How to get funding and support from businesses

Author's position
Development Worker: Community Involvement
Article date
24 March 2015
Primary interest
Funding and Fundraising

Grants from companies can often involve a less rigorous application process and lighter-touch monitoring than funding through charitable trusts, but it doesn’t always mean it’s easier to access. As many of them promote their grants heavily through local branches, lots of people know about them and give it a go. It also often requires gaining public support, so you have to actively encourage your friends, family and supporters to vote online or in store.

Here are a run down of companies that currently have grants available, but this isn’t an exhaustive list. The first two have deadlines coming up soon, others are ongoing. Companies often choose to support organisations that work in areas where they have branches, so if in doubt, just pop in and ask!

Aviva Community Fundvivacommunityfund

  • What? Making a positive impact in your community
  • How much? £1000 – £25000
  • When? Now until 24 April, then public voting
  • How? Go to

Jewson Building Better Communities Fund

  • What? Support for local community organisations, physical improvements especiallyjewsonbbc
  • How Much? between £1000 – £50,000
  • When? Deadline 4 April
  • How? Online at then votes from the local community.
  • What else? It’s a building materials company, so they seem quite interested in construction projects, but this isn’t solely all they fund.

Olswang Green Community Fundolswang2

  • What? Green community fund
  • How Much? Up to £3000 for each project / £34,000 available in total
  • When? Now until 8 May
  • How? For more information and to apply go here:
  • What else? They are particularly keen on creative and innovative projects.

Waitrose and John Lewis Community Matters

  • What? Support for local community groupswaitrose
  • How Much? A share of £1000 in Waitrose / a share of £3000 in John Lewis
  • When? Ongoing, but there is often a waiting long waiting list to be the chosen charities
  • How? Go in store to pick up a nomination form. Customers vote with tokens they receive when shopping.
  • What else? John Lewis and Waitrose encourage partner (employee) volunteering, so if you have a big one-off job that a team of people could help with, it could be worth asking – building up this kind of relationship may also help you secure funding.

B&Q Waste Donation SchemeB&Q

  • What? B&Q aren’t offering money, but they are offering surplus products that they are unable to sell.  B&Q can donate items such as slightly damaged tins of paint, off-cuts of timber, broken tiles for mosaic projects.
  • When? Ongoing
  • How? Go into the store and ask to speak to the duty manager
  • What else? They also run workshops in-store for children and adults on a range of DIY and craft activities.


Many companies either offer in-kind support (skills, people or things rather than money) or employees choose the charities – so it’s worth checking with friends of family if they work for companies that have charitable giving schemes.

  • Natwest has both match funding for employees own fundraising activities and grants for projects staff are involved with.
  • InKindDirect is a website where you can order surplus goods from companies. You have to join, then anything you order is free.
  • Google Grants are in-kind support from Google to help you improve your web rating by offering paid-for Google services for free.
  • Sainsburys – Earn as you shop – You get a charity portal, give the link to everyone you know, they shop on Sainsbury’s online through the portal and at the end of the year, you receive 4% of everything spent!
  • Connect Reading acts as a bridge between local businesses and the voluntary sector, providing support for corporate volunteering and redistributing donated office equipment among other things.

Most large companies will have a strategy for ‘giving back’ to the community in some way. The best way to start it to find out what they do then approach them through the right channels. If it’s a smaller company, find out if they have chosen charities of the year (often decided by employees) or try to approach friends and family who work for local businesses to approach them on your behalf.

This list of funding through companies is not exhaustive. To search regularly for funding opportunities for charitable trusts and corporate funding, and to receive a monthly digest of current funding available locally, sign up to GrantNet through Reading Borough Council

For more support and guidance around applying for funding, visit our Funding and Finance knowledge base pages.

knowledge base carousel banner (16)