Beware of consultancy services for funding bids

This short blog is a quick and friendly reminder to watch out for consultants who offer services to write your funding bid for you. Some businesses promote their services by telling potential customers about The National Lottery Community Fund, providing generic pre-filled applications, or implying they are acting on the our behalf. Some offer to fill in the form for you in return for payment or a cut of the grant.

It can be useful to get support to plan or develop your ideas, and here experienced consultants often play an important role – especially for larger or more complex projects.

However, our application process is free and we believe paying someone else to fill in your application is usually unnecessary, especially for our smaller grants like National Lottery Awards for All.

We want to hear from you in your own words. tnl_communityfund_logo_2018_rgb-e-01

Because of this, The National Lottery Community Fund can’t provide funding for any costs, commission or fees that a consultant might charge you to complete an application form.

If you are thinking about applying for our funding and are not sure where to start, simply get in touch for advice by calling 0300 123 7110 or emailing We are here to provide pre-application advice and information, and are happy to give you advice on any aspect of completing an application.


  1. Speaking from experience, you will get all the help and support you require from the team at Big Lottery, couldn’t be more helpful.
    You will know more about your community and their needs than any consultant will ever know.

  2. I refer to your blog regarding consultancy services for funding bids, encouraging applicants to beware. Whilst I agree that consultants implying that they are acting on the Big Lottery’s behalf should not be tolerated or any consultant working on a commission basis, I disagree with the suggestion that all use of consultancy services towards Big Lottery bids is inappropriate and I would like to protest about the implication that fundraising consultancy services are dishonest or disinterested in helping their clients. Though the Big Lottery are helpful throughout the application process, the time and resources required to make a bid especially if it falls to a Project Manager or CEO is not necessarily the best use of their time. Making use of consultants to cope with the additional workload is therefore an efficient use of man hours given that consultants will already be familiar with the process. As a fundraising consultant, I am briefed by my clients similarly to an employee and draft applications which they then amend, approve and submit. I do not believe the applications are less “direct” as you imply. I also find it surprising that The Big Lottery are happy to allow consultants fees for practically every other area – governance, marketing, financial planning etc. but fundraisers seem to be viewed as dodgy with no recognition that for some charities employing fundraising consultants makes good business sense especially when finding suitably experienced fundraisers can be challenging.

    • Hi Fiona,

      Thanks for your feedback – we agree with many of your points, and perhaps we didn’t quite get our point across as clearly as we’d have liked.

      You may notice that we’ve now changed the piece somewhat to reflect this.

      Essentially, we aren’t seeking to do down the work of fundraisers or consultants, but mainly to protect those groups – typically those applying to Awards for All – who feel that their only hope of getting money is by employing a professional bid writer who knows the right jargon or buzzwords to access a grant.

      We’ve also had instances of ‘no-win-no-fee’ type arrangements with bid-writers seeking a cut of grants, and of groups being approached by organisations offering generic template or pre-filled applications to help purchase their own services or projects. Obviously you can see why we’d want to avoid this situation, but we have perhaps inadvertently tarred everyone with the same brush.

      Clearly this is a far cry from the very positive impact an experienced consultant can have on planning a complex project, while maintaining the true voice of the organisation is heard.

      However, when it comes to our smaller grants, we generally don’t think this level of help is necessary – but we should have made that distinction clearer. I hope that makes sense,


  3. According to my point of view, you will get all the help and support you require from the team at Big Lottery, couldn’t be more helpful. You will know more about your community and their needs than any consultant will ever know.carry

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