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Charity Pot Funding Guidelines

What is a ‘Charity Pot’ grant?

‘Charity Pot’ is a Lush hand and body cream where 100% of all sales (minus local taxes) are distributed as grants, to groups working in the areas of:

  • Animal Protection
  • Environment     
  • Human Rights (incl. social justice, peace & equality)

Charity Pot grants range from RM500, up to a maximum of RM15,000 per project/application.  The average Charity Pot grant is between RM2,000 – RM7,000.  It is unusual to award the maximum of RM15,000, as this reduces the range of projects that can be supported.

What is funded?

Charity Pot grants provide targeted funding to small, grassroots groups.  Not just because they are often best placed to make a real difference with limited resources; but also, because they often struggle to find funding.  Almost all the groups funded by Charity Pot have an annual income of less than RM250,000 (most are substantially less) and run entirely or predominantly by volunteers. 

Charity Pot grants prioritise projects that aim to create long-term change – because it’s crucially important to fund projects that aim to prevent and address the root cause of the problem.  That’s why, for example, priority would be given to a project that aims to stop deforestation over one that aims to plant trees to restore an area that’s already deforested. 

Charity Pot grants will support ‘non-violent direct action’ groups, i.e. those which have no intention of physically harming others or threatening to do so.  This includes protests, demonstrations, non-cooperation, non-violent interventions, or, occasionally, facilitating (e.g. communication costs) peaceful civil disobedience; because Lush recognise that these non-violent actions can play an important part in bringing about social change.  However, although free speech is a core Charity Pot value; groups or projects that support, incite or promote violence, aggression or oppression towards others would not be funded.  Charity Pot grants do not fund or facilitate law-breaking activities/movements.

Charity Pot grants also recognise that there is an absolute need for delivering basic life needs and care to those in need (people, animals or the planet).  So, projects that provide aid and support, such as animal shelters and refugee support and advice groups, have also been funded.  However, those groups providing welfare that reaches beyond basic life needs, such as therapies, community social groups, and counselling, would not be prioritised.

Charity Pot grants do not fund animal farming projects, culling for conservation, the captivity of wild animals (incl. captive breeding programs), or overseas rehoming of animals.  However, Charity Pot grants have funded vegan, vegetarian and animal rights campaigning, anti-vivisection groups, TNR projects, wildlife sanctuaries that home animals no longer able to be released, and animal sanctuaries with a no-destruction policy and where the animals are not ‘used’ (e.g. in animal assisted therapies, being ridden, or as part of a petting zoo etc).  We will therefore only fund food costs where these are vegetarian/vegan. 

Environmental responsibility is central to Lush Malaysia, so Charity Pot grants only fund printed materials where recycled resources are used unless there is a justifiable reason that prevents it (e.g. availability in certain countries is limited).   Similarly, flights aren’t funded, however, alternative travel costs would be considered.   Charity Pot grants do not support market-based solutions to climate change, such as carbon trading, carbon offsetting, clean development mechanism or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).  Similarly, Charity Pot funding is not offered for social enterprises, growing projects or reforesting, however, projects working in this area might like to explore the Lush Spring Prize as an alternative.

Significant asset purchases (e.g. land) would generally not be considered, and applications for legal challenges, are only very occasionally successful.  If applying for a legal challenge you will be required to demonstrate the national importance of the case and provide evidence of a favourable barrister’s opinion.  

It is rare for film projects, theatrical productions or arts-based projects to be funded.  This is because we favour campaigning.  If you wish to apply for an arts-based project, it must be campaigning-focussed and demonstrate it will actively engage the audience’s participation in campaigns within the sectors we fund.  If successful, this would be a donation, and not an investment, and the production would need to be not-for-profit. 

Similarly, events and parades would only be considered where there is a clear campaigning goal, and, as Charity Pot grants are prioritised to projects in most need of funding, large attendance events, which have a greater audience and funding opportunity, would be less of a priority. 

Funding is also not available for student expeditions, schools, councils, volunteer-tourism projects, academic studies, sponsored activities (e.g. walks, runs, challenges etc), fundraising initiatives, or event sponsorship (Lush Malaysia has a policy against paid advertising).  

Charity Pot grants are generally directed towards campaigning project costs; however, core costs are occasionally considered where a detailed budget and explanation is provided.  However, salary costs would not be funded as Charity Pot funds are targeted to support underfunded voluntary groups and could not sustain the large-scale costs of campaigning salaries, and it would not be fair to fund some and not others.

Who can apply?

Charity Pot grants are looking for organisations that take on issues that others don’t, those that push the boundaries and challenge the mainstream opinion. 

To apply, your organisation should have annual income of less than RM250,000 and be run entirely or predominantly by volunteers.   

Charity Pot grants do not fund individuals, only organisations and groups.   Your organisation does not need to be a registered charity, Charity Pot grants support all kinds of organisations, including new organisations and start-ups.  However, your organisation should be not-for-profit.  Applications from non-secular, religious or military organisations are not accepted. 

Charity Pot grants prioritises those projects/organisations that best match the Lush values and ethics.  This means applications are NOT accepted from organisations that:

  • Deny the human rights of others
  • Are involved in cruelty/subjugation of animals (incl. farming, testing or research)
  • Coerces or forces others to change their beliefs or proselytizes
  • Harbour racism or prejudice
  • Prevents or impedes the free-speech of others 
  • Judge others on anything other than their actions
  • Have not made every effort to be environmentally responsible
  • Promote/support violence, aggression or oppression towards others (we will only support direct action groups if they are non-violent)

Charity Pot grants try to direct funding towards causes that are often overlooked by other funders.  This means less popular issues, which are more difficult to raise funds for, are likely to be prioritised over an organisation that has, for example, many supporters, corporate sponsors, or has sufficient profile to be able to secure mainstream funding such as government grants.  Typical popular causes tend to be health charities (medical research, hospices etc.), social welfare, religious causes, children/ young people and military-related causes, so that normally make these less of a priority for a Charity Pot grant.

What do I need?

Organisation Details

You will need to tell us a bit about your organisation.  Some basic information, such as the organisations’ name, address, and charitable status etc., as well as some detailed information, such as your total annual income and expenses, if you have staff, how many do you have, and your organisations’ background and mission statement.  If you are a new organisation, you should provide a background for the main individuals in the organisation. 

Project Details

Think carefully about what you are planning, as you will need to submit a clear, focused and well-defined project plan.  You will need to know how much funding you need, and when you need it by, and whether you could accept a partial award, if we were unable to fund the full amount.  You will also need to tell us what you want to do, why you think it’s needed, where and when your project is going to take place, and who or what your project benefits, and to think about what other organisations you might be overlapping with or working alongside.  You can also include any web address links to any supporting documentation – for example, film trailers, photo’s, online articles.

Budget

You will need to submit a budget for your project in Malaysia Ringgit MYR (Malaysian currency) that clearly demonstrates in detail how you will spend the funds.   Your budget should match the amount you are asking for, and clearly show the individual costs you would like Lush to fund.  If you are providing extra budget details (e.g. costs that are not being applied for), ensure that these are clearly separated and identified as not to be considered).

Avoid generalised costs, for example ‘admin costs’ or ‘campaigning costs’ – this needs to be broken down into the constituent costs that make up this total (e.g. RM300 for the printing of 5000 leaflets, RM50 postage of legal documents to service users).  If you are budgeting to purchase an asset (e.g. a heater, a tent, a bicycle) indicate how many you are buying, and what will happen to all assets once your project is complete.  If you are purchasing travel, indicate who is traveling, why and to where, and how (e.g. train, car etc.). 

You will not be able to send your budget as a separate document.  Instead you will need to type it in the relevant answer box on the application form.  Use a new line for each line in your budget.

Bank Account

Grants cannot be paid into personal bank accounts, for example, an account held in the name of an individual (Mr. B Smith). Grants can only be paid into an organisations’ bank account.  This is an audit requirement and demonstrates your commitment as a organisation/project. 

However, if there is an issue preventing you from obtaining a organisation bank account, in exceptional circumstances you may be able to nominate an affiliated organisation to receive transfers on your behalf as a fiscal sponsor – please email [email protected] to discuss options. 

You will need to take extra care inputting the details for your bank account, as errors can significantly delay your application, and can result in failed payments, or application rejection.

Referees

Each application must be submitted with the full details of two referees.   A referee must be independent of you/your group, but able to comment with experience and expertise on the activities, successes, and challenges your group faces.  Your referee cannot be a funder, employee, volunteer, founder, or trustee in your organisation.  Their email address should be an organisational one (e.g. @greenpeace.org/malaysia), and not a private email address (e.g. @gmail.com, @yahoo.com.my).  They also cannot be financially dependent on your organisation or know you only because of providing funding.  However, providing referees from organisations working in a similar field who have a good vision of your work, is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how connected your group is to the wider community. 

When can I apply?

Applications are accepted at any time, and there are no cut-offs. However, you should allow at least 3 months from application to when you need the funds.  Applications are assessed on a first-come-first-served basis, however, if your funding is exceptionally urgent please email [email protected] for advice.

How do I apply?

Once you have read these guidelines, if you’d like to apply, you can access our online application form  you can click here

What happens when I apply?

When you submit your application form it is processed and checked for any missing information or additional details. It is then submitted for panel review.  Our funding panel assesses applications on a rolling basis and a decision is usually made within 8-12 weeks. However, sometimes a funding decision may take longer.

You may be contacted at any time during the process, should additional details or clarifications be needed for a decision to be made.  The panel will assess and shortlist the applications to those that most closely meet the Charity Pot grant guidelines, prioritising grassroots campaigning.  If your application is shortlisted your referees will be contacted, and their feedback will contribute towards a final decision.

If your application is not successful, you will be emailed and informed.  Unfortunately, given the application volumes, it is not possible to offer feedback on rejected applications.  However, a rejection does not prevent you from re-applying (see below), as it may be funding was over-subscribed and other projects have been prioritised. 

If your application is shortlisted your references will be contacted, and their feedback will contribute towards a final decision.  

Please consider letting your referees know that the speed of their response directly impacts the time it takes to make a final decision.  However, if successful, you will be emailed a confirmation together with the value of your grant.  Payment is then usually made within 14 days. 

What is required if I am successful?

If successful, your organisation name, project description, and website link will be listed on our website, to provide transparency to Lush customers and staff.  We do not publicise the value of any grant.  If you are concerned about this, please contact [email protected] to discuss.

You will be required to provide feedback on your project, either when it is completed or within a year of receiving the funds (whichever is soonest).  You should be prepared to provide links to any supporting documents such as news articles, local press, social media videos or receipts for significant assets.  A link to the report format will be provided once your funding is agreed, or you can access it here.

Sometimes informal outreach visits are arranged so that the Charity Pot team can get to know your organisation and project better.  These will be arranged at your convenience but will involve a visit to the location of your project.  

Finally, if successful, we prefer any grants not to be publicly acknowledged or promoted.  As a result, we do not do logo placements and do not offer sponsorships or partnerships.  Any platforms you have access to should be utilised to talk about your project, rather than any funding we have provided.   If you have questions about using the Lush logo, please email  [email protected] 

FAQs

Can I apply for more than one project?

Yes. However, as organisations can only be funded once per year, you will need to submit all the projects within the same application form, ensuring that each has a detailed budget, and the total is under RM15,000.  Funding panels may then decide to fund all or only some of the projects you’ve submitted.

Can I apply again if I have been unsuccessful?

Yes. Charity Pot grants are often over-subscribed, therefore if your application has been rejected, it may be indicative that other projects better fit the funding criteria. If you wish to reapply for the same project, you should consider demonstrating a sufficient change in your project to better fit the funding criteria. 

Can I apply for a second grant?

Yes. A organisation can be funded up to once per year (allowing a full 12 months between funding). Review of subsequent applications would also factor in the success of prior projects and feedback.  You must submit a full report from your prior grant before applying again.  This can be completed here.

Can I apply for partial funding?

Yes. You can apply for partial funding of up to RM15,000 where a project budget exceeds RM15,000.  You would need to evidence your plans to raise any remaining required funds, and if you are seeking significant additional funders, you might be asked to wait until these funds have been secured.  However, typically, smaller projects would be prioritised.

Who can I contact to ask a question?

You can contact the Charity Pot grants administration team at [email protected]