The Foundation primarily directs grants to UK registered charities in locations in which Fidelity Worldwide Investment has corporate offices:
Grant applications are also considered for registered charities based and operating in:
Funding requests for projects outside the UK are also considered. For guidance, please refer to the section below on International Grants.
*Please see specific Further Guidance below.
Charitable investments are mainly focussed on projects in the following sectors:
- Arts & Culture - including the visual and performing arts, heritage, museums
- Community Development - including projects which help the young and/or disadvantaged achieve their potential
- Education - including special educational needs
- Health - including disability, chronic illness, palliative care
Priority Project Types
Investment is typically directed to specific projects in the following categories:
- Capital improvements such as new construction, renovations, expansions and equipment which are central to sustainability and the strategic vision of the organisation.
- High impact information technology upgrades which substantially increase an organisation's efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.
- Organisational development projects which seek to establish a new, transformational strategic path. This can include helping charities to investigate and proceed with mergers.
- Planning initiatives, including those that use expert/external consultants.
Grants are not generally made to the following:
- charities that have been in existence for less than three years
- political or sectarian organisations
- schools, colleges, universities or playgroups
- community centres
- sports clubs
- general appeals and circular letters.
Grants are not generally made to fund the following:
- salaries or general running/core costs
- training projects
- the replacement of dated or out-of-warranty IT equipment
- marketing costs
- the promotion of religion
- sponsorship of exhibitions or events
- university/college fees, research projects or gap year expeditions.
Grants will not normally cover the entire cost of a project. We see an organisation's ability to attract support from a broad range of funders as a key sign of its strength and sustainability. Applicants should aim to have significant funding in place prior to application. Grants are one-off investments; they will not normally be awarded for or across multiple years. Grants will not normally be awarded to the same organisation in successive years. Grants are for planned expenditure; they will not normally cover costs incurred prior to application and/or the grant being awarded.
Grants for applicants in London, Kent and Surrey are normally made towards projects with a total budget in excess of £50,000.
*Applications from Birmingham and Manchester will only be considered for substantial projects. Applicants must normally have annual revenue in excess of £1 million and be applying for a grant of £150,000 or more.
How we assess an applicant
Beyond our basic grant guidelines, we review the organisation to determine whether our investment can add value. Among the factors we consider are the organisation's financial health, the strength of its management team and board, and the quality of its strategic and operational plans.
We also look at the size and scope of the organisation, evaluating its position within the context of its market and the needs of the people and stakeholders it serves. We look for leverage and wider impact. This analysis helps us evaluate if a grant has the realistic potential to measurably improve a charity's impact in its sector, and its sector’s potential to bring about fundamental, lasting change.
How we assess a project
We view each project in the context of the organisation's strategy and long term goals. Funded projects tend to be those which transform the organisation's ability to achieve its mission.
As an investor, we ultimately seek to understand a project's potential social return. We want to understand if it will work and what it will achieve. In evaluating its potential for success, we seek evidence of:
- the extent and nature of the need
- a realistic, transformational uplift in quantitative and qualitative outcomes
- a costed project budget which demonstrates value for money
- a thorough implementation plan, including a plan for performance measurement and evaluation
- growth in value to the organisation and the community it serves
- significant support from other funders.
Grants for projects outside the UK are awarded by the FIL Foundation, a separate charitable foundation whose principal donor is also Fidelity Worldwide Investment. The FIL Foundation and the Fidelity UK Foundation are jointly administered, and have some trustees in common. The funding priorities, application guidelines and restrictions for the FIL Foundation are similar to those for the Fidelity UK Foundation (please see above).
The FIL Foundation welcomes funding applications from established international charities serving beneficiaries in Continental Europe, Australia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan. Charities can either be based in these countries or headquartered in the UK but delivering charitable services in these countries.
The FIL Foundation will typically consider applications towards substantial, transformative projects. Applications should be for grants in excess of US$150,000 (or your local currency equivalent).
The application process for international grants is slightly different. Please do not fill out an application form in the first instance. Please post a brief outline of your organisation and funding proposal. We will respond and advise whether you will be invited to make a full application. Please see Contact page for address details.