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Why applications are unsuccessful

Why might your application be unsuccessful?

We receive hundreds of applications each year, yet only 5% are successful in securing funding. 

We recognise that it takes valuable time to complete a funding application, so before you rush into and submit your application, take a few minutes to review the most common reasons why we reject Stage 1 applications.

Avoid the common pitfalls?

Our website provides a wealth of information on the types of ventures we are looking to support, as well as what we do not support.  Applicants with the strongest potential for success have reflected on this guidance and use the following sections of our Stage 1 form to good effect, clearly and concisely demonstrating evidence of the following:

  1. Mis-alignment with our areas of focus
  2. Insufficiently innovative
  3. Lacks evidence of need and/or demand
  4. Lacks clarity on the change that will be effected (what will be different)
  5. Delivery and/or organisational capacity uncertain


  • A good match with (the criteria laid out in the investment programme they are applying for.
  • How digital technology will be used to address an identified social challenge.


  • Background research that suggests their project approach is innovative in tackling the identified challenge.
  • How their initiative differs from, or builds upon, other projects we have already supported.

    Need and demand:

  • A clear understanding of the specific social need that they wish to address.
  • Evidence of demand from their prospective beneficiaries that will translate into uptake of the products or services their project will introduce, or a clear strategy for reaching their intended beneficiaries.

    Making a difference:

  • Their vision of what success looks like for their project at the end of the funding period.
  • Early thinking about how they will measure the extent of their social impact.

    Delivery and organisational capacity:

Note: it is not necessary to provide evidence of each of the following elements, but the more you can demonstrate, the stronger your application.

  • Partnerships forged (or being built) with other organisations; for example to assist with co-design, trialling and scaling.
  • The amount, source and security of any match funding.
  • A track record of successfully delivering related projects.
  • How they intend their project to become sustainable.
  • Aspirations to scale, or further develop, their solution to increase impact.