Sources of Funding

For a social enterprise, funding can come from many sources –  the range of sources are explained as follows  – funding applications, sponsorships, events, crowd-funding and investment. It is important though to always remember that funding is useful for specific projects or as an aid to start-up but should never be chased at the expense of your vision, your aim and objectives.

Funding may come from national and regional government, the European union, lotteries, charities, trusts and associations, all organisations that themselves have got specific targets and objectives to meet. This module helps you to identify the sources and prepare yourself to apply for funding by either writing a bid or a tender. In addition to funding applications, there are other sources of funding such as your own activities such as events, crowd-funding and seeking sponsors for example. External funding can also often help support social enterprises in times of difficulty.


At the End of this Webinar, You Will Be Able to:

1.1. Identify available funding from a range of organisations:
For a social enterprise there are many options to ensure income, as well as commercial activities or sponsorship. Social enterprises often begin by obtaining funds through successful bids or tenders. Sources of funding may be found via the European Union, such as Structural Funds such as ESF or ERDF, or Erasmus Plus for educational and training related projects. In some countries, governments or large charities might provide funding opportunities for social business, such as Children In Need in the UK or the UK Lottery.
Alternatively, trusts and associations, or even larger social enterprises or charities will offer targeted and specialized funding opportunities.

1.2. Decide whether to write a bid or find another way:
As well as writing bids or tenders, there are other ways of obtaining funds such as crowd-funding, obtaining investment or running events are other possibilities considered here. Writing a bid assumes that you have found an appropriate source of funding, that you understand the application process and have made the necessary preparations. This section contains interviews with social entrepreneurs who have offered investment, successfully obtained crowd-funding and/ or undertaken large events.

40 minutes

This lesson will take you approximately 40 minutes to get through, that is, if you just follow the explanations including watching the videos.

70 minutes

With additional reading this lesson should take you in total about 70 minutes to complete.

3 hours

With additional reading and a review of the academic articles, journal articles or advanced concepts should take you, more like, 3 hours to complete.

Funding can be obtained from a range of sources:
  • European Union – Erasmus, Structural Funding, Horizon
  • National and Regional government
  • Charities, including Lotteries, Children In Need
  • Trusts and Associations
  • Social Investment
  • Events
  • Sponsorship
  • Crowdfunding

Some further information about funding sources! In the UK only, post-Brexit, the European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and other forms of structural funding are to be replaced by a new fund, UK Shared Prosperity Fund, although there are new details available at present. Similarly, Erasmus Plus has been replaced by a new initiative, the Turing Scheme with a focus on exchanges only.

Also in the UK, funding sources are often charities, trusts and associations. These include Children In Need, National Lottery including Awards for All, the Percy Bilton Charity, Esmee Fairburn Trust; Tony Lloyd Trust; Foyle Foundation; The Dulverton Trust; GC Gibson Charitable Trust; Kathleen Hannay Memorial Trust  and there are many others –  all of which have very specific an targeted aims, objectives and funding arrangements.

In the following you can watch a short video that introduces the lesson and key subjects.

For more information you can check the following websites: startupdonut and entrepreneurhandbook.