Apply for funding via the London Community Response portal

By Harriette Tillott

Charitable organisations in London who are looking to apply for urgent funding are encouraged to apply to the London Community Response portal.

Coordinated by London Funders, the purpose of this portal is to provide a single platform for organisations to apply to. There are multiple funders sitting behind it to help to respond to need quickly and reduce pressures on frontline organisations. All emergency funds coming to or managed by LCF – including the National Emergencies Trust and the London Communities Coronavirus Appeal – are being allocated through this portal.

The purpose of this blog is to explain the process of applying and what to expect throughout the process.

Here are the reasons your organisation should apply

The collaborative grants portal has been designed with your organisation in mind as we know many of you are focused on the delivery of your services during this crisis time – often with less staff, volunteers and resources. There is a single application form designed to be simple and easy to use. Funders have agreed a set of core principles, which will apply to all grant programmes throughout the pandemic. These have been developed through learnings from previous funder responses to emergencies such as the Grenfell Tower fire.

Benefits of applying:

  • This grants portal is for all sizes of organisations: So far, the smallest organisation LCF has funded had a turnover of £1,680 in the last financial year. In this crisis, we know applications are likely to be written by individuals new to grant applications. We aren’t looking for professional bid writers, our focus is applications for eligible organisations that demonstrate need.
  • Quick turnaround time: Funders are working hard to get grants decisions made as quickly as possible. Submitted applications are being assessed daily by our Programme Managers. Funders like LCF are then downloading eligible applications daily for review. And what’s more, we have streamlined the electronic grant agreement process and are making payments twice daily to successful applicants to ensure we can get funds to where they are needed quickly.
  • High success rates: For funds distributed by LCF through this portal, the success rate of applications receiving funding is nearly 70%. Part of the value of the portal for organisations, is that if your application is reviewed by LCF but not successful for funding, it goes back to the portal where other funders can review and decide to fund.
  • Introduction to new funders: There are now over 60 funders sitting behind the London Community Response Fund portal, so there’s a good chance your application(s) will be picked up by funders currently not known to your organisation. This means, if your application is successful, you are opening new networks for future funding.

What does it feel like to apply?

The purpose of the portal is to alleviate stress on frontline organisations. Streamlined application process giving a one-stop shop; light touch due diligence and simple reporting. Application themes and eligibility are based on evidence collated from frontline charities, funders and infrastructure bodies.

Aside from key facts about your charitable organisation, there are five simple questions and just 50 words maximum on your funding requirements. You’ll also be asked to include your Governing Documents, Accounts and Safeguarding Policy. And you are good to go.

The LCF has allowed us to operate in a way that is most beneficial to our client base. This is because the way the application is designed has left scope for organisations to really explain their individual needs. Most essentially, the LCF has trusted organisations to outline what their specific needs are in relation to the Covid19 crisis by asking relevant questions in a straight forward manner. Plenty of information and guidance has been invaluable.
Sistah Space was awarded funding in the first wave

Frequently asked questions

Is the funding portal only for large charities?

LCF is delivering its COVID-19 response funds under the portal and our priority remains grassroots and small charities. To date the smallest grant we have made so far is for £800 and the organisation with the smallest turnover has been £1,680.

What is the deadline?

We are making decisions on a rolling basis. You can sign up to the London Funders newsletter to hear when further funding becomes available. You can also sign up to our monthly ebulletin here, check out our website or follow us on Twitter for the latest updates. As of 5pm on 19 May, the 'delivering differently' stream will pause for new applications but the 'crisis response' funding stream will continue to accept applications and make decisions on a rolling basis.

Will decisions take too long?

Like most of the funders, once the application is with LCF, we are working to a 48-hour turnaround on decisions. If decisions take longer than 48-hours, it may mean we require additional information clarification on the application.

Why was my organisation's project rejected for funding on the portal?

Due to the high level of applications, selection and screening process, the main reasons for rejection can include not meeting the criteria as listed on the guidelines. Should you wish to raise a complaint please contact London Funders directly. Due to staff capacity, it may take several days to hear back but someone should be in touch in due course.

Funding doesn’t meet my needs:

Funders are using intelligence gathered on needs, gaps and theme from applications and grant-making to inform future funding waves.  LCF are open to feedback on the fund, so if you have any, please email applications@londoncf.org.uk.

What is the assessor looking for?

We completely understand the time pressure you may be under and funders have deliberately kept the applications questions to a minimum. LCF want to understand your organisation and how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted your communities, and how you have responded to meet this need. In your application please be as clear and concise as possible, including a clear breakdown of your proposed budget for the grant you are requesting. There is an option to include additional information if you think that is necessary.

What supporting documents should I provide?

Applications should include governance documentation, an updated safeguarding policy and recent bank statement, which, ideally should be redacted (we will still accept if not). The need to include safeguarding policies is imperative as your application will not be considered without it. We would recommend using the NSPCC’s guidance on developing a safeguarding policy and procedures for working with children and young people.

How will a decision be made?

Your completed application will be screened to ensure it fits with the criteria for these funds. Screened applications will then be shared with the group of collaborating funders, like LCF. We will select applications that we are able to fund (depending on their area of operation and interest) and make decisions on them.

How will I know if our application has been successful?

The funder who has selected your application will contact you directly to confirm whether a grant has been agreed and to arrange for transfer of funds. Collaborating funders are committed to letting you know as soon as the decision is made, and to transferring the funds as quickly as possible. If you apply for funding, your organisation may be funded by any one of the collaborating funders and not necessarily LCF.

What's the difference between LCF and the London Community Response Fund?

Despite the similarities in names, The London Community Foundation and the London Community Response fund portal are separate. The London Community Response portal is managed by London Funders with over 50 funders sitting behind the portal. LCF is one funder that sits behind the portal. If you apply through the portal, your application may receive funding from LCF or another funder. If your application is unsuccessful, it means no funders sitting behind the portal are able to fund your organisation.

Last updated on 13 May.