Dormant Accounts Fund NI: What makes a good application?

The Dormant Accounts Fund NI has been open for six weeks now and there has been lots of interest in it.  We have had many enquiries about the kinds of things that will be funded under the scheme, which aims to build long-term capacity and sustainability.

Alison Fraser, our Senior Head of Funding, has written this blog to explain more about what we expect to see in an application.

If you are considering applying to the Dormant Accounts Fund NI, the key question to consider is how your organisation will be different when the funding comes to an end. What change will it have made that will mean the organisation is more sustainable and fit for the future? You may be thinking about developing a new business model, diversifying income streams, or building your team’s digital skills to reach new audiences or service users. The activity will be unique to your own organisation, but it must contribute to a change that will continue to be of benefit when the funding finishes. 

Before you start to develop your idea 

It is important to check that your organisation is eligible to apply.

Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations are eligible to apply, but there are some exceptions. If you aren’t sure a full list of eligible and ineligible organisations is available our webpage

Make sure the programme is the right fit for the work you propose to do. The fundamental question to consider while developing an idea is ‘How will your organisation be more sustainable and fit for the future at the end of this funding?’

The Dormant Accounts Fund NI has a limited amount of funding to distribute, so we won’t be able to fund your existing programme delivery or expand the delivery of programmes. The Fund will not be able to help new or emerging organisations to become established.  Funding will not cover the cost of supporting organisations to recover from the immediate impact of COVID-19.

If your idea does not fit with the Dormant Accounts Fund NI priorities perhaps one of our National Lottery programmes would be of interest. You can contact us to talk about these.

What makes a good project idea?

It is really important to involve your Board, your senior team and other people who help you plan for the future.  Take your time to fully read the information on the website and have the necessary conversations with relevant people before applying.

You must be able to demonstrate the change you expect the funding to make when you are writing your application.  For example, how you will adapt how you work so that elements of it don’t need to rely on funding?

If you want to apply for salaries – what will happen when the grant comes to an end? Will you have to apply for more funding? Think about the long-term as your application needs to be strategic.

Consider how your organisation will have changed at the end of the grant.  We will be looking for evidence that you have undertaken a thorough review of your organisation and carried out some business or strategic planning to inform your application. And of course, the larger the grant request the more evidence we will expect to see.   

There is no closing date so you can apply at any time.  However, only one grant will be awarded per organisation so we are encouraging you to take your time to decide on the best idea to support your organisation.

How will your organisation be more sustainable and fit for the future at the end of this funding?’

What type of activity will you fund?

Some examples of activity that we could consider funding include supporting organisations to look at income diversification, enabling them to consider collaboration options or a merger or developing new business or operating models. These are only examples of course – each proposal will be unique to each organisation applying.

More details on what we will fund can be found on our website.

What information is required for the application form?

Once you have agreed on your approach you can go ahead and complete the online application from.  We will ask you to tell us more about your organisation and your project idea.  

You will be asked about the aim/mission of your organisation and to provide the details of two unrelated contacts who can talk about the idea and a copy of your latest annual accounts.  

We will also ask you to outline the challenges and opportunities your organisation is experiencing in relation to capacity-building, sustainability and/or resilience and how your project idea will address these issues.

You will also be asked to provide an estimate of the costs you would like us to fund. 

When we receive your application we will get in touch with you and may ask you for further information to support your application, for example a more detailed budget and a project plan

So the four key points to remember when applying to the programme are: 

  • Check that your organisation is eligible by visiting the programme webpage
  • Speak to relevant people who help you plan for the future to determine the best approach
  • Make sure your project idea is a good fit for the Dormant Accounts Fund NI
  • Take your time with your application – there are no closing dates.

If you would like any further support, contact us on 028 4378 0003.  You can also leave a comment below or drop us an email at enquiries.ni@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk and we will reply. 

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