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Charities come in all shapes and sizes, and can be a great source of funding for prospective postgraduates. Whether you’re looking to ‘top up’ your existing finances with a small charity grant or seeking more significant funding, there are plenty of opportunities out there – sometimes in the most unlikely of places!
This page will give you an idea of the breadth of postgraduate funding available from charities, pointing you in the direction of useful resources and suggesting some tips for making a successful application.
It’s not always particularly easy to find Masters funding from charities if you don’t know where to look. Many sources of support often come from small organisations with a minimal online presence – if at all.
Luckily, there are several places to begin your search. We’ve listed a few useful resources below:
The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding – Co-written by two former PhD students with experience of self-funding, this guide offers a look at less well-trodden ways of funding your studies. Many universities subscribe to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding, which provides practical advice and application tips, as well as a searchable database of over 1,000 grants.
You can find out more from one of the co-authors in his guide to alternative Masters funding, written for FindAMasters.
When you first think of charities, you might think of small-scale, cash-strapped organisations. And, while this may be the case for some of the associations you come across, it’s certainly not true for several major sources of charity funding for postgraduate students: trusts and foundations.
It’s important not to overlook the thousands of small charities that operate across the UK. Even though their educational grants might not be as substantial as those provided by larger bodies, they can be a valuable source of funding for postgrads hoping to top up their finances.
If you try really hard, you might even be able to fund your entire degree using small grants from charities (just ask Luke from the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding).
Although it would be impossible to list all of them (after all, that’s the job of the Grants Register and Turn2us), we thought it would be useful to show you how diverse these organisations are. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that you’re eligible for a Masters grant from a charity you didn’t know existed!
No two applications for charity funding will be the same. However, there are some general rules and tips that you should bear in mind when applying for a charitable grant for a postgraduate course.
Most charities will ask that you submit a short personal statement detailing your circumstances and describing a little about yourself. You should make sure to read their specifications very carefully for what they want this statement to cover, but these tips are a good place to start:
When applying for postgraduate funding from a smaller charity – perhaps one without an established online presence – it would be wise to contact them in advance, double-checking that you’re eligible and that they’re currently accepting applications.
If you’re rejected, (politely!) ask the charity for the reasons behind your rejection and incorporate any feedback into your next application.
It’s a good idea to think of charity funding as a ‘portfolio’, combining lots of small pots of money to make a substantial source of financial support for your Masters. Portfolio funding, as this is known, requires plenty of organisation and dedication, but can be a viable option for resourceful postgraduates.
Persistence is key: try not to be disheartened by a lack of success and bear in mind that you may end up sending a lot of applications. It’s a good idea to cast your net far and wide, knowing that perseverance is usually rewarded.
Last updated 21/05/2018