Before you consider an application, please carefully read our funding framework to see if your idea is a good fit. The first stage of any application is an early conversation with the UK Democracy Fund.
The Fund has three broad goals, and we seek non-partisan applications which can make impact in the following areas:
A Million More: Increasing participation of everyone in our elections through efforts to get one million low-propensity voters* registered and voting before the next General Election (due some time before January 2025).
Enabling everyone to vote: Building support for reforms to ensure a simple, seamless and accessible voting system fit for the 21st Century.
Extending the right to vote: Advocating in support of expanding the franchise for 16- and 17-year-olds and settled UK residents from overseas.
(*Low-propensity voters are groups of people who are less likely to register and vote based on analysis of electoral data. These include young people, minoritised ethnic groups and migrants, private renters and the vulnerably housed, and those with low incomes.)
There is a window of opportunity to plan early, and to achieve an ambitious shift in electoral participation in the UK in the run up to the next General Election.
Due to our limited resources, we are not able to fund every organisation doing good work on voter participation. We are interested in campaigns and research applications which can support our goals and align to the funding framework below. Applications should demonstrate a focused and effective strategy, deep understanding of the issues and/or community you want to reach. Only non-partisan applications will be considered.
Funding framework: Our Funding priorities
A Million More
The Fund seeks ambitious and non-partisan campaigns which can help us reach our target of a million low-propensity voters taking part in elections by the next General Election (expected in 2024, but could be as late as January 2025).
Key funding priorities for A Million More:
- Campaigns to mobilise private renters.
- Campaigns which can scale-up our work with minoritised ethnicities, building on the learning generated by research and campaigns we have funded.
- Campaigns to inform citizens of Commonwealth countries of their voting rights in the UK and mobilise them to participate.
- Campaigns to mobilise low-income communities, likely taking a place-based approach. We are particularly interested in small-scale pilot campaigns which can generate useful learnings.
- Campaigns to turnout students at universities and colleges.
- Research proposals which fill a gap in the field’s knowledge of barriers to participation and insight into what works to mobilise voters to participate.
We realise that there are likely good ideas which we haven’t had yet. So if you have something you would like to propose, please reach out to us.
Enabling everyone to vote
The Fund seeks applications which can further our objectives of reforming the electoral system to be fairer and work better for us all. We are particularly interested in applications related to Automatic Voter Registration and photographic Voter ID.
Read more on the current campaign from Unlock Democracy that we have funded on Automatic Voter Registration, and research from Professor Toby James which we have commissioned on the electoral data environment.
Extending the right to vote
The Fund seeks applications which can support extending the right to vote to 16- and 17-year-olds and settled migrants in the UK.
Current funded projects
A number of campaigns we are currently funding which are working towards our million more target:
Polish Migrants Organise for Change: to build their voter registration work amongst low-propensity Polish and Eastern European voters for the General Election.
The Politics Project: to increase the number of young people registering and voting with their Democracy Classroom programme.
Purpose Union: to run a campaign encouraging universities and Local Authorities to work together to enable students to register on the electoral roll when they enrol at university.
Citizens UK: to deliver a sign-up campaign mobilising civil society and corporate partners to take action on voter participation, supporting their employees, clients and customers to register, turnout and access voter ID. Aiming to catalyse widespread action from a range of partners and mobilise a large number of potential voters to take part at the General Election.
You can see a full list of our current and past grantees
Things to consider:
- The Fund has clear funding criteria, therefore the first stage of the application process is to contact us as early as possible (weeks before the final deadlines outlined here). Reach out with a brief outline of your idea to DemocracyFund@jrrt.org.uk for an initial conversation to identify if the idea is in line with our strategy. You do not need to have a fully realised strategy at this point in the process. If we do determine that it is a good fit, we will ask you to move forward with an application in line with the application process.
- The Fund will only consider non-partisan campaigns.
- The Fund has a wealth of insight from research and campaigns we have funded in the past, and we encourage applicants to review this before sending in an application.
- The useful learnings that could be generated from the campaign you are proposing, which could be useful for future campaigns, and how you plan to capture and communicate them.
- How would your application be affected by the date of the General Election, which we do not yet know? For example, would you be able to adapt or expand your work if an election goes later or is called earlier than you expect, and how would this affect your budget? How much of your work can be done before an election is called, versus how much would be more effective once an election has been called?
If you are applying under A Million More:
- It is very important to evaluate and learn from our impact. We encourage grantees to collect data on the number of registrations achieved in the funded campaign. We will ask you to articulate your goal for registrations in the application stage. It can be difficult to capture good quality data, and we understand that not all organisations have the capacity to do this at the same level. The Fund has developed a simple set of ways for grantees to report on the number of voters they have enabled to take part, and if successful your grant manager can support you to build these practices into your work. We will also be flexible to the level of capacity of the organisation and the kind of application you are proposing.
- Consider how your campaign can include information and/or support on accessing and bringing acceptable photographic ID on voting day.
This page was last updated on 18 October 2023.