Impact grants

Applications for an Impact grant are currently closed.

All applicants invited to submit a full application in the most recent funding round should have done so by Thursday 22 August 2019. Following review and moderation from the Department for International Development (DFID), applicants will be notified of the outcome in December 2019.

All future funding opportunities for UK Aid Direct will be announced through this website. You can also keep up to date by following our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Information above updated on Thursday 26 September 2019.

General information on Impact grants

The information contained below is for Impact grants in general. If invited to full application, read the specific full application guidance.

Eligibility for an Impact grant

Update: Impact grants are currently closed.

Impact grants are for applications from medium sized, non-governmental organisations.

To verify your eligibility online, you can enter the grant application portal. Simply complete the prompts and submit and you will be informed immediately if you are eligible to continue with your application. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be ready to complete your application at this stage. You will be provided with a login and password that will allow you to return to your application once you have read and watched all the guidance available to you.

In summary however, you will need to be

  • Registered as a not-for-profit organisation in the UK
  • Registered in one of the lowest 50 countries in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) or
  • Registered in a country considered by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to be of high or moderate fragility

When assessing where an organisation is based, the UK Aid Direct team look beyond legal registration and also consider where the organisation is controlled from and the level of autonomy of different offices. This relates to the governance and, in particular financial management of the entity. For instance if a grant applicant is registered in Bangladesh (an eligible country, in the lowest 50 countries in the UN HDI) but all management support functions take place in the United States Head Office (an ineligible country), with very little autonomy in the Bangladesh office, this will deem the organisation to be ineligible.

To be considered as registered in the UK, your organisation must:

  • have its own legal identity in the UK, and be registered with Companies House and/or Charity Commission;
  • have significant ongoing operations based in the UK related to the oversight and management of the UK Aid Direct grant

The status of the applicant organisation will be verified during due diligence.

There is also a maximum grant allowance per organisation of two live Impact grants at any one time.

A live grant is a project with more than 9 months left to run from the start date of the UK Aid Direct call for proposals.

The maximum combined grant model allowance is five live UK Aid Direct grants of different types.

Grant size

Applicants can apply for funding of between £250,001 and £4,000,000 per application.

Applicant organisations must have an average annual income of less than £10,000,000 for the past 3 years (as shown in approved organisational accounts). You may be asked to provide relevant documentation as evidence.

New organisations with fewer than 3 years of accounts may also apply but in such cases, average annual income will be calculated based on the organisation’s length of operation.


Alongside other factors, DFID will consider:

  • The financial capacity of an organisation to manage the size of grant applied for
  • The dependency that the applicant organisation has or will have on DFID funding
  • The diversity of organisations able to access DFID funding and market share.

Project countries

Projects can be set up in one or more of these project countries, made up of the lowest 50 countries in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) and countries DFID considers to be of high or moderate fragility.

UK Aid Direct funds cannot be used for poverty alleviation work or awareness raising activities in the UK.


All applicants will need to demonstrate how they are working with national level implementing partners to create and build partnerships that can drive relevant sustainable development results.

What we will not fund

We cannot fund certain types of organisations or projects. Learn more on the what will not be funded page.


From between 3 to 5 years, proposals for 3+ years must be supported by a compelling case for longer duration.

Impact grants cannot be offered for projects of less than 3 years.

UK Aid Direct Impact grants can be used to fund new, time-limited projects of up to 60-month (5 years) duration. Additional components of on-going programmes must be clearly identifiable as discrete projects, with a well-defined project outcome, a clear, time-limited schedule for delivery, and a distinct budget.

Matched funding

Organisations must be able to provide 25% of the funds per project as match funding and state the source of funding.

DFID will provide up to 75% of the total project costs. Your organisation or consortium must secure the remaining 25% (or more), either from your own resources or from another external source but excluding all other DFID funds.

The match funding for the first year must be in place before the start of the project, and the organisation will be assessed for its capacity to continue to match fund throughout the duration of the project.

“In kind” contributions cannot be used as part of the match funding. “In kind” contributions are services or items made available to support the project which are not paid for out of the project budget and would not be presented in income and expenditure statements in your organisational accounts, or those of your implementation partner(s).

Proposals deemed to be technically strong would stand an increased chance of being successful if they demonstrate a level of match funding above the minimum 25%.

Consortium applications

For the purpose of the UK Aid Direct programme, DFID defines consortium applications as those submitted by formal consortia only, i.e. where 2 or more organisations come together to create a new, formally constituted organisation, with its own organisational accounts.

Informal consortia, i.e. where 2 or more organisations work together on a specific project or initiative only, will be considered as partnerships, as defined in the Partnerships and Consortiumspage.

All formal consortium members must meet the UK Aid Direct Impact grant applicant organisation eligibility criteria.

To be eligible:

  • The average annual income of each consortium member organisation must be less than £10,000,000
  • The total combined income of consortium members may exceed £10,000,000
  • If registered as a separate legal entity, the average annual income of the consortium must be less than £10,000,000.

If the formal consortium does not have its own management structure, one member of the consortium will need to be elected as the ‘lead’ organisation, i.e. the organisation through which all funding would be channelled and who would operate as the main point of contact with DFID for the duration of the project.

Organisations may apply both as an individual organisation and as a member of a consortium at the same time.

If successful, the consortium grant would be counted as a grant held by each of the consortium members and would count towards the maximum combined grant model allowance of 5 live UK Aid Direct grants of different grant types.

Applying for an Impact grant

Applying for an Impact grant is a two-stage process and all eligible applications are assessed by a team of independent reviewers:

  1. the submission of a concept note
  2. full application (if an organisation is successful)

All applications must be submitted via the online portal reached from this website. Applications sent via email or post will not be accepted.

Completing a concept note application:

All applicants will need to:

  • Register online to apply
  • Complete an eligibility assessment
  • Complete a concept note.

Before starting an application, please:

  • Review your eligibility
  • Read all the guidance available
  • Visit the new Impact projects projects page to see what kind of projects have been supported in the pasy
  • Watch the short online application film on YouTube

Please refer to the news page on our website for the latest information. We also encourage applicants to follow the UK Aid Direct on Twitter (opens in a new window).

General guidance for Impact grant applications

See our current Impact grant holders