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How do I make an enquiry or an application to a charitable fund? - Making an enquiry and application to a charitable fund

Once you have found charitable funds that may be able to assist you, the next step is to apply to them for help. This guide explains the steps involved.

Making an enquiry and application to a charitable fund

Each charitable fund will have their own enquiry and application process that people wanting help from them need to follow. However, in most cases there are usually two stages:

  • Making an initial enquiry to the charitable fund

  • Submitting a formal application for help.

The Turn2us Grants Search provides information on the enquiry and application process for each charity as well as details about how they like to receive enquiries/applications.

You can also make an initial enquiry to some charities using the Turn2us Grants Search online enquiry form.

Making an enquiry through the Turn2us Grants Search

There are three main ways that charitable funds listed on the Turn2us Grants Search accept enquiries:

  • Online through Turn2us

  • By applying to them directly using the contact information in the profile

  • Via an intermediary working with people in financial need

Online through Turn2us

Some of the charitable funds on the Turn2us Grants Search accept online enquiries through Turn2us. 

Applying for help to a charitable fund on the Grants Search that accepts online enquiries through Turn2us involves three main steps:

  • Registering for a Turn2us account so you can make enquiries and applications online

  • Making an enquiry to the charitable fund

  • Making a formal application if they accept your enquiry.

Registering for a ‘My Turn2us’ account

To make online enquiries and applications to charitable funds on our Grants Search database, you need to register for a Turn2us account.

This also allows you to track the progress of enquiries and look at any messages you have sent and received.

Using your account also means that you will not have to repeat the same information over and over again when looking for help. The Turn2us website site remembers any details that you have already entered on the online forms. If you need to submit an application to another grant-giving charity at a later date, all the data will be saved and carried over to the new form.

You can also fill in the forms a bit at a time rather than all at once.


Your details will be held in the strictest confidence and we will not share these with anyone else unless you allow it.

How do I register as an individual?

  1. Click on ‘Register’ in the top right hand corner of any page of the website

  2. Select the registration form that says: "Are you looking for help for yourself or someone close to you" (see Screengrab below).

Screengrab showing the individual's registration form
  1. Fill in your details on the form.  Those fields marked with a red asterisk are mandatory.

  2. If you want to be notified by text message, you will need to provide your mobile phone number.

  3. Make sure you tick the box to accept the Terms and Conditions

  4. Click the ‘Register’ button

  5. Please help us to understand more about who we are reaching by answering the short questions that appear on screen once you have registered.

Logging on for the first time

Once you have registered with us, you can log in to your My Turn2us account.

  1. Click on ‘Log in’ in the top right hand corner of any page of the website

  2. Enter your username and password

  3. Ticking the ‘Remember me?’ box means that you will not have to enter your username and password the next time you visit the Turn2us website.  If you are using a public computer or you share this computer with others, we recommend that you do not tick this box. 

  4. Click the ‘Login’ button

  5. You are now logged in to your My Turn2us account and are able to approach a charity through Turn2us.

Making an enquiry

Once you have registered for a Turn2us account and logged in, the next step is to make an enquiry.

If a charity accepts online enquiries through Turn2us, there will be an 'Enquire online" button on the bottom right hand corner of the full profile (see Screengrab below).

Screengrab showing the enquire online button

When you click the 'enquire online button, the Grants Search tool will ask you to login to your 'My Turn2us' account.

Screengrab of the login page

When you have done this, it will bring up the Turn2us online enquiry form.

Screengrab of the top of the enquiry form

This asks you some general questions about your:

  • Personal and contact details

  • Income

  • Situation

Some people feel a bit apprehensive about filling this form but the aim is to provide the charitable fund with information that will help them to assess your request for support and whether you qualify for their help.

When you have completed the form, you need to click the box at the end of the form confirming that you are happy for us to pass on your details to the charitable fund you have selected.

And then click 'Send'. 

Screengrab showing the bottom part of the Turn2us online enquiry form

The form can also be printed off if you want to post the form to a charitable fund instead of emailing it or to keep a paper copy of your enquiry.

Once you have sent off the form, the charities should reply to your enquiry by email to your Turn2us account or directly by email, phone or letter, telling you:

  • they may be able to help, but they need more information

  • they are not able to help you and why

  • they would like to invite you to apply formally.

Making an application

You may only formally apply for help when a charity asks you to do so after you have submitted the Turn2us enquiry form to them or made contact directly.

Then you will usually have to fill in a detailed application form.

Charities may:

  • Send you their application form through Turn2us to your 'My Turn2us' account email address

  • Signpost you to their application form on their own website

  • Post the application form to you

  • Employ case workers or visitors who may talk to potential beneficiaries on the phone or visit them in their own homes to offer support and assess the application for help.

The charitable fund will advise you what the next stage is in the application and how you should apply.

You may find you will be asked many questions about:

  • You and your family

  • Your background and circumstances

  • Your finances

  • Your reasons for applying for help

  • Why you think you qualify for help from the charitable fund.

This can seem intrusive, but please remember that you will only be asked for details that the charitable fund needs to know to make sure you get appropriate help. It may also assist them to find other help for you that you did not know was available.

Please note: Any information you give will be kept confidential by them and only shared if you allow it.

Applying directly to charitable funds that don't accept online enquiries through Turn2us

Some charitable funds on our Grants Search have chosen not to accept enquiries online through Turn2us.  If this is the case, their listing on the Turn2us Grants Search database will not have the 'enquire online' box.

To make an enquiry in this situation, go to the full profile page for the charity.

Click 'How to apply?'

This will then tell you how to contact the charity to make an enquiry.

 Screengrab showing the 'How to apply' section on the Turn2us Grants Search

It is important to follow the guidance about how to apply. For instance, don't them an email if the profile says you need to phone or fill out an online form.

Enquiry gate

In some cases, before you can access the contact details or the online enquiry form, you will have to confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria for that charity. The Grants Search does this through an enquiry gate (see the screengrab below). 

If you confirm the eligibility status and click 'Enquire', the Grants Search will either display the contact details in the case of charities that want you to apply directly to them or take you to the online enquiry form if the charity accepts enquiries through Turn2us.

Screengrab of the Turn2us Grants Search enquiry gate

If you don't meet the eligibility criteria, don't tick the confirmation box.  Close the window and look for other charities that match your experience, situation and needs. If you click the 'Enquiry' button, it will give you a message telling you to do this and will not let you progress to the next step (see the screengrab below).

Screengrab of the Turn2us Grants Search enquiry gate

Applying via an intermediary

Some charitable funds on the Turn2us Grants Search database can only be accessed via an application from an intermediary.

Some of these funds do not appear on the public part of the Grants Search database. However, intermediaries who have registered for an intermediary account with Turn2us are able to see this information when they do a grants search while logged into their Turn2us account.

Others show their details on the public part of the Grants Search to inform individuals who are looking for help, but the application has to be via an intermediary.

Others accept enquiries from individuals but they have to be supported by an intermediary.

Who qualifies as an intermediary

This will vary depending on the rules of each charitable fund. If this isn't specified in the charity's profile, contact them to find out who they would accept an application from.

Intermediaries who often work with people in financial need include:

  • Health and social care professionals, such as nurses, GPs, therapists and social workers

  • Advisers from Citizens Advice and other advice organisations

  • Staff and volunteers from charities working with people in financial need Religious or cultural group leaders and workers

  • Someone who speaks on your behalf (advocate or representative) - for example advocates for people with learning disabilities.

If you don't have an intermediary to make the application for you

If you don't have an intermediary to make the application for you, it may be worth contacting the charity to find out if there is anyone that you know who could act as an intermediary; or if there are any other ways to apply.

If not, we suggest you do another grants search using the Turn2us Grants Searchh to see if you can find other charities that accept enquiries and applications directly from individuals.

Points to note

Being eligible for help does not necessarily mean you will get a grant. Although you can be eligible for help from a particular charity based on their qualifying rules, this does not mean that you will automatically get help.

Each charity has its own application process that applicants have to go through before a decision is made whether the charity can help.

Even though you think you are eligible or the charity says you are, your application may be refused because:

  • You don't meet the qualifying rules as a whole

  • The charity does not provide grants for the type of help you want

  • You have too much income and/or capital to be eligible for support under the charity's rules.

  • The charity doesn’t have the funds to help you - some charities have limited funds and can only help some of the people that apply to them for help

  • For some other reason that is specific to the charitable fund you have applied to.

The charity should tell you why they cannot help.

Last updated: 28 March 2018

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