FAQs for applicants

Find answers to frequently asked questions when applying for funding from us.

Question about the online application form?

If your question is specifically about the online application form, see the technical FAQs for online applications below. 

Do we have to be a registered charity to apply? 

No, our funding is available to both registered charities and constituted groups. However, if you are a constituted group you are currently only eligible to apply for a Wee Grant.

Why do you only fund certain types of organisations?

We have decided to focus our funding initially on smaller organisations, and on certain legal entities (registered charities and constituted groups). As our work to address poverty and trauma develops, we will review the types of organisation we need to work with and will review our guidance in line with this.

What is ‘annual income’ and how do I determine this?

Annual income is based on the money you received in the last financial year, as presented in your most recent set of annual accounts. If you are a new charity or constituted group that has not yet produced accounts, we ask that you provide a recent bank statement and may ask for any forecast/projections for the forthcoming year.

Our organisation had an annual income of more than £2 million last year, can we still apply?

Charities with an annual income of more than £2 million a year are not currently eligible for our Large Grants, Small Grants, Wee Grants or Community Vehicle awards.

Our Programme Awards are available to charities with an income over £2million per year. For more information see here.

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How many years of funding can I apply for?

We can provide revenue funding of up to a maximum of five years, with the exception of Wee Grants, which provides funding for one year only.

Due to the level of demand and constraints on our budget, our ability to provide 5 year funding is limited and will be made only in exceptional circumstances. We are committed to providing long term support for our grantholders and are reviewing how best to accommodate this going into the next financial year. We will be clear with individual applicants on possible options beyond three year funding.  

The duration of funding we are able to offer will depend on a number of factors, including the fit of your work in relation to our Strategy; whether we have funded you previously; and if your work will add to our understanding of poverty and trauma and help inform our future funding practice.

How much can I ask for?

The size of our grants vary and can depend on the type of funding that you apply for. The upper and lower thresholds for each Fund are detailed on the guidance pages.

We try to be proportionate in how much we award and take into consideration a number of factors including your organisation’s financial position and annual income; whether you have an immediate need for our funds; the fit of your work in relation to our Strategy; the scale of your work geographically.

We plan to share examples of these considerations in practice through case studies and other communications messaging on our website.

Do I need to have match funding at the point of application?

No. While it is always great to have some funding in place, you don’t need to have this in place when you apply. There may also be some occasions where we can fully fund some projects, so there may be instances where you do not require match funding at all.

How do I apply?

Later this year, we will be introducing adjustments to the structure of Our Funds. 

This includes changes to the income thresholds and maximum award sizes available through our Wee and Small Grants. Our maximum Wee Grant award will increase from £2,000 to £5,000, and our maximum Small Grant will increase from £15,000 to £20,000.

So that we can make the necessary changes to our communications, applications, monitoring forms and guidance, we are currently closed to new applications and will be reopening with the new look version of Our Funds in September 2024.

I already have a grant from the Robertson Trust, can I apply under the 2020-30 strategy?

You can only hold one revenue grant from us at a time. This includes revenue funding from our previous Open Awards Programme (2016-2019/20). The earliest you can reapply for further revenue funding is 6 months before the end of your current grant period. If successful, we would not release any funds before your existing grant ends and you’ve sent us your End of Grant Report.

If you have already received funding from us under the 2020-30 strategy, please be aware that within Large Grants you will need to show that your proposed activities are clearly and purposely designed to address one of the priority issues listed within one of our funding themes. Without this, we are unlikely to be able to consider your request.  As part of the assessment process, we will ask you about how your work has benefitted the people you support during your first funding period and any developments planned or underway.

It is possible to hold a revenue grant and a capital grant from us at the same time.  If you have a revenue grant already and need capital funding for a vehicle, or, if you have a capital grant and need revenue funding, please view Our Funds to see which of our funds you might be able to access.

I recently applied to The Robertson Trust but was unsuccessful. Can I reapply?

If you applied to us after September 2020 and were unsuccessful, we outlined in your decision email how soon you can re-apply. If the reason we didn’t award you funding was something we think you can address, you may be able to re-apply once you have been able to do so. This is explained in your decision email. You can also find links to other sources of funding and support here

When are your deadlines and how quickly will I get a decision on my application?

Due to upcoming changes to Our Funds, the last date to apply is 12 noon, Friday 31st May 2024.

Each fund has slightly different timescales, but we will try to give you a decision within 8 to 12 weeks depending on the fund you have applied to.

We're currently receiving increased numbers of applications across Our Funds. The Team is continuing to work hard to respond to requests and assess new applications within our published deadlines, but if there are any changes to this we'll notify applicants on an individual basis.

What do you mean by ‘good governance’?

Governance relates to the way your organisation is run. It is essentially the principles against which your organisation carries out its work and your process for decision-making. We expect your organisation to have a minimum of three unconnected Trustees or Directors and for you to be able to show that you hold regular meetings. If your charity employs staff who are also Trustees/Directors, or there are any related/connected persons within the organisation, we will ask you to provide details of the policies you have in place to mitigate any conflict of interest.

It is always helpful for you to explain any plans you may have in place to change your Board structure under these circumstances. Please note that we will not consider funding the salaries of employees who also hold Trustee/Director positions within the applicant organisation. Other indicators of good governance include openness and transparency with your internal policies, strong financial controls and fair decision-making processes. It also includes access to appropriate training and support for your staff and volunteers, and the effective management of relationships with partners and stakeholders. You may also want to highlight in your application any key organisation accreditations you have, and/or recent reports from regulatory bodies such as the Care Inspectorate.

I’m not sure how to complete the budget section of the application form – can I provide my own budget?

Yes. If you are struggling to complete the project budget section within the application form, you can complete our separate budget sheet (Excel spreadsheet) and attach it to your application as a separate document if you wish.

My application is on behalf of a partnership or collaboration – can I apply?

Under Large Grants, we welcome applications from organisations working in partnership with others. Here we will prioritise awards for work which addresses those issues listed under one or more of our 4 funding themes. We would also expect to see a focus on prevention and on change , either at practice, organisational or at system level.

Formal Partnerships

These are Partnerships where any approved funding would be distributed directly to several members of the partnership. If this is the structure of your partnership, please nominate a lead organisation who will complete the application on behalf of all the partners. We will also require a signed copy of your Memorandum of Understanding, which includes the contact details for all partners. Please note that all partners should meet the eligibility criteria for Our Funds. This means that organisations with an annual income of more than £2 million would not be eligible for support within a partnership approach under Our Funds. We will also take into consideration the nature of any current awards which partners may currently be holding from the Trust.

If you are thinking of applying for a formal partnership award, please contact us to discuss your ideas before you complete an application form.

Otherwise, applications from informal partnerships, where only the lead organisation will receive and spend any approved funding, are welcome through our standard application process.

Can I see the questions in the application form before I apply?

Yes. Downloadable forms are available on the specific webpage for the fund that you are applying for. However, we are asking all applicants to complete the online application forms, as our team is currently working from home due to Covid-19.

How will I know that my online application has been received?

Once you have completed your application, you will receive an acknowledgement email from us confirming that we have received your application, clarifying what you can expect from us and the timescales for decisions.

Can you help me complete my application form?

We are always trying to improve the support we offer applicants and are available to answer any questions that you may have about your application form or existing grant. We are a very small team and would ask that you read the associated guidance and help text in the application forms before getting in touch. We will soon have some resources available that may help you complete your application, including videos, blogs and previous webinars.

Your guidance says that you will consider an applicant’s financial position and whether it has an immediate need for funding. What does this mean?

We consider financial need on the basis of the accounts provided in support of your application. As a general rule, if these indicate that you have reserves in excess of 12 months’ expenditure, we are unlikely to fund your organisation. However, we recognise that there may be a good reason why you hold onto these funds. We also know that, due to the pandemic, timescales for finalising annual accounts have lengthened and charities’ finances have been greatly impacted, meaning their position may have changed significantly since their last accounts.  This may include an impact on your ability to fundraise, how income or expenditure from government initiatives (such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) is recognised in your accounts, or a change to your reserves policy.

We will take such factors into consideration but it is important that you tell us when you apply – you will find a section within our application forms which allows you to do this. You can also send recent management accounts with your application, which will help us to gain a more up-to-date picture of your organisation’s finances than your latest approved accounts can provide. 

I still have some questions, so how do I get in touch with you?

In the first instance, we ask you to check our FAQs and any additional resources available on our website. However, we understand that you may still have questions that can not be answered from this information. We do accept enquiries by email to funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk but have also set up a dedicated voicemail to deal with any enquiries on 0141 353 4321. We are a small team but try to respond to enquiries within 3 working days.

Will you fund work which is about improving wellbeing? 

One of our four funding themes focuses on Emotional Wellbeing and Relationships. Under this theme we want to support work which will ensure that people who are at risk of or experiencing poverty and/or trauma will have emotional wellbeing and confidence, and strength in their relationships with others. Through our Wee and Small Grants, we can consider supporting the costs of e.g. social and community activities, lunch clubs and men’s sheds for eligible organisations. These activities could be directly aimed at a group of people which we know is more likely to experience poverty and/or trauma, or they could be community-wide, where the community includes people experiencing or at risk of experiencing poverty and/or trauma. Through our Large Grants, however, we are interested in supporting more targeted work which focuses on:

  • Parenting, early years and family support which focuses on child attachment.
  • Mental health support which aims to reduce dependency of children and young people on crisis or clinical services
  • Activities which empower vulnerable girls and women, including crisis support for those affected by gender- based violence
  • Services and supports for adults affected by severe and multiple issues including addictions and homelessness.

It is important to us that we understand how any proposed activities will improve outcomes for people affected by poverty and/or trauma. For our Large Grants, unless the activities outlined in your application are purposely designed to address those issues listed above, we will be unable to consider your request.

Technical FAQs for online application forms

The link to the online application form isn’t working.

Before getting in touch, we would ask that you check your internet connection and firewall settings first and try opening the link in a different browser, such as Chrome or Firefox. If you are still experiencing problems let us know at funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk 

I’ve completed some of the online form but can’t send it right now. Can I save this and return to it later?

Yes! Simply click on the ‘Save my progress and resume later’ button at the top of the first page of the application form. Please make sure you enter a valid email address.

I saved a draft online form and want to resume this. How do I do this?

When you save an application to resume later, we’ll send you an email to confirm that your draft application has been saved. This email includes a link to resume your form at any time. You can also click on the link to a new application from our website and click on the ‘resume a previously saved form’ link at the top of the page.

I’m trying to resume a previously saved online application, but it says it doesn’t recognise my details.

Input the email and password you used to save the online form and click the resume this form button. Do not hit enter.

I’ve forgotten the password I used to save an online application I hadn’t completed. How do I retrieve this?

When you save an application to resume later, we’ll send you an email to confirm that your draft application has been saved. This email includes a link to resume your form at any time. If you forget your password, click on this link, select ‘Forgot your password?’ and enter the email address you used to save the form. We’ll then send you an email to reset your password.

What does the red asterisk at the end of a question mean?

This means you must answer that question in order to complete and send us your application. When you hit send, it will tell you if any fields haven’t been completed or have been completed incorrectly.

I answered ‘no’ to a question and it said you cannot consider my application. What does this mean?

You must be able to answer ‘yes’ to certain eligibility questions within the online forms, such as having a minimum of three unconnected members on your Board or Committee. If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions a message will appear explaining why we cannot consider your application. This also means you won’t be able to complete the application.

If you answered ‘no’ by mistake, simply click on the ‘yes’ answer to the question. Please note however that you must meet these criteria in order to apply and that we will check this as part of our assessment of your application.

I’m getting an error message on the amount field in the form but I’m not sure why.

All amount fields should be numbers only, no pound signs, commas or decimal points.

I’m receiving an error message on the contact details section of the application saying the contacts must be different. Why is this?

We ask for details of two contacts in the application form, one must be a Trustee or someone who can authorise your organisation to apply. The other should be someone who is able to answer any questions about the application and who acts as the main point of contact for this.

We also ask for this to make sure any emails we send, for example confirming receipt of your application and our decision on this, are received by your organisation. You must input details of two different contacts in order to apply.

I uploaded a file by mistake. How do I remove this?

Click on the ‘upload file’ button again and upload the correct file.

I’m having trouble uploading large files. What should I do?

You can send us any additional documentation in support of your application to funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk or weegrants@therobertsontrust.org.uk for Wee Grants applications. You can upload a blank word document for any mandatory file upload questions if you need to.

I’ve received an error message saying the maximum allowed file size may have been reached and I can’t submit the online form. What should I do?

Any documents you attach to your application must not exceed 25MB. If you receive this error message, you will need to return to the form and remove any large documents, which you can send to us at funding@therobertsontrust.org.uk. Please quote the grant reference for your application in the email.

I’d like to print/save a copy of my completed application. How do I do this?

When you click Send, a preview of your completed application will appear. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘Print this page’ link. You can save a copy of your form as a PDF and print it. We will, however, also send you a PDF copy of your application with our acknowledgement email.

What happens after I send my online application?

It can take a couple of minutes for this to process, so please be patient and do not hit refresh on your browser. A page will appear to let you know we have received your application when this has gone through. We’ll ask you if you want to complete a short survey with your feedback on the application process and confirm that you can close your browser.