Applying to charitable trusts

There are thousands of charitable trusts, or funders, that offer financial help to people, based on eligibility criteria including age, gender, religion or ethnicity, place of birth or residence or parental occupation as well as individual circumstances.

Have a look at our list of charitable trusts. This list isn’t exhaustive, so we suggest you do your own research too. We’ve compiled a list of sources to help you do this.

Tips on applying to charitable trusts

Most funders are understaffed and oversubscribed so here are some tips to help give your application the best chance of success:

  • Don’t apply to funders unless you meet their criteria. However deserving your cause, funders can’t bend the rules of their trust
  • International students are less likely to be eligible for funding – check with funders before applying
  • Tailor your applications rather than sending out a standard letter. Highlight to each funder how your application meets their criteria
  • Apply correctly. Some funders require you to use their application form, for others you can apply by letter and some require a 3rd party (e.g. a student welfare adviser) to apply on your behalf
  • What makes you special? Most students are short of cash but if you have particularly difficult circumstances, explain this in your application. Examples include being from a low-income family, having a disability, having children or caring responsibilities or being a final year student with no time for paid work
  • Include a budget that clearly states all income, including Student Loan, grants, NHS bursary, part-time work wages and money from other fundraising efforts plus all your expenditure
  • Why do you need money? Be specific and use your budget to demonstrate your funding shortfall
  • Don’t expect lots of money from funders. Asking for thousands of pounds is unrealistic
  • Most funders like to know a bit about you so highlight your good points including any voluntary work, part-time and vacation work and membership of societies
  • Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope with your application
  • Don’t expect a quick reply. Most funders have a board of trustees that meet a few times a year so plan ahead and apply before you need money
  • Remember to write to say thanks if you’re successful in receiving funding. You could even offer to contribute to the fund in the future when you’re in a better financial position.

Have you got any advice for students applying to trusts? If so please get in touch.