External funding is money awarded from grant giving organisations – externally acquired financial support which is additional to the running costs of an organisation. Hence, grants are usually made for a specific activity or a project rather than the usual day-to-day activities of an organisation or group. In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicant has to meet the funder’s specific criteria and show how the proposed project will help to implement the funder’s targets and objectives.
These are usually aimed at ‘charitable’ purposes, although this can often be interpreted very widely. An applicant must be able to demonstrate that there’s a real need for the proposed project, which should be backed up through evidence.
Research for available – and more importantly suitable – funding streams can be a difficult and very time-consuming process. Grant giving organisations include the EU, the Lottery, government and local authorities, as well as hundreds of often very small charitable trusts with very specific aims.