Women’s Fund for Scotland – Grant Guidelines
Overall purpose of our funding
We aim to promote systemic change in Scotland to empower women, and to help overcome the multiple disadvantages and discriminatory practices that females experience throughout their lives.
Our vision is of a Scotland in which women participate equally at all levels of society, free from any barriers to full and equal engagement in political, institutional, economic, and cultural life, including freedom from the fear of sex-based violence.
Priority will be given to applications which most strongly contribute to that aim.
Applications must be from eligible organisations, clearly relate to at least one Investment Theme and address at least one of our Funding Priorities.
You can download these guidelines as a PDF by clicking here: WFS Grant Making Guidelines 2021
Who Can Apply?
Any properly constituted non-profit organisation which meets our criteria may apply, including charities, social enterprises, and unincorporated organisations.
Further details of the eligibility criteria are given below. Please read them carefully as they will form part of any assessment of your application.
What We Can’t Fund
We try to be as flexible as possible to encourage innovation, however, we do not fund:
- Uniformed, political, or religious organisations except where they are running a project which would otherwise be eligible, and which does not promote any religion or a political purpose. (For example, a project promoting women’s participation in the political process may be eligible where it is for women of all political persuasions.)
- Organisations with an annual turnover of greater than £1m are not eligible for funding. Priority will be given to those organisations with an annual turnover not greater than £500,000.
- Organisations that pay less than the living wage of £9.50 per hour (2021)
- Projects primarily targeted at girls under the age of 12
- Projects for mixed groups (i.e., males and females)
- Applications from individuals
- In addition, we do not fund: Activities that have already taken place; repayment of loans and debts; general fundraising appeals; trips abroad; activities that are the responsibility of statutory authorities
Our Investment Themes
Applications should demonstrate how they fit into one or more of our key investment themes of
- Building skills and confidence
- Improving health and well-being
- Growing social connections
- Moving on from abuse
- Developing leadership and innovation
- Combatting poverty and building financial resilience
Our Funding Priorities
All applications will be considered according to these funding priorities. Applications which most clearly fit one or more of these will be prioritised. They are:
- Women’s organisations, especially those run by and for women.
- Community-based organisations running projects with women and girls.
- Projects supporting disadvantaged women and girls
- Empowering women and making a tangible difference to their lives
- Supporting women to escape and recover from domestic, sexual, and sex-based violence
- Using our limited resources for maximum long-term impact and improving organisational sustainability
- To support the Scottish Government’s wider strategic objectives
- To ensure so far as possible Scotland-wide distribution of funds
Do we provide Core Funding?
We will provide core funding for a limited period. This will generally be to a new organisation or project but might also apply where an organisation has a short-term funding gap.
We particularly welcome applications where our grant for core costs will support the organisation / project to become sustainable, either through becoming self-funding or where our contribution will help to lever in other longer-term funding.
Do we fund the Purchase of Consumable Items (e.g., food, data packages, transport, childcare)?
A maximum of 10% of the grant applied for may be for consumable items which
- Are incidental to the main project (e.g., the cost of ingredients for a cookery skills project)
- Are essential to allow women to participate in the project
- Cannot be funded or obtained by any other means.
Do we fund IT equipment and other non-consumable items?
We will provide grants for IT equipment and other non-consumables where it is essential to the work of the applicant organisation. The following conditions must be met:
- All equipment will remain the property of the applicant organisation.
- Loans of the equipment to individual women, whether staff or project participants, may not extend beyond the duration of the individual’s involvement with that project (except if exceptionally agreed with us in advance).
- All applications should state the expected lifespan of the equipment and what will happen to it at the end of that period.
- Organisations applying for IT equipment must be fully GDPR compliant.
Do we provide grants to help support women who are struggling financially?
We do not provide income support to individual women or families for any purpose, whether in the form of cash or vouchers for items such as fuel, clothing, or food etc.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please email email@example.com
The Women’s Fund for Scotland carries out due diligence on all applications we receive to check eligibility for the funds we manage, assess risk, and prevent fraud.
As a minimum, we carry out checks on your supporting documents as described below to ensure they meet our eligibility criteria. We may ask for further information about how your organisation meets these criteria during our assessment process.
Please carefully read the criteria below to ensure your Committee or Board understands what is required. Unfortunately, if you cannot meet these criteria, we cannot progress your application. If you are a registered company, we will download your governing documents and accounts (if independently examined or audited) from the Companies House website; you do not need to provide these with your application.
In addition, please refer to the relevant fund page you’re applying for to check if there are any further criteria you need to meet, such as the location of those benefitting from your project.
- There must be a minimum of three unrelated persons on the management committee or Board. This is to ensure that the group has a range of perspectives and experiences and is not dominated by the interests of a single family or similarly connected individuals.
- For the same reasons, the majority of your management committee or Board members must be unrelated.
- The quorum for your management committee or Board meetings must be at least three unrelated members present.
- Your organisation has charitable purposes, and these are described in your governing document.
- Your governing document includes suitable restrictions on the disposal of assets under the organisation’s control (a charitable ‘asset lock’) and its management committee or board members’ remuneration. It should feature:
- A charitable dissolution clause (or ‘asset lock’) stating that on winding up the organisation’s net assets must be put towards a similar charitable purpose(s) to that of the organisation (which may include a named charitable organisation with a similar charitable purpose).
- Suitable restraints on the provision of benefit to individuals. Assets should not be distributable to, or otherwise used for, the benefit of members or individuals beyond that which can reasonably be considered charitable.
- The quorum for your management committee or Board meetings is referred to in your governing document and is at least three unrelated members present.
- If your governing document allows for the remuneration of any Board or management committee members (for example, if the lead member of staff is also a Board Member), then your organisation must comply with OSCR’s guidance on this. We will require the following:
- Your organisation’s governing document must allow for only a minority of those on the Board or management committee to be remunerated for their services (as Trustees/Board Members/committee members or under contract).
- None of those who are remunerated as such should be involved in decisions about that remuneration.
- Information on the nature of the services to be provided in relation to the remuneration, level of remuneration and evidence of how this was agreed and by whom.
Accounts & Financial Procedures
- You must be able to supply your latest set of accounts inspected and signed by an independent party. To understand what we mean by this, please visit the Independent Inspection of Your Accounts page. However, if your organisation is less than 15 months old, we do not require you to submit accounts. Please note we do not accept abbreviated or micro-entity accounts.
- The organisation name on your accounts must match the name on the governing document and bank account.
- Your financial transactions are required to be either authorised (before payment) or checked (after payment) by another person independent of the person initiating the payment.
- None of your appointed account signatories can be related. This is to act as a safeguard against fraud or misuse of charitable funds under the organisation’s control.
If your organisation’s core work (as stated in your governing document), or the project you are applying to us for, includes work with children and/or vulnerable adults, it must have an appropriate Safeguarding Policy and Procedures setting out how the policy is implemented in place before application. This must, as a minimum, cover the following:
- Recruitment and selection of employees and volunteers
- Employee and volunteer induction and training in safeguarding
- Safe arrangements for all work involving vulnerable adults/children and young people, including procedures for responding to and reporting abuse or suspected abuse
- Contact details, including at least one nominated Safeguarding representative.
Applicants are expected to have adopted or be developing other policies and procedures appropriate to the organisation’s size and nature and in line with any legal requirements. For example, a Volunteering Policy and/or Equal Opportunities Policy.