FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions regarding applications and the application process:

About UK Aid Direct

Why does UK Aid Direct specifically provide support to small and medium sized civil society organisations?

Small and medium sized civil society organisations have a unique ability to build relationships, trust and legitimacy, through their grass roots knowledge of needs in developing countries. They play a vital role amplifying voice, shifting social norms and securing accountability for people that are excluded, discriminated and disadvantaged in order to build more open societies and economies. Small and medium sized civil society organisations are a key part of the overall portfolio of action required to achieve poverty reduction.

How is UK Aid Direct different from the Global Poverty Action Fund?

UK Aid Direct is the second phase of the Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF). This next phase of funding demonstrates DFID’s commitment to working with civil society partners to achieve poverty reduction. Whilst GPAF focused on the Millennium Developments Goals, UK Aid Direct is designed to support the UK’s commitments to achieving the Global Goals. UK Aid Direct will build on the success and momentum of the GPAF, introduce more flexibility and responsiveness in recognition of the changing global international development framework, and work to strengthen communication and outreach.

The application form requests that we explain how our organisational strategy aligns to the UK Aid Direct vision and mission. Where can we find information on the vision and mission of the fund?

Please refer to the About > Priorities section of this website.

What will be the focus areas of future UK Aid Direct funding rounds and when will they take place?

UK Aid Direct has been established as a flexible and responsive fund to support small and medium sized civil society organisations working to reduce poverty. The timing and any criteria for future funding rounds will respond to global international development priorities and will be decided by DFID Ministers. Future funding rounds will be announced as soon as they are decided.

What UK Aid Direct can fund

Is the organisation I am working for eligible to apply for a UK Aid Direct grant?

Please read our section on eligibility here to find out.

For Community Partnership grants, as well as Small Charities Challenge Fund grants, your organisation must be UK registered and working in one of the eligible countries listed.

For Impact grants, your organisation can be registered in the UK, in one of the lowest 50 countries in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) or in a country that DFID considers to be high or moderate fragility.

Why isn’t our organisation’s country listed as an ‘eligible’ country?

The list of eligible countries is determined by the Department for International Development (DFID). Please see this page for a breakdown by country.

Can you advise us on other funds we could apply for?

We don’t advise individual organisations on what other funds they could apply for.

However, please do look at the UK Department for International Development’s funding summary page (opens in a new window) for other funding opportunities.

What time period does a UK Aid Direct grant cover?

For a Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) grant it is up to 2 years.

Community Partnership grant is up to 3 years duration.

An Impact grant is from between 3 to 5 years, and proposals for 3+ years must be supported by a compelling case for longer duration.

What does UK Aid Direct mean by not-for profit?

The fund is not limited to registered charities but will support other not-for-profit organisations as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

The UK Aid Direct website includes the DFID definition of not-for-profit as: “organisations that do not distribute surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead use them to help pursue the organisational goals”.

Are there maximums/caps on budget categories such as capital expenditure, monitoring & evaluation, or UK costs?

UK Aid Direct does not specify how much of the budget should go to capital expenditure, monitoring and evaluation activities or UK costs. It is up to the organisation to make the determination appropriate to the project.

We understand that DFID does not want a significant proportion of its grants to be spent on construction, but what about projects focused on addressing poverty with the provision of housing, water points, sanitation units that reduce poverty in a very measurable way?

Major capital expenditure (e.g. construction or purchase of buildings, purchase of land) cannot be supported as a primary focus of the proposed initiative. Any aspect of capital expenditure that you include needs to be fully justified as directly contributing to a sustainable outcome linked to the reduction of poverty and must be set out clearly in the budget. This is intended to avoid funding of buildings and equipment that are not supported by other project components or approaches to ensure that the capital expenditure contributes to a sustainable poverty reduction outcome

Would a project that delivered service to women only be considered gender discriminatory if the benefits of the project would reach the whole community?

This would not be considered to be discriminatory, but we would still expect the men to be involved in the project design and implementation as appropriate.

Can we apply for funding of an existing project?

Applications to UK Aid Direct for scaling up of an existing project/pilot to new geographic areas or expansion to include new components will be eligible. Such applications should be supported by evidence of impact of the existing project.

Application process

Can I discuss my application with you directly?

Unfortunately, we are not able to discuss applications directly but do contact us if you have any queries about the application process or specific eligibility criteria.

Where can I find the online application portal?

The online application portal can be found here (opens in a new window).

Can you send us an offline application form?

No, all applications must be submitted via our online application form, which can be accessed here through our online portal (opens in a new window).

You can download a pdf of the application form to work on offline after you have registered to apply but we strongly recommend you view it online and we cannot accept applications which are not submitted through our online application portal.

Can we partner with other organisations?

Yes. It is expected that you may be working with local implementing partners.

You can also form a consortium, please see here for further information.

What is the deadline for applications?

The Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) will remain open and all applications will be reviewed on a 6-monthly basis. The closing date for the first review of proposals will be 30 September 2017.

For Community Partnership grants and Impact grant applications, please view their specific pages on this website.

Can we submit more than one application?

Yes. There is a maximum of 2 live grants per organisation for a Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) grant and a Community Partnership grant.

For an Impact grant, there is a maximum of 3 live grants.

Where can I find an offline version of the application form?

A PDF version of the application form and the budget template can be downloaded once you have passed the eligibility test. These can be accessed in the online portal.  Under no circumstances will UK Aid Direct review requests for funding or proposals submitted outside of the online portal.

What is the working definition of primary and secondary beneficiaries?

Primary beneficiaries are those people who will directly benefit from the intervention, for example a mother attending an ante natal clinic is a direct beneficiary. Secondary beneficiaries are those who are benefitting indirectly from an intervention for example, someone attends a training on improving nutrition then shares that information within her household. The members of her household are secondary beneficiaries.

How and when will we be notified of the outcome of our submission?

Applicants will be advised of the outcome by email addressed to the main contact provided on your submission.

All applicants who have submitted applications by 30 September 2017 for a Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) will be informed of the outcome in December 2017.

Can I submit draft versions of my application for approval or ask for suggestions on ideas for projects?

In the interests of fairness to all applicants, we regret that we are unable to provide specific guidance to applicants relating to individual project ideas. Your application should demonstrate how your idea fits with the specific objectives of UK Aid Direct and this specific funding round. The guidelines provide advice on what is and what is not eligible. However, if you have a specific query relating to any aspect of the guidance material, we are able to offer clarification, so please do not hesitate to email us or send a message via the Contact page of the website.

The website does not give a proposed start date for projects. This would be extremely helpful, when in talks with partners and colleagues, so we can plan timings?

Bearing in mind the time that it will take to conduct assessments, the due diligence and grant setup processes, and allowing for proposal and project development, we expect that a realistic project start date for the Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) would be no earlier than 6 months after the 5 July 2017 launch.

Requirements and supporting documents

Does our organisation need to be based in the UK to apply for a UK Aid Direct grant?

To be eligible to apply for a Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) grant or a Community Partnership grant, groups must be UK registered.

To be eligible to apply for an Impact grant your organisation must be:

  • UK registered or
  • in one of the lowest 50 countries in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) or
  • in a country that DFID considers to be high or moderate fragility
Can we partner with other organisations?

Yes. It is expected that you may be working with local implementing partners.

You can also form a consortium, please see here for further information.

What is meant by ‘income’?

Income (or turnover) can be defined as the total incoming resources or total funds received by an organisation during a given financial period.

Examples of ‘income’ includes funds / monies received as unrestricted and restricted funds from grants, donations, sales of goods or services etc.

For UK Aid Direct grant applications, over how many years do you consider the annual income?

We look at the average of annual incomes over the last 3 years.

Do you consider gifts as part of ‘income’?

This would depend on if a value has been placed on the gift and included in the organisational accounts, and what type of gift it is.

If a value has been placed on it and it is included in the accounts then, we would consider it part of income.

Do UK Aid Direct grants fund buildings?

No, there is a list of what type of activities and costs can be funded within the Budget Classification and Budget Management guidance document located here.
Major capital expenditure (e.g. construction or purchase of buildings, purchase of land) cannot be supported as a primary focus of the proposed initiative.

Any aspect of capital expenditure that you include needs to be fully justified as directly contributing to a sustainable outcome linked to the reduction of poverty and must be set out clearly in the budget. This is intended to avoid funding of buildings and equipment that are not supported by other project components or approaches to ensure that the capital expenditure contributes to a sustainable poverty reduction outcome.

To find out more, please visit the guidance section within the website.

What happens if my application for a Small Charities Challenge Fund grant (SCCF) is successful and my organisation has an income of less than £250,000 per annum?

If your organisation has an annual income of less than £250,000 you may not have independently examined accounts.

If you are successful in your application and do not already have independently examined accounts, we will provide you with access to an independent examiner to carry out a competent examination inspection of your accounts through the Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) Fund Manager.

The service will be included in the Fund Manager contract.This work will form part of the due diligence assessment, and grants will only be finalised following this process.

Successful applicants will need publish their financial data on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) as part of DFID’s transparency agenda. Do implementing partners also need to be fully or partially IATI compliant?

The Civil Society Partnership Review released by the UK Government in November makes the following statement:

At a minimum, by the end of 2017, centrally funded CSOs will be required to meet the full International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard on all their funding, and ensure that all the organisations in their delivery chain also meet the standard.

Under the terms of the DFID Accountable Grant Arrangement, all organisations directly receiving DFID funding will be required to publish to the IATI standard every quarter and within 6 months of signing the grant agreement. Lead grant holders will also be expected to support their implementing partners to publish their IATI data.

Grant holders funded through the Small Charities Challenge Fund will be encouraged and offered support to publish to the IATI standard, however, it will not be a requirement stipulated in their Accountable Grant Agreement.

We are a new organisation and do not have 3 years of audited accounts, does this exclude us from being able to apply?

A newly formed organisation can apply provided that it is able to meet all the eligibility criteria. If you cannot provide audited or approved accounts for the past three years, we may ask you to provide other information to satisfy us that you are able to manage the grant.

What are the due diligence requirements?

All organisations are required to undertake a due diligence assessment prior to a DFID grant being confirmed. Assessments examine the capacity of organisations to manage DFID funds appropriately and transparently. Following the outcome of the assessment DFID’s offer of support will either be confirmed or withdrawn, and follow up actions may be required as a condition of the grant. Full details are available on the Gov.uk website.

If your project involves working with downstream partners your organisation should expect to carry out robust due diligence on the proposed partners and provide your assessment and findings for verification during the UK Aid Direct due diligence assessment.

Application portal

Can I discuss my application with you directly?

Unfortunately, we are not able to discuss applications directly but do contact us if you have any queries about the application process or specific eligibility criteria.

Can you send us an offline application form?

No, all applications must be submitted via our online application form, which can be accessed here through our online portal (opens in a new window).

You can download a pdf of the application form to work on offline after you have registered to apply but we strongly recommend you view it online and we cannot accept applications which are not submitted through our online application portal.

If you would like to re-submit the eligibility questionnaire, do you have to use a different email address?

The eligibility answers cannot be changed once submitted, as they determine whether or not an applicant can go through to the concept note stage.

Whether you submitted the eligibility answer incorrectly or whether your eligibility has changed, the only way to change responses to eligibility questions is to begin a new application. You can do this by logging in using the same email address, scrolling down to “Current Grant Windows”, and clicking “Apply” next to the grant you wish to apply for. You can then begin eligibility checks again and input accurate responses to re-check eligibility without using a different email address.

Do I need to register each time I want to submit an application?

Applicants do not need to register each time they wish to apply for support. However, applicants are required to submit a new application for each funding round. Previous applications will not automatically be considered in a new funding round.

Can I stay logged in and be inactive for long periods of time?

The system will log you out after a while if you stay inactive and it may not be obvious to you that you have been logged out (for example, if you are logged in for over an hour without using the system at all). If you have been away from your login screen for an hour or more the best thing to do is log out and then log back in again to avoid information being lost. The system should save your application information as you provide it, so there is no risk in logging out. But it is always good to check that the information you provide is being saved.

How do I reset my password?

If you forget your password, the Login section of the website contains a ‘Forgot your password?’ link through which applicants can reset their passwords.

Who can I contact if I experience technical issues while applying through the online system?

If you have any technical difficulties in using the portal then please submit a query through the Contact form on the website or by emailing ukaiddirect@manniondaniels.com, and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Which internet browser should I use for online applications?

The system will function on the latest two versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome. The fastest and smoothest experience will be on Google Chrome. However, the application form will function on all three.

Can I log in via more than one internet window?

No, please only log in via one internet window, otherwise you risk losing your content.