How to write a full application

This guidance applies to writing both small (£7,500 and under) and large grant applications.

How to present your application:

  • Please prepare in Word.
  • Write no more than 6 pages in length, including budget information.
  • Please use standard margins.
  • Font size – we recommend Arial 11 point.
  • Please use the questions set out below as headings to structure your application.

a) What is the purpose of your application? (Summary)

You should begin your application with a short statement that clearly sets out what funding from the Trust would enable you to do, over what timescale, at what cost, and to what end. Essentially, this is your top line pitch. It is important that you are able to clearly and succinctly articulate what your campaign is trying to achieve and the resources you need to do it.

b) State (up to) three main outcomes you are seeking in your campaign (3 bullet points)

Please bear in mind that JRRT is a political funder: so you need to make the political case as to why your campaign is needed and identify the political opportunities you intend to exploit during your campaign. You need to be clear about the change you want to make e.g. addressing an unjust law, policy or power that you believe needs to be challenged.

We understand that to achieve an overall impact on some agendas may be a long-term endeavour. The Trust prefers to fund initiatives where there are tangible political opportunities over the term of the grant. Outcomes tell us what changes you want to see from your campaign. Reviewing these on completion should tell you whether you have succeeded in achieving your goals. They are distinct from outputs which are the more immediate results of your activities or deliverables you have produced along the way. If you are unsure how to write these, see our more detailed guidance on developing outputs/outcomes.

 c) Who are you?

The Trust funds a broad mix of applicants – established organisations, small organisations with one or two staff, start-ups and, on occasion, individuals. It is important not to presume any prior knowledge of you or your organisation or aspects of your work – even if you have applied to the Trust before, your circumstances, personnel and issue area may have changed significantly.

Please briefly describe here:

  • your overall financial position – including your overall annual income or projected income for the year(s) in which the grant is sought and the relevant financial year
  • your overall capacity (e.g. number of paid staff or volunteers)
  • your legal status (i.e. whether a registered company, unincorporated association, etc)
  • your governance arrangements (i.e. Board/Advisory group or other management)
  • key individuals involved (i.e. project staff and where relevant other key staff or Board/Advisory group members).

If you are applying as an individual, you will be asked to upload your CV with your proposal, so use this section to summarise your suitability and capacity to undertake the work.

In order to assess the merits of the proposal, we will also consider the following criteria.

d) What do you want to do and how will you achieve this?

This is the main part of your application and you should use it to “put flesh on the bones” of your summary under a) What is the purpose of your application?

i. Why? (Overall relevance and strategic fit)

Tell us why the issue is important, what changes you wish to see and explain the overall need for and objectives of the project. This should take into account the relevance of the initiative in the context of the Trust’s current strategy.

ii. Why now? (Political opportunity)

You should set out the start date for the grant and how long you expect it to take. Explain the timescale for your campaign, including any key moments that will provide either an opportunity or a possible challenge. For example, if your campaign concerns legislative change, then consider the timetabling of the legislation involved and any events which may affect it or which you may wish to influence.

With reference to the political context, you should explain why this campaign needs to be fought now. It is important to demonstrate an imperative behind your application to show that it is both timely and necessary. This is your opportunity to make the case that your campaign is a ‘must do’, rather than a ‘would like to do’ or ‘could do later’.

iii. Why you? (Efficacy of applicant)

Tell us about your knowledge, skills and experience for conducting this campaign, including, where relevant, any established track record, prior expertise, or other indicators of experience which make you well placed to deliver this work.

iv How? (Efficacy of approach and potential for impact)

Tell us how you intend to conduct your campaign and the approach you will use at key points to further your goals. Explain how you will influence relevant stakeholders, such as supporters, the media, politicians, partner organisations or government to create the changes required to deliver your proposed outcomes. It is important to think about likely pathways to change – this might be described as your ‘theory of change’ and gives us an indication of your assumptions and proposed tactics for making change happen.

e) Why JRRT?

It is important to make the case for coming to the JRRT as opposed to other funders. Remember, JRRT is not a charitable trust and does not fund campaigns that can be undertaken by charities or equivalent work. You should set out briefly how the values and concerns of the Trust are reflected in your campaign outcomes and why you are unable to source funds for your proposed work elsewhere.

f) Campaign Budget

Please provide a breakdown of the budget for your campaign in a budget table. Ask for what is required but be realistic.

i) Project costs

Eligible costs: The Trust will pay all the direct costs of a project and will also pay reasonable support costs towards associated indirect costs or overheads that enable the organisation to deliver the project.

Direct costs: are costs directly attributable to a project i.e. directly related staff time and activities or products/processes e.g. report print/ production, venue hire for events, travel costs and project expenses. Please ensure that you provide a breakdown of individual staff costs.

Indirect costs: are not directly attributable to a project but support the organisation’s overall ability to deliver the campaign e.g. office facilities/rent and administrative support. The proportion claimed should be linked to how much of your organisation’s work this project accounts for.

‚Äčii) Project funding

In developing your budget, you should identify any existing income which will contribute to the costs, or if you have no other source of funds, you may enter zero/note there is nothing to include here. Where you have income towards the costs please identify:

  • Income already secured i.e. funding already available towards the costs of your project.
  • Income anticipated i.e. pending funding applications where relevant or anticipated income from other known funding streams.
  • Total funding requested from JRRT. Please clarify the total funding request from the Trust. If the grant you are seeking will not cover the whole cost of your project, you must explain where the rest of the funding will come from.

Example budget tables

Project Costs  
Direct Costs  
Staff (itemise e.g 1 x full time Post X for 6 months)



List main activities e.g. print, venue hire, travel




Indirect Costs

% of organisational support costs linked to this project





Project Funding  
Income Secured  

Income anticipated/bid for e.g


XX Trust




Income applied for from JRRT £

Once your final application is ready, please submit this using our On-line Application Submission

We will also ask you to upload with your proposal:

  • your latest annual report
  • your latest management accounts if available
  • your CV if applying as an individual.
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.