portal is also the place where you come to check on any conditions you need to meet now or in the future, and to complete monitoring reports. You will also need to register to send us monitoring. On the portal, you’ll see a heading called ‘requirements’ which is where you’ll find anything you need to do for us after a grant has been offered. The ‘monitoring’ heading will take you to any reports you need to complete and send us.

If monitoring is due on a grant we awarded to your organisation before January 2020, the form for this will now go onto the new system and we will email you to let you know when you can go and fill it in.

In the meantime, feel free to register on our system so you can be ready to do your monitoring.

What about grants to individuals?

We only make grants to individuals where there is a specific call for applications to a fund. Information about these will be on the apply section of our website as usual. If you apply as an individual for a grant, you will also have to register on our system.

How can I get help and advice with making an application?

We’ve published guidance notes to help you complete your grant application and make sure you give us all the information we need. The help note for each question we ask can also be found on the application form. We have some sources of help and advice with funding on our website: www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply/help-and-support.

If you have any technical issues accessing or using our new system, we recommend that you make Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox your default internet browser. Chrome is free to download at www.google.co.uk/chrome or Mozilla Firefox is free to download at https://www.mozilla.org/.

But if there is anything about the form or our process that you do not understand, please contact us on 0191 222 0945 or at general@communityfoundation.org.uk.

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