Small Charities Challenge Fund

About the Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF)

The Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) is a funding opportunity for small UK-registered charities and not-for-profit organisations.

SCCF project grants of up to £50,000 are available for projects of up to two years, for UK-registered organisations working towards addressing the Global Goals (opens in a new window), to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalised. 

Your organisation or your downstream partner will also need to be registered in the country of delivery for your application to be eligible.

We welcome applications from organisations with strong links to the country in which their project operates. 

SCCF project grants are a rolling funding opportunity whereby applications are reviewed on a six-monthly basis and can be submitted at any stage.

Updates to latest funding round

  • COVID-19: Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we will be prioritising applications that can demonstrate that they are responding to longer term impacts of COVID-19. The fund remains open for applications addressing a wide range of Global Goals in a variety of contexts.  However, we will expect all applicants to be able to explain: how their project will address anticipated longer term impacts of the virus and outline how the risks of COVID-19 to project delivery could be mitigated as part of their application. We appreciate the crisis is developing rapidly and that accurately predicting how COVID-19 will impact the specific context you work in will be challenging. Please refer to our COVID-19 FAQs page for further guidance. 

  • Projects in Kenya: To ensure an even spread of projects across different countries, the number of SCCF projects already operating in the local area will be considered during the application assessment process. Currently, the fund receives a particularly high volume of proposals for projects in Kenya. For Kenya, priority will be given to projects delivering in areas with high levels of poverty (for example, the North, East and urban slums) and those addressing issues like basic health, girls’ education, family planning and youth employment.

The next review date is:

  • Thursday 25 March 2021, 17:00pm (UK time)

The UK Aid Direct team hosted an application guidance webinar on Wednesday 21 October 2020. A recording of the event is available on YouTube. A copy of the questions that came up during the session are also available to download.

The Small Charities Challenge Fund application process is a one-staged process. All applications must be submitted online via the online portal.

Applying for an SCCF project grant

To find out if you are eligible to apply for our SCCF project grant and details regarding the application process, please download and view our SCCF project grants guidance document (PDF).


Application guidance can be viewed in our SCCF project grants guidance document.

Here is a summary of the funding process:

  • Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) project grants is an open funding round where applications are usually reviewed every six months
  • After the closing date, applications are scored and reviewed by an independent technical panel who assess both the technical approach of the proposed project and the fiduciary risk of the organisation
  • A moderation and shortlisting process is then conducted with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
  • Feedback is provided to all SCCF project grant applicants (successful and unsuccessful). Many organisations who are unsuccessful re-apply for a grant in the next round.
  • Due diligence is conducted on shortlisted organisations. SCCF due diligence is light-touch, involving self-assessment questionnaires and a telephone-based assessment. Site visits may also be carried out. More information on the due diligence process is available in the SCCF project grants guidance document (PDF).
  • Grant awards will be confirmed following the findings of the due diligence process and organisations will be supported to finalise the project design and budget
  • There is a payment-in-advance system for successful grant holders. More information can be found in the financial claims section of our grant holder guidance).
About the SCCF

Thinking about applying for a Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF) grant? Here are some facts for you to consider.

  • SCCF was launched on 5 July 2017 and since that time *555 eligible applications have been submitted in total
  • SCCF project grant applications are usually reviewed every six months
  • 84% of SCCF grant holders to date had not received Department for International Development (DFID) funding before
  • 17% of applicants in the first and second rounds were awarded grants, 18% in the third round, 13% in the fourth round, and 15% in the fifth round (if all sign their AGAs).
  • Current successful organisations are UK-based, with 59 outside of London and the South East.

Projects cover a range of policy areas including disability inclusion, education and livelihoods, and operate in 22 countries.

The average income of the current SCCF grant holders is £95,000.

*This number is for rounds 1 – 5 (including provisional grant holders)