Application Process

Our application process has four stages

1.     Preparation
2.     Outline proposal
3.     Write your application
4.     On-line Application Submission

1.     Stage one – Preparation

Before you submit an application you should complete the following check list:

  • Read What we fund (and what we don’t) carefully
    We fund progressive campaigns for political and democratic reforms which are too political for other funders. We do not accept applications from charities or for charitable campaigns. Please check our “What we don’t fund” list – if your organisation or work falls into any of the categories, please do not apply.
  • Check the Important Dates
    If you are applying for more than £7,500 you need to be aware of our deadlines.
  • Make sure you know what we need from you at each stage of the Application process.
    You need to submit an outline proposal for assessment before thinking about a full application.

If you think we could fund your campaign, move on to stage two of the process.

2.      Stage two – outline proposal 

We have a pre-application process to provide potential applicants with a swift response on whether or not a proposed project fits within our criteria and the Board’s current concerns. We do not want you to spend many hours preparing an application which is extremely unlikely to receive funding.

Please submit a 1-2 page outline of your proposal to for initial assessment as early as possible and, for amounts over £7,500, no later than one week before the deadline for full applications.

You can check when the next deadline is in the Important Dates section.

Your outline should include the following information:

  • The name and legal status of your organisation (including your company number if you have one). If you have charitable and non-charitable arms, please provide information on both and make it clear why you believe the work cannot be undertaken by the charitable arm.
  • The total amount you are applying for and the duration of the project
  • A summary of your proposed application – tell us what it is you want to do, why, and what you hope to change as a result of your campaign. You may use the questions set out in the How to draft a full application advice to help you.

We will acknowledge receipt of your outline proposal.

We will aim to send feedback within three working days to advise you whether or not your proposal is eligible to move to a full application.

This assessment is made by staff so it is important to note the following:

  • if you are given the go-ahead to apply, it is not a guarantee of a grant. Grant decisions are made by the Trust’s Board of Directors.
  • If you have been recommended not to apply, please accept that your proposal has been properly considered and respect the decision.

3.     Stage Three - Writing your application

If you are given the go-ahead to move to a full application, our Grants Adviser may be available to comment on a draft of your full application. We recommend that you send in your draft application in order to get feedback on content and raise any concerns/omissions well in advance of the deadline for applications. Our Adviser may also ask you to send advance copies of your annual accounts if you are new to the Trust or have not applied for some time.

Please read our guidelines for writing an application before you send your draft to our Grants Adviser.

A PDF version of the guidelines can be downloaded here.

When you have a final version of your application, please move onto Stage Four.

4.     Stage Four – on-line application

Please make sure you have completed steps one to three before submitting your final application as you will have to make a declaration at the start of the process as to whether the Grants Adviser has commented on your outline proposal.

When the final version of your application is ready, you can submit it to the Trust via our online application system at

You will be asked to provide some basic information about your organisation and your application during the on-line process – however, once you have registered you are able to save a draft application and return to it at a later date.

You will need the following information to hand:

  • Organisation Name
  • Legal name if different to above
  • Full postal address
  • Legal status of organisation
  • Company registration number if applicable
  • Contact name
  • Contact email address
  • Your position in organisation
  • Website address
  • Amount requested
  • Title of your campaign
  • A brief summary of your proposal and a summary of the outcomes you hope to achieve
  • When you would like the grant to start
  • Length of grant

How we assess your application

We will assess applilcations on the following criteria:

  • its contribution to the Trust's strategic objectives
  • its relevance and likelihood of success in the prevailing political climate
  • the skills, capability and funding of you/your organisation
  • the clarity and likely effectiveness of the proposed approach to achieving change.
Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd.
The Garden House, Water End, York, YO30 6WQ
Tel: 01904 625744 | Fax: 01904 651502 | E-mail:

For details of the other Rowntree trusts:

Company Registered in England No: 357963
All content ©2019 Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd.