Why we say no

Find out some of the most common reasons why we have turned down applications in the past.

The project is for activity outside of the UK


We cannot fund activity that is not based in or likely to have a tangible economic impact on the UK.

The project doesn’t fit with our programme


Last year we turned down 34% of the initial stage one applications we received because they did not fit with our programme.


A number were for activity funded by our previous programmes (e.g. financial inclusion or economic resilience); were focused on enterprise, business support or service delivery rather than broader economic systems change; or fell far outside of the scope of our programme.


Some applications had a potential impact in terms of economic systems change, but this was either not explicit or not the main focus.

It isn’t clear what you want to do or how you’re going to do it


Our programme covers a broad range of areas. When writing your application assume we are well informed, but not expert in your policy area, and fully explain what you intend to do and how.


The outline application is an opportunity to describe simply what you want to do, why and how it relates to a fair economy. Rhetoric won’t sell your project, facts and logical arguments will.

It isn’t clear in how the solution you propose will deal with the problem you identified


Some applications make a clear case for why the problem they have identified needs to be addressed but don’t explain why the solution they propose is the right one. We need to understand the logic chain that takes you from the problem you identify to the solution you propose: what is your theory of change?

The application’s focus is on the symptoms of a problem, rather than their causes.


Some applications define the problem well and then propose a way to ameliorate it’s worst impacts but don’t try to get at the root causes of the problem. We want to focus our funding on why problems happen in the first place and the systems that create them, rather than make the current situation a little bit better.

The application isn’t sufficiently charitable


We cannot support activity that is politically partisan, primarily delivers private benefit to you or your organisation or doesn’t fit with the accepted definition of charitable purposes. You don’t have to be a charity to apply, but your proposed activity must be charitable in its nature.

The project doesn’t add value or connect to pre-existing activity


We do not wish to support activity that doesn’t add value to or simply duplicates what is already in existence. We turn down a number of applications because they do not acknowledge or connect to others already operating in the field or make a case as to why additional or different activity is needed. In trying to change economic systems it is clear that no one organisation can bring this change about on their own – so we expect to see organisations working and collaborating with others.

The potential impact of the project is limited


There is no real evidence of broader economic impact beyond the immediate area/group that it focuses on. Often these don’t add anything new to the field or any potential learning for broader dissemination.