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Lush Charity Pot SA: full guidelines

We like to look after those who look after others, and we are committed to supporting small, grassroots groups and other non-profit organisations working in the following areas:

  • Environment
  • Animal protection
  • Human rights (including equality, peace and social justice)

All applications within these fields will be considered irrespective of their geographical location or how the organisation is registered, however we will not support an organisation that:

  • Promotes or supports violence, aggression or oppression towards others (we will only support non-violent direct action groups)
  • Denies the human rights of others;
  • Is involved in cruelty or subjugation of animals, including farming, tests or research
  • Forces or coerces others to change their religious beliefs
  • Harbours racism, prejudice or judges others on anything other than their own actions
  • Has not made every effort to be environmentally responsible

We have thought very carefully about which causes we want to help and how we can make the most impact with our funding; the following information is provided to help you ascertain whether your project is what we're looking for. Please read these guidelines very carefully before applying; if you have any questions please email [email protected]

We are sorry that we are not able to offer feedback on rejected applications (we unfortunately cannot fund approximately 70% of all applications). We receive over 1,000 applications a year and simply cannot fund them all, and do not have the capacity to give reasons. If your application is rejected, please consider applying again. A rejection may simply mean that we cannot afford to support the project that month, not that we don’t support what you do.

Which organisations do you fund?

The majority of our funding is allocated to small, grassroots groups that are often best placed to make a real difference with limited resources and often struggle to find funding. Almost all the groups we fund have annual incomes of less than R 2 000 000 and most are substantially smaller than this and run entirely or predominantly by volunteers. If your organisation is in the fortunate position of having many supporters and corporate sponsors or able to secure mainstream funding such as government grants, you're probably not one for us.

We believe we can make the most impact by funding causes that are often overlooked by other funders, therefore we give priority to less popular issues which are more difficult to raise funds for. The most popular causes tend to be health charities (medical research, hospices etc), social welfare, religious causes, children/ young people and military related causes, so these aren't a priority for us. We're looking for organisations that take on issues that others don't, those that push the boundaries and challenge mainstream opinion.

We support non-violent direct action groups because we feel it plays an important part in bringing about social change. Non-violent direct action includes protests and demonstrations, non-cooperation and other non-violent interventions. We will only consider supporting non-violent direct action groups, i.e. those which have no intention of physically harming others or threatening to do so. We do not fund actions that may break the law nor will we pay for anything to facilitate law breaking.  However, we may wish to support those who use peaceful civil disobedience by helping with costs of communications, for instance, as we strongly support the right to free speech.

We don't fund religious organisations, schools, councils, student expeditions or academic studies neither do we contribute to sponsored walks or other fundraising initiatives or sponsor events.

We also don’t fund individuals. You will have to apply for a group and the money must be paid into a group bank account. We cannot put money into an individual’s bank account, for obvious reasons.

Which projects do you fund?

As a campaigning company we particularly look for projects that create long-term change. Whilst we appreciate and understand the need for projects that care for or rehabilitate those in need (whether that's people, animals or the planet) we also feel it’s crucially important to fund projects that aim to stop the abuse from happening in the first place by addressing the root cause of the problem. For example, we would prefer to fund 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 been deforested.

We therefore prioritise funding to projects which aim to change opinion and behaviour through raising awareness of issues, activism, education and campaigning, particularly because this kind of work is not well funded elsewhere. We're looking for initiatives that reach beyond those directly involved in the project; those that have the potential to benefit many rather than just a few individuals. However, we do also fund projects that provide aid and support where needed, such as animal shelters and refugee support and advice groups.

As well as challenging harmful practices it's important to support positive alternatives. Therefore, we also look for projects that promote and implement viable, fair and sustainable solutions to the world's problems.

We get a lot of applications for legal challenges but our experience has shown that this is not a good use of our funding. We will only consider funding legal actions if you have a favourable barrister’s opinion, and can demonstrate the national importance of your case.

Key principles

We fund organisations and projects in line with our values. Some of our key principles are as follows:

Animals: All our events and meetings are catered vegetarian/ vegan; we won't fund any food costs unless the same applies and likewise won’t support farming projects involving animals. We do not agree with the culling of animals for conservation or keeping wild animals in captivity, including captive breeding programmes, the exception being wildlife sanctuaries where animals cannot be released in to the wild due to injury.  We also only support animal sanctuaries that have a no-destruction policy. We also do not fund rehoming projects where the animals are going to another country.

Use of paper: We only use 100% recycled post-consumed paper for our printed materials so we wouldn't fund printing of leaflets etc if this isn't also the case. However, we do also recognise that in some countries recycled paper is not widely available and will make a decision on this on a case-by-case basis.

Flights: We do our best to minimise flights at Lush. Therefore, we are unlikely to fund flights except where absolutely necessary. We will consider alternative travel costs.

Climate change strategies: We 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).

Top tips for successful applications

  1. We prioritise campaigning over core funding
  2. We favour project costs over salaries and core costs
  3. We like focused, well defined projects
  4. A clear, detailed Budget is essential
  5. We prioritise projects that find it hard to attract funding elsewhere
  6. We favour groups that are environmentally responsible
  7. We prioritise voluntary groups over salaried groups
  8. It is useful to know what you could do with less money, if we cannot give the full amount
  9. Supply clear project activities – what will you DO?

Common reasons for rejection

  1. The application is waffly and it is difficult to grasp what it is you do and want to achieve
  2. The Budget is inadequate or unconvincing. Cost everything out, and do not inflate your costs
  3. The application is for salaries, not project costs 
  4. Your organisation is religious
  5. Your project does not challenge the causes of injustice, animal abuse or environmental destruction
  6. Your project would be likely to attract mainstream support elsewhere and is easy to attract funding for
  7. You do not give a group bank account (we cannot pay into individual’s accounts)

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply for a grant from Charity Pot?

To apply for a Charity Pot grant you will need to read these full guidelines, then email your proposal [email protected].

Do you have any deadlines for applications?

No, you can apply at any time. Please note that typically we assess applications monthly, i.e. we review the previous month’s applications at the start of the next month. So please try and get your application in before the end of the month if funding is needed urgently and make the urgency clear in your application form. We would recommend that you apply for projects that start no less than 3 months after the submission of the application.

My organisation is not a registered charity, does that matter?

No, we fund all types of organisations; it is not necessary to be a registered charity. Our focus is to support small, volunteer run grassroots groups and particularly campaign groups, which are often unable to register with the Charity Commission yet play an important role in society.

Do you sponsor events?

We have a policy against paid advertising so we do not sponsor events. However, we are willing to consider giving a donation towards the costs of running an event if its aim falls in to one of our three focus areas. Please note that as public events would usually attract hundreds of participants these projects tend to have a much better opportunity for raising funds than many of those we are asked to support and our priority is to help those projects which need our help the most.

Do you fund individuals?

No, we usually only support organisations and projects. We do not pay grants into an individual’s account either, and you will need a group bank account (see below).

Do you fund start-ups and new organisations?

Yes. We recognise that many new organisations and start-ups struggle to find the funds they need to get up on their feet and we like to give people a chance to make a difference. We ask that you provide references for, and track records of, the main individuals involved in the organisation, which we can use to assess the application.

If my application is successful, what will my organisation need to do to acknowledge Lush's support?

Nothing; we are happy to help and don't expect anything in return. However if you feel it would be beneficial to you to use our logo on your website or send out a press release about our donation, please always discuss this with us first as it can create a lot of extra work for us. We do list our donations on our website, to provide transparency to our customers and staff about how Charity Pot funds are spent. Many groups welcome this publicity, however if you would prefer that our donation to you is kept confidential, that is absolutely fine and please discuss this with us and make this clear on your application form.

What reporting requirements are there if I am successful?

We expect all successful applicants to report back on how the money was spent, and the outcomes.  We will ask you to  report back at the end of your project, and certainly within a year of receiving funds. In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you regularly to hear how the project is progressing; this also gives us the opportunity to share your news with our customers (i.e. your potential supporters!) if you’d like us to.

Can I apply for a second grant?

Yes. We give repeat grants, after at least a year of receiving previous funding. This wholly depends on funds available, the success of the first project and whether reporting requirements have been satisfied.

Will you give me feedback if my application is unsuccessful?

We’re sorry that the high level of applications we receive mean it is not possible to give reasons why your application was not successful. However, please see the common reasons given above for unsuccessful applications.

If my application is unsuccessful, can I apply again?

Yes please! We get more applications than we can afford to fund, and rejection of your application does not mean we don’t support your group. However, if you wish to reapply, please re-read our funding guidelines again to ensure you fit our funding criteria as this was probably the most likely reason you were unsuccessful before. You would need to demonstrate that the project has changed significantly.

Other than funding, what else do you offer charities?

We also occasionally have larger volumes of stock available for charities at our stores. This stock is not to be used as gifts or prizes but for direct use by service users (such as women’s refuges, homeless shelters or hospices). Please contact your local shop directly about any of these initiatives. You can find contact details for your local shop on our website.

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