Charity Pot Funding Guidelines
We want to progress the way traditional philanthropy is done by being responsive to the needs of grassroots groups and organisations. Offering space in our shops for outreach events, and giving visibility to movements and connecting organisations with our staff and customers through internal and external storytelling, are examples of how we go beyond financial contributions.
Organisations can apply for any grant amount up to a maximum of £10,000. The sales of Charity Pot Body Lotion determine the amount of funds available for monthly allocation, therefore the average project grant size is often in the range of £3,000-£6,000. We are happy to discuss the possibility of a future grant after the completion of your group or organisation’s one-year grant term which includes a short report-back.
We believe in relationship-based philanthropy and allow for flexibility within a vetted project. Meaning, we aim to build a connection with the group, determine if they are conducting projects or actions that align with our values and fit our funding guidelines, and agree on a project that makes the most sense for Lush to fund. Within that project, we trust the group to ask for what they need, and spend the funding to best move that project forward. We do, however, have a few ethical parameters that prevent us from including select items detailed in our funding guidelines.
To shift the power dynamic and ensure democracy in decision making, we have a panel review system for nearly all Charity Pot funded grants. By implementing a more participatory approach, we will increase accountability, transparency and inclusion in grant making.
We look for projects that create long-term systemic change, addressing the root cause of the problem, and aim to challenge mainstream opinion and behaviour through raising awareness of issues. This can include activism, campaigning and holding governments accountable, or the implementation of regeneration or rewilding projects. Grants can be awarded to registered or unregistered organisations/charities, non-profits, or Indigenous and community groups with an annual revenue of £350,000 or less. Charity Pot grants do not fund individuals.
- We support non-violent direct action because we feel it plays an important part in bringing about social change. Non-violent direct action includes protests, demonstrations and other non-violent interventions. Charity Pot grants do not fund or facilitate law-breaking.
- We believe we can make the most impact by funding causes that are often overlooked and underfunded.
- We’re looking for initiatives that are far reaching, meaning that they aim to positively affect many rather than a few. We prioritise projects working toward systemic or catalytic change that challenges the root cause of issues.
- We look for projects that promote and implement viable and fair solutions that do no harm to people, planet or animals.
- We support organisations who are environmentally responsible.
- We believe in grassroots-led solutions; therefore, we support community-led decision making.
Charity Pot grants do not fund individuals, only organisations and groups. Your group does not need to be a registered charity, Charity Pot grants support all kinds of groups, including new organisations and start-ups. However, your group should be not-for-profit.
We’re passionate about our values and we want to be sure the organisations we support match our ethics. As a result, our Charity Pot funding does not provide grants to those that:
- Promote or support violence, aggression, prejudice, oppression or any infringement on human rights.
- Are involved in cruelty or subjugation of animals, including testing on animals for research or using animals for human gain, including the use of animals in entertainment, animal husbandry and therapy.
- Influence others to change or adopt their religious beliefs, or exclude others based on religious practice.
- Are connected to political parties, specific endorsements, political rallies or otherwise partisan in their work.
- Are not making the effort to be environmentally responsible.
- Are schools, university programs, sponsored walks/runs/sporting events or fundraising initiatives.
- Are social enterprises (for example, we cannot support any group designed with a for-profit model).
- Are government subsidies at any level.
Note, applications from non-secular, religious or military organisations are not accepted.
Charity Pot grants try to direct funding towards causes that are often overlooked by other funders. This means less popular issues, which are more difficult to raise funds for, are likely to be prioritised over an organisation that has, for example, many supporters, corporate sponsors, or has sufficient profile to be able to secure mainstream funding such as government grants. Typical popular causes tend to be health charities (medical research, hospices etc.), social welfare, religious causes, children/young people and military-related causes, so normally these are less of a priority for Charity Pot funding.
Charity Pot grants are generally directed towards campaigning project costs; however, core costs are occasionally considered where a detailed budget and explanation is provided. We aim to limit the amount of support we give to staff salaries (preferred not to exceed 50% of the total grant). Compensating through honorariums, stipends, facilitator or contract work for project management can be considered for funding because it is outsourcing of services which are not considered salaries.
Charity Pot grants prioritises those projects/organisations that best match the Lush values and ethics.
- We don’t fund domestic or international flights.
- We can fund convenings, trainings and meetings themselves, however we do not provide individual or group costs to attend. We are also happy to consider campaigns and actions that result from such convenings and make exceptions for Indigenous youth, elders and leader attendance.
- We cannot fund scholarships, event sponsorships or bail.
- We can only fund vegan or vegetarian food items.
- We CAN issue grants to small organisations working with fiscal sponsors that exceed our £350,000 annual revenue limit but otherwise fit our guidelines.
- We cannot fund groups that require grant remittance to a personal bank account. Funds must be issued to an account officially associated with an organisation.
Applicants who are writing a proposal relating to a regeneration or rewilding focused project can apply within the Environment channel. Charity Pot funds regenerative organisations that do not keep captive animals. We encourage applicants to show us how they are integrating their work into the community, for example how the project was co-designed with feedback from local people, or if the work is completed on private or publicly accessible land. We acknowledge that regenerative paradigms, principles, and processes can be applied not just in land-based practices like plant-based farming and agriculture, but across the board – for example with agriculture, housing, governance, and more. Socially-regenerative programmes may wish to apply under the Human Rights pillar, whereas rewilding programmes focussed on species reintroduction may wish to apply under the Animal Protection pillar.
Charity Pot grants prioritise projects that aim to create long-term change – because it’s crucially important to fund projects that aim to prevent and address the root cause of the problem. That’s why, for example, priority would be given to a project that aims to stop deforestation (e.g. by challenging the palm oil industry) over one that aims to plant trees to restore an area that’s already deforested.
Charity Pot grants will support ‘non-violent direct action’ groups, i.e. those which have no intention of physically harming others or threatening to do so. This includes protests, demonstrations, non-cooperation, non-violent interventions, or, occasionally, facilitating (e.g. communication costs) peaceful civil disobedience; because Lush recognise that these non-violent actions can play an important part in bringing about social change.
Charity Pot grants also recognise that there is an absolute need for delivering basic life needs and care to those in need (people, animals or the planet). So, projects that provide aid and support, such as animal shelters and refugee support and advice groups, have also been funded. However, those groups providing welfare that reaches beyond basic life needs, such as therapies, community social groups, and counselling, would not be prioritised.
Charity Pot grants do not fund animal farming projects, culling for conservation, the captivity of wild animals (incl. captive breeding programmes), or overseas rehoming of animals. However, Charity Pot grants have funded vegan, vegetarian and animal rights campaigning, anti-vivisection groups, TNR (trap–neuter–return) projects, wildlife sanctuaries that home animals no longer able to be released, and animal sanctuaries with a no-destruction policy and where the animals are not ‘used’ e.g. in animal assisted therapies, being ridden, or as part of a petting zoo etc.
Environmental responsibility is central to Lush, so Charity Pot grants only fund printed materials where recycled resources are used unless there is a justifiable reason that prevents it (e.g. availability in certain countries is limited). Charity Pot grants do not support market-based solutions to climate change, such as carbon trading, carbon offsetting, clean development mechanism or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). Significant asset purchases (e.g. land) would generally not be considered, and applications for legal challenges are only very occasionally successful. If applying for a legal challenge you will be required to demonstrate the national importance of the case and provide evidence of a favourable barrister’s opinion.
It is rare for film projects, theatrical productions or arts-based projects to be funded. If you wish to apply for an arts-based project, it must be campaigning-focussed and demonstrate it will actively engage the audience’s participation in campaigns within the sectors we fund. If successful, this would be a donation, and not an investment, and the production would need to be not-for-profit.
Similarly, events and parades would only be considered where there is a clear campaigning goal, and, as Charity Pot grants are prioritised to projects in most need of funding, large attendance events, which have a greater audience and funding opportunity, would be less of a priority.
Funding is not available for student expeditions, schools, councils, voluntourism projects, academic studies, sponsored activities (e.g. walks, runs, challenges etc.), fundraising initiatives, or event sponsorship.
You will need to tell us a bit about your group; some basic information, such as the groups’ name, address, and charitable status etc., as well as some detailed information, such as your total annual income and expenses, if you have staff, how many you have, and your group’s background and mission statement.
Think carefully about what you are planning, as you will need to submit a clear, focused and well-defined project plan. You will need to know how much funding you need, and when you need it by, and whether you could accept a partial award, if we were unable to fund the full amount. You will also need to tell us what you want to do, why you think it’s needed, where and when your project is going to take place, and who or what your project benefits, and to think about what other groups you might be overlapping with or working alongside. You can also include any web address links to any supporting documentation – for example, film trailers, photos, online articles.
You will need to submit a budget for your project in pounds sterling (UK currency) that clearly demonstrates in detail how you will spend the funds. Your budget should match the amount you are asking for, and clearly show the individual costs you would like Lush to fund. If you are providing extra budget details (e.g. costs that are not being applied for), ensure that these are clearly separated and identified as not to be considered.
Avoid generalised costs, for example ‘admin costs’ or ‘campaigning costs’ – this needs to be broken down into the constituent costs that make up this total e.g. £1,500 for rally supplies, £5,000 for campaign website development. If you are budgeting to purchase an asset (e.g. a heater, a tent, a bicycle) indicate how many you are buying, and what will happen to all assets once your project is complete. If you are purchasing travel, indicate who is travelling, why and to where, and how e.g. train, car etc.
You will not be able to send your budget as a separate document. Instead you will need to type it in the relevant answer box on the application form. Use a new line for each line in your budget.
Grants cannot be paid into personal bank accounts, for example, an account held in the name of an individual (Mr. B Smith). Grants can only be paid into an organisation’s bank account. This is an audit requirement and demonstrates your commitment as a group/project.
However, if there is an issue preventing you from obtaining a group bank account, in exceptional circumstances you may be able to nominate an affiliated organisation to receive transfers on your behalf as a fiscal sponsor – please email [email protected] to discuss options.
You will need to take extra care inputting the details for your bank account, as errors can significantly delay your application, and can result in failed payments, or application rejection.
Each application must be submitted with the full details of two referees. A referee must be independent of you/your group, but able to comment with experience and expertise on the activities, successes, and challenges your group faces. Your referee cannot be a funder, employee, volunteer, founder or trustee in your group. Their email address should be an organisational one (e.g. @greenpeace.org), and not a private email address. Providing referees from groups working in a similar field who have a good vision of your work is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how connected your group is to the wider community.
When can I apply?
Applications are accepted at any time, and there are no cut-offs. However, you should allow at least three months from application to when you need the funds. Applications are assessed on a first-come-first-served basis, however, if your funding is exceptionally urgent please email [email protected] for advice.
How do I apply?
What happens when I apply?
When you submit your application form it is processed and checked for any missing information or additional details. It is then submitted for panel review. Our Charity Pot panel assesses applications on a rolling basis and a decision is usually made within 8-12 weeks. However, sometimes a funding decision may take longer.
You may be contacted at any time during the process, should additional details or clarifications be needed for a decision to be made. Decisions are made by a panel made up of campaigners, activists, and experts. The panels assess and shortlist the applications, prioritising grassroots campaigning. If your application is shortlisted your referees will be contacted, and their feedback will contribute towards a final decision.
If your application is not successful, you will be emailed and informed. Unfortunately, given the application volumes, it is not possible to offer feedback on unsuccessful applications. However, a rejection does not prevent you from re-applying (see below), as it may simply be funding was over-subscribed and other projects have been prioritised.
Please consider letting your referees know that the speed of their response directly impacts the time it takes to make a final decision. However, if successful, you will be emailed a confirmation together with the value of your grant. Payment is then usually made within 7-10 working days.
What is required if I am successful?
If successful, your group name, project description, and website link will be listed on our website, to provide transparency to Lush customers and staff. We do not publicise the value of any grant. If you would prefer to not be featured publicly, you can indicate this in your initial application.
You will be required to provide feedback on your project, either when it is completed or within a year of receiving the funds (whichever is soonest). You should be prepared to provide links to any supporting documents such as news articles, local press, social media videos or receipts for significant assets. A link to the grant report will be provided once your funding is agreed, or you can access it here.
If successful, our preference is not to be publicly recognised with our logo placement on communication materials. Charity Pot is not intended to be a marketing and brand promotion tool and we see great value in using opportunities for messaging to be used as a space to share the impact of your work. If you have questions about using the Lush logo, please email [email protected].
Can I apply for funding for more than one project?
Yes. However, as groups can only be funded once per year, you will need to submit all the projects within the same application form, ensuring that each has a detailed budget, and the total is under £10,000. Funding panels may then decide to fund all or only some of the projects you’ve submitted.
Can I apply again if I have been unsuccessful?
Yes. Charity Pot grants are often over-subscribed, therefore if your application has been rejected, it may be indicative that other projects better fit the funding criteria. If you wish to reapply for the same project, you should consider demonstrating a sufficient change in your project to better fit the funding criteria.
Can I apply for a second grant?
Yes. A group can be funded up to once per year (allowing a full 12 months between grants funding). Review of subsequent applications would also factor in the success of prior projects and feedback. You must complete a short report form your prior grant before applying again. This can be completed here.
Who can I contact to ask a question?You can contact the Charity Pot team at [email protected].