Spring 2018 marks two years since the launch of the Ragdoll Foundation’s Open Grants Scheme. In that time we have considered 396 applications, invited 57 organisations to submit for stage two, and given out 26 grants totalling just over £500k.
Our largest award in 2018 was £35,000 over 3 years to Citizens Theatre to support ‘Hear My Voice’ a 3-year drama and storytelling project working with 4-12 year olds in Glasgow school nurture programmes; our smallest grant was £1,500 to Cornwall-based CIC Drama Express to work with young people with complex disabilities to put on an inclusive summer pantomime.
In any given month we currently receive 15-25 applications and invite 2 to 3 of these to submit for stage two, so around 1 in 7 goes to the next stage. At stage two, just under 50% receive funding. How can applicants improve their chances of being invited to stage two?
First of all, read the guidelines on the Ragdoll Foundation website and decide whether your organisation and project are eligible. This might sound obvious, but every month we receive proposals from organisations or for projects that aren’t eligible. We review our guidelines regularly and aim to make these as helpful and comprehensive as possible for our applicants – we don’t want anyone to spend time on a proposal that will be rejected straightaway. (We have added a FAQs page to help with common questions.)
Second, review our priority areas – we are looking for projects that:
- Are of strategic value for the organisation and / or the sector
- Have the potential to become models of good practice
- Include high quality evaluation and sharing of learning / outcomes
- Involve children in their early years (0-10 years old)
- Listen to children and allow their perceptions and feelings to be better understood
- Take place outside of London
- Value children’s imagination and creativity
(These aren’t in order of importance – but we are looking for projects that genuinely meet as many of these priority areas as possible.)
Third, have a look at the funded projects on our website. Each of these has a quality that sparked the interest of our trustees. What will set your project apart from the others? What will it add to the Ragdoll Foundation Open Grants Scheme portfolio?
Finally… Answer all of the questions on the application form as clearly as you can and make sure that your stage one budget can be read when printed onto one sheet of A4. It might be a good idea to ask a colleague to read through your application to ensure that your proposal makes sense to a reader who is several steps removed from the project.