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Finding and applying for grants

Overview

This page covers general advice on applying for grants and finding grant sources. For information specifically about MGS grant streams and guidance on applying for our funding, please visit our Funding pages.

Things to remember

Before you embark on finding and applying for appropriate grants, there are a few points worth considering:
  • Do your homework. Target the funder with the best match between your aims and theirs. Avoid a scattergun approach, it is rarely productive. A funder’s annual report should give you an indication of what they have funded and by how much 
  • Make contact with the grants officer or funder well in advance of submitting your application. They may be able to guide how you shape your application and provide an indication about your chances of success 
  • Make sure you are eligible to apply and that your projects meet any criteria. There is no point wasting time writing an application if you do not meet the criteria 
  • Involve your colleagues and draw on knowledge from across the organisation 
  • Identify what will make your project stand out and remember that you will likely be in competition with lots of other quality projects so make your project impossible to turn down
  • Clearly describe what you will do and the difference the project will make, don’t forget the details that are obvious to you but only because you know the project inside out. 
  • Avoid jargon specific to your sector or organisation 
  • Make sure your budget figures make sense and add up 
  • Persuade donors that supporting culture is as important to the wellbeing of the community as other charitable causes is critical 
  • Look beyond ‘heritage’ grant streams. Think about sources of funding linked to the subject of your collection or the groups of people you want to work with, for example technical skills for young adults.

Also, please visit our 'types of funding' page to find out about the different types of funding available to museums.

Further resources

There are a number of funding directories and resources listing grant giving organisations that already exist. Please note that we do try and review the links here on a regular basis, but if you find a link broken please visit the main organisation's website as the resource may have been moved or updated.

Funding directories

Heritage Alliance: Funding Directory

Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations: Funding Scotland database

Funding Scotland

Scotland's Towns Partnership produce a monthly Funding Finder that can be downloaded from www.scotlandstowns.org/funding_support

 

 

Learn more

Resourcing Scotland's Heritage resources

Association of Independent Museums (AIM) success guides:

UK Government's advice on claiming gift aid as a charity

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) fundraising guide

National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO): Sustainable funding

Arts and Business Scotland fundraising advice