A to Z of funding (C)


Capacity building

A phrase that gets used a lot but means all sorts of things to different people. Schemes that aim to 'build capacity' are about ensuring that communities (and the individuals within them) are able to take advantage of economic and social opportunities - that they have the right attitudes and skills to do things.

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A word that is used in a variety of ways. Often contrasted with revenue. In this sense, capital spending is spending on capital assets (things you could sell) - buildings, vehicles, equipment, for example - whereas revenue spending is spending on things that get consumed - salaries, rent, electricity. In accruals accounting, capital assets are shown in the balance sheet; in receipts and payments accounting, capital assets are shown on a statement of assets and liabilities.

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How money flows through the organisation. If you have to spend money (e.g. on wages or set-up costs) before you actually get it, you have a cash-flow problem.

Work out the cash flow when you create a budget for your project. Think about the practical things that have to happen, and commitments you have to make - recruiting staff, sorting out premises. Think about possible delays and the costs.

A simple cash-flow projection shows a starting position (which might be nothing) and then, month by month, what money you think will come in and what money you think will get spent. Each month you bring forward the balance from the end of the previous month.

You can try to solve cash-flow problems by:

  • getting paid earlier - the best solution if the funder will agree
  • borrowing money (from a bank, for example) - but interest on the overdraft you negotiate could be expensive and funders will want to pay for activities, not bank interest
  • ensuring that you are recovering the full costs of your work.

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Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

The Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) is the first incorporated legal structure designed specifically with the needs of charities in mind. It is an entirely new type of charity structure that will provide charity trustees with protections and responsibilities similar to those given to directors of limited companies.

Increasingly, charities are seeking incorporation as a means of limiting the risk of personal liability for trustees. Currently, around 4 in every 10 new registered charities are incorporated as companies, but this brings the burden of double regulation by both the Charity Commission and Companies House. The new CIO will be regulated by the Charity Commission alone.

The Cabinet Office intended to make CIO registration for charities available from spring 2010, however this hasn't yet been possible. The regulations which complete the legal framework for CIOs have not yet been debated by Parliament, so it is not do not know when the CIO will be available for charities to use. However, when the CIO structure is available it will be implemented in phases

Both new and existing charities will be able to consider becoming a CIO, although other existing forms of incorporation will also remain available.

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Charitable objects

To become a registered charity (in England and Wales) or be recognised as charitable by the Inland Revenue, an organisation has to have charitable objects. 'Objects' is the term used to describe and identify the purpose for the which the charity has been set up. They do not say what the organisation will do on a daily basis.

A charity’s objects must be exclusively charitable. They are usually set out in a single clause or paragraph of the charity’s governing document. If the objects clause allows the organisation to do something which the law does not recognise as charitable, or the wording used is unclear, the organisation is not considered to be a charity and could not be registered with us.

Exactly what objectives are accepted as charitable is something of a muddle so if in doubt, seek advice. The Charity Commission has a produced a list of example objects to help organisations.

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Charitable status

In England and Wales charitable organisations are registered with the Charity Commission and are given a registration number. They are then called registered charities and appear on the Register of Charities.
Every charity must be registered except for:

  • exempt charities
  • excepted charities which comply with the conditions of exception and whose gross income does not exceed £100,000
  • any charity whose gross income does not exceed £5,000.

The Charity Commission produced a useful leaflet, CC21, on Starting and Registering a Charity.

Many funders are reassured if a group has charitable status. Charitable trusts and foundations can only use their money for charitable purposes and may decide (or may be obliged by their trust deed) to restrict their giving to registered charities. This can cause difficulties for exempted and excepted charities since they can't quote a charity registration number. Charitable organisations that are not themselves registered sometimes ask another (registered) voluntary group (like a Council of Voluntary Service) to accept grants from charitable trusts on their behalf.

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Charitable trusts and foundations

Charitable trusts and charitable foundations (basically the same thing but 'foundation' is the word used in America and has become fashionable here) are most commonly organisations set up to make charitable grants in a tax-effective way. They are often set up by rich, philanthropic individuals or companies. A trust deed sets out what the trust's money should be used for. A group of trustees (who don't themselves benefit) are responsible for ensuring that the money is spent properly. Endowed trusts and foundations have an 'endowment' - money that can't be spent but is invested. This generates interest, which is the trust's income.

Some charitable trusts and foundations do things - run programmes, manage activities - just like other voluntary organisations but most simply make grants.

DSC have a trust funding database.

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Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)

CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) is a large registered charity. CAF's core activity is to provide financial services to charities and their supporters. CAF help:

  • individuals - making it easy to give, to find charities and to support them tax-efficiently
  • companies - setting up giving, volunteering and community programmes
  • charities - offering low-cost banking, investment and fundraising services.

Head office is:
25 Kings Hill Avenue
West Malling
ME19 4TA
T: 03000 123 000
F: 03000 123 001
W: www.cafonline.org

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Charity Bank

Charity Bank is a fully-authorised bank that is also a registered charity. It offers affordable loans from six months to 25 years of up to £500,000 for charitable purposes, and larger sums can be offered in partnership. Charity Bank also provides deposit facilities for surplus funds, as well as deposit accounts where supporters can donate their interest to you.

Charity Bank (Headquarters)
194 High Street
T: 01732 774 040
E: enquiries@charitybank.org
W: www.charitybank.org

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Charity Commission for England and Wales

The Charity Commission is established by law as the regulator and registrar for charities in England and Wales.

Their aim is to provide the best possible regulation of charities in England and Wales in order to increase charities' effectiveness and public confidence and trust.

The Charity Commission has four offices where you can consult the Register of Charities (also accessible via their website). Their website also plays host to a wealth on information, from registering a charity to guidance.

In Scotland, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) regulates charities. In May 2005 the Charity Commission signed an agreement with OSCR, in order to avoid regulation overlap. The agreement will ensure greater consistency and co-operation between the two UK charity regulators and is a move to modernise the regulation of charities across Scotland, England and Wales.

Contact details:

T: 0845 300 0218
M: 0845 3000 219
W: www.charity-commission.gov.uk


2nd Floor
One Drummond Gate

Woodfield House

12 Princes Parade
Princes Dock
L3 1DE

Room 1.364
Government Buildings
Cardiff Road
South Wales
NP10 8XG

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Charity Tribunal, Tribunals Service

If you are not satisfied with a Charity Commission decision you may be able to appeal or make an application for review to the Charity Tribunal.

The Tribunal has been created to provide charities with quick, inexpensive means of challenging decisions of the Charity Commission. It can hear three types of case:

  • appeals against certain decisions, directions or orders of the Charity Commission
  • applications for review (similar to judicial review) of certain decisions, directions or orders of the Charity Commission
  • 'references' from the Attorney General or the Charity Commission about general charity law matters. 

Tribunals Operational Support Centre
PO Box 9300
LE1 8DJ 
T: 0300 1234504 
F: 0116 249 4253
E: CharityTribunal@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
W: www.charity.tribunals.gov.uk

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Chief Executive Officer. The paid head of an organisation.

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Children's Trusts

Children's Trusts are locally based partnerships, led by local authorities, which are meant to address the fragmentation of responsibilities for children's services by integrating and coordinating the provision of services in each local area. Key partners will include organisations such as health authorities, schools, and the voluntary sector.

In April 2008, the Children's Fund was mainstreamed into Children's Trust arrangements. Children's Trusts now bring together all services for children and young people in an area, underpinned by the Children Act 2004 duty to cooperate, to focus on improving outcomes for all children and young people.

The Children's Plan: Building brighter futures sets high expectations for Children's Trusts to deliver measurable improvements for all children and young people. More information can be found on the Every Child Matters website.

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Circular appeals

The same appeal that goes round to lots of funders and usually gets turned down by them all.

Applications that start "Dear Sir/Madam" are often called circular appeals.

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Civil Society Organisation

Civil Society is the Government’s new term for the voluntary sector, which used to be called the ‘Third Sector’. Organisations within the sector are now referred to on funding guidelines and other government documentation as ‘Civil Society Organisations’.

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Coalition government

A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament.

The UK is currently ruled by a Coalition Government made up of Conservative and Liberal Democrat representatives, which came into power in following the general elections of May 2010. The Conservatives won the most seats during the elections, but not enough to secure an overall Commons majority, resulting in a hung Parliament.

The coalition is the first time the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have had a power-sharing deal at Westminster and the first coalition in the UK since the Second World War.

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The whole process of establishing what needs there are, deciding what services there should be and who should pay for them, and getting the right organisation to provide them, usually in relation to local statutory money (for instance, local authority and health authority money). Commissioning does not necessarily involve contracts, but can also be secured through grants.

As well as national commissioners, there are likely to be several commissioners in your area. however, these can be difficult to find so NAVCA have created a useful document 'Where is Your Commissioner?' that should help you to track yours down.

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Community assets

Community assets include land, the environment and infrastructure owned, managed or impacted on by the community.

There has been a trend for some schemes to facilitate the transfer of community assets from local authorities to the voluntary sector for their use as community resources.

See asset transfer.

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Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI)

Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) have been set up to provide loans and support to organisations and individuals in order to create opportunity and prosperity in disadvantaged communities. CDFIs are sustainable, independent organisations which provide financial services with two aims: to generate social and financial returns.

The Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) is the trade association for CDFIs. Launched at HM Treasury in April 2002, the CDFA's mission is to grow, promote and strengthen the CDFI sector in the UK.

Community Development Finance Association
Unit 5
Angel Gate
320-326 City Road
T: 020 7430 0222
E: info@cdfa.org.uk
W: www.cdfa.org.uk

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Community Development Foundation (CDF)

CDF aims to help communities achieve greater control over the conditions and decisions affecting their lives by: advising government, supporting community work, and carrying out research, evaluation and policy analysis. CDF is a registered charity with close links with the Department for Communities and Local Government. CDF also works with other government departments, including the Office of the Third Sector, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department of Health and Home Office.

Head office:
Unit 5
Angel Gate
320-326 City Road
Tel: 020 7833 1772
Fax: 020 7837 6584
Email: admin@cdf.org.uk
Website: www.cdf.org.uk

Details of the regional offices can be found here.

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Community Foundations

A fast growing way of giving, community foundations are charitable trusts that promote and support local voluntary and community activity.

They are set up in a local area to act as a broker for donors, usually building an endowment for future income. Increasingly they are acting as a distributor of government funding as well as charitable money. The national body for community foundations is the Community Foundation Network.

Community Foundation Network
12 Angel Gate
320-326 City Road
T: 020 7713 9326
E: network@ukcommunityfoundations.org 
Website: www.communityfoundations.org.uk

For details of local community foundations click here.

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Community fundraising

A phrase often used to describe the kind of fundraising that groups do in their community: jumble sales, sponsored events and so on.

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Community group, community sector

The community sector is made up of community groups. The members of a community group are mostly people from a specific community and the group is often informal and has no paid workers. In contrast the 'voluntary sector' is made up of voluntary groups, which are usually formally constituted and may not be rooted in any particular community. Just to be confusing, sometimes the phrase 'the voluntary sector' is used to mean both voluntary and community groups.

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Community Interest Company (CIC)

Community Interest Company (CIC) is a new legal form for social enterprises. The form is particularly suitable for those social enterprises that wish to work within the relative freedom of the familiar limited company framework, without either the private profit motive or charitable status. The CIC will allow social enterprises to clearly demonstrate and report on their community interest to stakeholders, and will have transparent lock on assets.

A CIC regulator (CREG) was appointed on 1st April 2005. The regulators role is to encourage the development of the CIC brand and provide guidance and assistance on matters relating to CICs.

To find out if a CIC may be the right vehicle for your social enterprise please visit: www.cicregulator.gov.uk

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Community Matters

Community Matters is the National Federation of Community Organisations. National means the whole of the UK. It represents and provides support to community associations.

Community Matters holds partnerships with the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Education, BIG Lottery Fund and London Councils.

Contact Community Matters at:
12-20 Baron Street
N1 9LL
T: 020 7837 7887
F: 020 7278 9253
W: www.communitymatters.org.uk

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Community Organisers

Community Organisers is a new initiative under the Big Society Agenda, whereby selected individuals will work closely with communities to identify local leaders, projects and opportunities, and empower the local community to improve their local area.

Locality - a new nationwide network of community led organisations, formed through the merger of the Development Trusts Association (DTA) and bassac - has been chosen to deliver this programme, including the development of a training framework, Code of Conduct for Community Organisers, and an Institute for Community Organising.

For more information on Community organisers, visit the: Cabinet Office website

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Community plan, Community strategies

Local authorities have a duty to prepare, in consultation with local stakeholders, community strategies - also referred to as sustainable communitie strategies - to improve the economic, social and environmental well being of the area.

Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) develop community strategies and regeneration and development money is delivered and reduce the number of different initiatives and partnerships in any given area.

Further information on community strategies can be found on the Local Government Improvement and Development website.

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The Compact on Relations between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector in England (the Compact) is a set of principles and undertakings that provide a framework for relations between Government and the sector. Introduced in 1998, it applies to Government Departments in England, and its scope includes Executive Agencies and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). It applies to the range of organisations in the voluntary and community sector. A series of Codes of Good Practice provide further guidance on, Funding, Consultation and Policy Appraisal, Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, Volunteering and Community Groups.

Local Compacts are agreements between local government, local public bodies and voluntary and community sectors. 99% of local authority areas are now covered by a Local Compact.

Compact Voice is intended to represent the voluntary and community sector in England on taking the Compact forward. 

The Compact Commission is an independent organisation for the Compact overseeing the relationship between the government and the voluntary sector. The Commission have a website devoted to the Compact: www.thecompact.org.uk

To contact the Compact team click here.

In 2009 a refreshed Compact was launched by the Compact partnership consisting of the Office of the Third Sector, Compact Voice and the Commission for the Compact. A year later, the Compact was again renewed, in response to the October 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review and justified by the change in government. In September 2010 a draft version was released, which aimed to prevent government departments treating charities unfairly when spending cuts had taken effect. Following an unusually brief consultation period of six weeks, owing to the threat of severe public cuts, the final document was ratified and published in December 2010. To download a copy of the Compact, visit the Compact website.

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Compact Voice

Compact Voice is a voluntary sector organisation that shares administration for the Compact with the Office for Civil Society, and works to uphold the voluntary sector’s side of the agreement.

Compact Voice is a network of over 2,300 members ranging from community organisations to large national charities, incorporating board members from front line groups and umbrella bodies, representing in-turn over 20,000 voluntary and community groups.

Fore more information, visit the Compact Voice website.

Compact Voice
Society Building
8 All Saints Street
N1 9RL
T: 0207 520 2451
E: compact@compactvoice.org.uk
W: www.compactvoice.org.uk
T: @compactvoice

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Companies House

The register of registered companies is held by Companies House. It is where registered companies send their annual returns to.

Companies House is at:
Crown Way
CF14 3UZ
T: 0303 1234 500
E: enquiries@companies-house.gov.uk
W: www.companieshouse.gov.uk

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Company Secretary

This is a technical term. Every company registered under the Companies Acts must have a Company Secretary. He or she may also be (but does not need to be) a director of the company.

The main tasks of the Company Secretary are to take responsibility for any contracts the company enters into and to ensure that the company and its directors comply with the Companies Acts and other relevant legislation - particularly as regards: meetings; resolutions; returns and notifications; minutes; registers of members and directors; and the safe-keeping of documents.

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A word used by government, which is concerned that activities funded by different government departments should complement each other (while not duplicating provision) rather than contradict each other.

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Comprehensive Spending Review

A Spending Review, or occasionally Comprehensive Spending Review, is a governmental process in the UK carried out by HM Treasury to set firm expenditure limits and, through public service agreements, define the key improvements that the public can expect from these resources.

More information on Spending Review can be found on the HM Treasury website.

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A type of governing document, sometimes referred to as 'rules'. A constitution, or rules, will create an unincorporated association.

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An outside expert brought in to solve a problem or exploit an opportunity.

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Contingency funds

A phrase used to describe money put on one side to deal with things that might happen - like sick pay to staff or building repairs.

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An agreement between two parties where one offers something in return for 'consideration' (often money) and the other accepts. Contracts are binding and subject to law. Charitable grants are usually not thought to be contracts.

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Contract of employment

There is a legal, contractual relationship between an employee and employer from the moment a job is offered and accepted, even if there is nothing on paper. However the law requires employers to give virtually all employees a written statement of employment particulars as well, which must cover:

  • the full name of the employer and the employee;
  • the title of the job or a brief description of the work;
  • the place or places where the work is to happen and the address of the employer;
  • the date the employment began;
  • details about the salary (amount, pay scale or way of calculating pay, other benefits, when paid);
  • the hours of work - explaining what normal working hours are;
  • what the holiday entitlements are.

There are a number of other things that a written contract should or could include: sickness and maternity arrangements; leave and time off; trade union rights; termination of employment; disciplinary and grievance procedure; intellectual property rights; pensions arrangements; internal policies on health and safety, smoking, equal opportunities, relationships with the media, childcare, car use. Sometimes organisations produce a staff handbook to cover these matters.

Funders will expect organisations they fund to follow good employment practice - and to be able to demonstrate that they do. Clear contracts, along with good procedures for managing and developing staff, can do this.

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A cooperative is a collaboration of individuals or businesses that work together to gain a benefit through numbers. A cooperative is not a charity but it is a nonprofit. It is jointly owned and democratically controlled.

See Mutuals.

Core funding

An ambiguous term that attracts lots of argument and debate. There is a variety of intepretations of 'core funding', with peaople taking it to mean:

  • funding of the core mission of the organisation, as opposed to funding ancillary projects
  • funding of administration, as opposed to service delivery
  • continuous funding as opposed to time-limited funding.

It has been argued that the idea of 'core funding' is unhelpful and old-fashioned and doesn't help groups justify why they should get funding. In this case voluntary organisations are urged to see everything in terms of 'project funding', either with each 'project' contributing to the core costs, or the core activities themselves being seen (and sold to funders) as projects. Other groups try to fund their core activities out of income they get directly from the public or they earn themselves. It's probably best to talk about the funding of core costs (above) as opposed to 'core funding'.

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Corporate responsibility, company giving

Companies often give money to good causes or help them in other ways (gifts in kind or use of meeting rooms, for instance). When this is done formally - particularly by big companies like supermarket chains or petrol companies or banks, it's often done by a 'Corporate Responsibility Department' because companies feel they have corporate responsibilities to the environment they operate in and the communities their employees come from.

Company giving is often contrasted with sponsorship, which may be undertaken for much more commercial reasons.

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The cost of something (in terms of money or time or other resources) can in theory be worked out objectively. This is in contrast to price, which is determined when something is sold.

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Cost centre

A systematic way of allocating income and expenditure to different activities. Each different activity is allocated its 'share' of (for example) salary costs.

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Cost effective

Can just mean 'as cheap as possible'. If you ask yourselves whether you can achieve the desired outcome by any cheaper method and come up with the answer 'No', then something is cost effective. Sometimes it's used to mean you get a lot of output (or outcome) for a little bit of spending.

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Costs: Core costs, central costs

The costs of keeping the organisation going, not directly connected to any particular project - e.g. administration, management, research and development, audit, HQ costs, IT and finance costs, administrative, personnel and training charges, insurances. Sometimes called 'central' costs.

An influential report suggested that for many charities these central costs included the costs of:

  • compliance - with regulatory and funding bodies
  • income generation
  • responding to consultation
  • governance, representation and user engagement
  • support services
  • innovation and quality.

When it comes to using phrases like 'core costs', central costs' or 'overheads', make it clear what is included and what isn't. If in doubt, spell it out. You might want to refer to the funding models described below.

The report on the funding of core costs offered three models for funders:

Full project funding
In this model, each 'project' that an organisation seeks funding for has associated with it an appropriate proportion of the organisation's overheads. You would need to explain on what basis you were dividing up your core costs.

Development funding
This is seen as funding to help an organisation grow and develop in a particular direction. It is capacity building fundraising. The funder would fund all the costs associated with the initiative. You would need to explain exactly what the expected outcomes would be and ensure there were ways of monitoring and evaluating progress.

The strategic model
Strategic funding is when funders support an organisation either because there is synergy between their overall objectives or because they support the organisation's objectives. It is funding that is not tied to a specific project or initiative. Think of it more as a partnership rather than the giving and receiving of a grant. Funders are unlikely to adopt this model unless there is a very close fit between their objectives and yours and both parties are involved in setting the goals and reviewing progress.

These models are beginning to be used by funders and it may be useful to grant-seekers to write a budget for a funder in terms of one of these models. New Philanthropy Capital and ACEVO have published Full Cost Recovery: A guide and toolkit on cost allocation, which contains more information on full cost recovery and a handy template for organisations to calculate the full costs of a project or service.

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Costs: Direct costs

Direct costs are costs directly related to the activity, such as the staff who work on that project, their expenses, the hire of the hall for the event.

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Costs: Fixed costs

Fixed costs you have to pay regardless of how much or how little activity you carry out. For example, you may have to insure equipment or pay rates whether you do anything or not.

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Costs: Full cost recovery

Full cost recovery means securing funding for, or 'recovering,' all your costs, including the direct costs of projects and a relevant proportion of all associated core costs.

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Costs: Indirect costs

Indirect costs are costs not directly related to the activity, but still incurred by the organisation, and without which the activity wouldn't happen i.e. a share of the costs of managing and administrating the organisation.

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Costs: On-costs

Usually taken to mean the costs that follow on from employing staff - e.g. National Insurance, share of office costs, travel, training, management/supervision.

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Costs: Recruitment costs

Recruitment costs can be significant. If the funding you are requesting is for staff, think through everything involved: advertising a job, preparing and sending out information (job description, person specification, information about the organisation) to applicants, shortlisting, interview costs. What if you fail to recruit first time? Might you need to recruit more than once during the life of the project?

Recruitment is an area where funders will expect to see evidence of a commitment to equal opportunities.

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Costs: Recurring costs and set-up costs

Some costs are non-recurrent, i.e. you only have them once, especially near the start of a project, hence often called set-up or start-up cost e.g. recruitment, minor fitting out of offices, telephone connection charges, a feasibility study. It's worth separating them out from the recurrent costs - the ones that keep coming back - salaries, utilities, rent - so that you can predict what your costs will be in future years.

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Costs: Running costs

A vague term usually taken to mean the costs of running an organisation or a project. If you use the term, state clearly what this does and does not include - salaries? all direct costs? indirect costs?

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Costs: Unit costs

'Unit' in this phrase means 'one' as opposed to many, so the unit cost means 'the cost of one'. For example if you get 100 pamphlets printed at a cost of £300, the unit cost (the cost of producing each one) is £3.00. If it costs you £500 to have 1,000 of the same leaflets printed, the unit cost has fallen to 50p.

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Costs: Variable costs

Variable costs go up or down depending on how much activity you carry out. Things like photocopying, travel, childcare expenses and stationery are likely to vary according to what you do.

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Council for Voluntary Service (CVS)

Most areas, especially urban areas, have a Council for Voluntary Service, although it may be known as Council of Voluntary Service, Council for Social Service, Voluntary Action Blanktown, Blanktown Voluntary Action, or Association of Voluntary Organisations - or something similar. They are umbrella organisations, which support community and voluntary groups in their area, representing their views in discussions with local councils, providing a range of different services. They can usually advise on fundraising.

CVS' are local development agencies. Their national body is NAVCA. To find the CVS that covers your area go to the NAVCA website.

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A covenant is a promise made in a formal way. It is the word used to describe a tax-effective way of giving to a charitable organisation. The donor promises to pay a certain amount of money (from which tax has already been deducted) over a minimum of four years. The charity reclaims the tax (at the standard rate) from the Inland Revenue. If the donor is a higher-rate taxpayer, the donor too can claim some tax back.

Changes in the way Gift Aid works means that covenants are not now as necessary as they once were. Gift Aid may be an easier way of reclaiming tax. Covenants now include a Gift Aid Declaration.

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The people that you owe money to. On a balance sheet contrasted with debtors - these are the people that owe you money.

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The standards or characteristics required by somebody judging something. With funders, their criteria are the 'rules' about who can apply. One funder's criteria, for example, might be that applicants have to be a national organisation and have had experience of working with a variety of communities.

The word criteria is plural. One requirement is one 'criterion'.

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