Funding Advice

Funding is a common issue for voluntary and community groups regardless of size and area of interest. Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) can support you and your organisation with funding issues in many different ways depending on your individual circumstances and needs. This could be support in developing a funding strategy, help finding a funder or reviewing your bids. Contact Us to see how we can help you.  

Finding the right Funder is very important, but equally important is being ready to apply. 

Funding Strategy

A good place to start is having a Funding Strategy in place. In simple terms a Funding Strategy is a plan which sets out what your organisation was set up to do and its main area of work, what your funding needs and priorities are over a set period of time (for example three years), how you intend to raise the money and where you will raise it from. 

Be realistic: to avoid disappointment, make sure your targets are realistic and achieveable. Go for small as well as large amounts of money, but don't get distracted and chase funding for your projects which don't fit your purpse. Set timescales and try to keep to them.

It can be a good idea to form a fundraising group where members can support and learn from each other, and make sure that things get done on time. Keep written records of which funders have been approached and what their response was. It will give you some idea of what worked well, who responded positively, and what was not as successful. Always remember to thank your funders for their support, and keep them regularly updated about progress. 

At every stage of developing your funding strategy, DeVA can offer advice and support. 

Funding Options

It can be useful to think of the range of funding options as a spectrum, with asking at one end and earning at the other. 

Gift Economy

donations or corporate support


to achieve agreed aims (e.g Trusts or Lottery)


for a service often to local authorities

Open Market

trading goods and services freely

The main types of funders are:

  • Statutory Bodies (local authority or central government departments, the health authority or European funds),
  • Charitable (Trusts and Foundations),
  • National Lottery Boards. 



If you are ready to start looking for funders, Funding Central is part of National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and funded by the Cabinet Office and offers free access to funding database. 

There are also a number of local funding options available to community and voluntary groups: 

  • Elected Councillors Funds: These are available at both County and District level on an annual basis from April to March. Information on these grants are available on Devon County Council and all District Council websites or contact your local elected Councillors.
  • Town Council Funds: These are available to support groups and specific projects within their boundaries which undertake activities benefitting its residents. They often advertise in the local press when grants are open ot visit their websites for more information.
  • Charitable Funds with a geographical focus: These are available and will vary depending on location. These often support small localised voluntary and community groups or one-off projects in their area depending on the nature of the fund. Contact Us for your local funds.