FAQ: Common Questions about Applications

Is my organisation eligible for an RSSAF grant?

Where can I find the application form?

What kinds of projects does RSSAF fund?

What does RSSAF NOT fund?

How many grants does RSSAF award?

How many applications does RSSAF receive each cycle?

When are the grant cycles?

Can we request more than £1500 from RSSAF?

What is the process for review of the applications?

When will the results of the grant cycle be announced?

Will I be notified if my organisation is not selected?

What characteristics do successful grant applications have?

What if I can not provide some of the information requested in the application form?

How important are the supporting documents? What if I can not provide the supporting documentation requested?

Can I send in my own version of the application form?

How detailed must the itemised budget be?

Does our organisation have to have a registered charity number?

Does our organisation have to be a non-profit?

What if our organisation is brand-new? Can we still apply? What if we don’t have details of our budget from the last year because we are a new organisation?

What is the RSSAF Consultancy?

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Is my organisation eligible for an RSSAF grant?

Organisations eligible for RSSAF grants must:

Be operating in Sub-Saharan Africa

Projects in countries affected by the legacy of Cecil Rhodes are especially encouraged to apply

  • Target poor and vulnerable groups with programmes of social, political, and economic development

  • Have some sort of formal organisational structure

  • Demonstrate some level of community buy-in

Where can I find the application form?

The application form can be found on https://rssaf.wordpress.com/applications/apply-now/ once the grant cycle is open. If you would like to prepare your application outside a grant cycle, you can have a look at old application guidelines and forms here: RSSAF_Grant_Application_Form_Spring_2013
Please note that there may be changes for the next grant cycle.

What kinds of projects does RSSAF fund?

  • There is no one model for the kind of projects RSSAF funds! In fact, we are always excited to see innovative projects that differ from the usual applications we receive. If you are unsure that your project qualifies, please email us at rssafgrants@gmail.com.

  • RSSAF funds advocacy projects, educational projects, business-oriented projects

  • RSSAF likes to fund projects with a link to Oxford or the UK because it makes it easier for us to build closer relationships with the organisation and perhaps have the opportunity to invite a representative or partner of the organisation to come and speak to us. However, this is NOT a requirement for any organisations thinking of applying!

  • RSSAF prefers to fund projects where we feel our grants will make a big difference. We thus tend to favour organisations that are unlikely to receive any other major funding and that have a small project budget or can demonstrate clearly how our contribution will be used to achieve a specific goal within the larger budget.

  • Click here for profiles of projects selected in previous years. Note that while these may provide examples of successful projects, these are not meant to be taken as an exact model to follow. We are eager to fund new kinds of projects each grant cycle!

What does RSSAF NOT fund?

  • RSSAF does not fund research projects unless they are directly linked to a project to be implemented in the very-near future.

  • RSSAF does not fund individuals.

  • RSSAF does not fund conservation or environmental projects that are not closely linked to community development and welfare.

  • RSSAF does not fund projects that take place outside of Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • RSSAF does not fund organisations that intend to solicit conversion to a particular religion as their primary aim.

    • Organisations that were founded on or guided by religious principles are eligible.

  • RSSAF will not consider projects that unfairly discriminate against individuals or groups of people because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

    • This does not disqualify projects that target specific populations, such as women, children or persons who have been subject to historical discrimination and disadvantages.

How many grants does RSSAF award?

  • RSSAF usually awards 3 grants of £1500 per grant cycle.

How many applications does RSSAF receive each cycle?

  • We usually receive between 60 – 100 applications each cycle.

When are the grant cycles?

  • There are two grant cycles every year: one in October/November and one in May/June. These align with the Oxford academic terms of Michaelmas and Trinity.

Can we request more than £1500 from RSSAF?

  • No, RSSAF currently only has the ability to provide funds of up to £1500 per organisation.

  • You may submit a project whose total budget is more than £1500, but please provide specific details in your application as to how the £1500 from RSSAF would be spent as part of this larger budget.

What is the process for review of the applications?

  • Applications are received and looked over by the grants officer(s). They are then sent out to small groups of volunteers from the Rhodes community, who take time to review the applications individually and then meet as a group for discussion. These groups nominate applications to proceed to the final selection round. A final meeting is held to select the organisations which will receive funding. All Rhodes Scholars in Oxford are invited to participate in this final meeting.

    ** Please note that we do not share your banking details with the small groups or the entire Rhodes community. The only people who will have access to your financial details are the grants officer(s), the treasurer, and the RSSAF convenor(s). **

When will the results of the grant cycle be announced?

  • The results of the grant cycle will normally be announced within 2 months of the applications deadline. There may sometimes be delays to this process, particularly in the spring cycle (May-June) since this is when Oxford students have exams.

Will I be notified if my organisation is not selected?

  • Yes, your organisation will be notified even if it was not successful. The small groups put together a feedback document to provide to all of the organisations that have applied to help you with future grant applications to RSSAF or other funders.

What characteristics do successful grant applications have?

  • Focus: Selected projects don’t try to do everything at once. They have a clear and specific range of activities and beneficiaries. This isn’t meant to discourage innovative projects that try to tackle complex problems, but you must show that you have a clear idea of what the problems are that you are trying to address.

  • Detail: The more specific you can be about what your project goals and how you will achieve them, the better. Providing specific numbers for how many people you intend to reach, a detailed timeline of implementation, and a clear explanation of how the community is invested in the project will help your application.

  • Answer the questions asked: Make sure you read the question carefully and answer what it is asking you. You should not find yourself repeating information in your answers to multiple questions. Your organisation’s mission and main activities and the project description may overlap, but your answers should indicate a distinction between them.

  • Community buy-in: Strong applications demonstrate that the project responds to real needs of the target community and that they are invested in the project’s success and sustainability.

What if I can not provide some of the information requested in the application form?

  • Indicate the reason why you cannot provide the information requested in the space for an answer. We understand that many organisations that apply to RSSAF are small or new organisations and that you may not have all the information we request. Your application will still be reviewed by the grants officers and we will contact you if the missing information is significant enough to seriously affect your chances of receiving a grant.

How important are the supporting documents? What if I can not provide the supporting documentation requested?

  • The supporting documents are quite important, as they provide us with information about the governance structure and accountability of your organisation. However, we recognise that many organisations that apply to RSSAF are small or new organisations and that you may not have all the formal paperwork to back up your application.

  • If you are unable to provide the supporting documentation requested, please contact us and we work to find alternatives.

Can I send in my own version of the application form?

  • No, we can only accept applications that use the official RSSAF application form (found on this page), either using the online form or the downloadable word document. We receive a large number of applications and processing different formats is too much of a logistical nightmare.

  • Please respect the word limits indicated for each question.

  • Please provide the amount requested and budget information in British Pounds Sterling. Easy conversion tools can be found online; we understand the numbers may be slightly inaccurate due to regular fluctuations in currency.

How detailed must the itemised budget be?

  • As detailed as possible. Please give all amounts in British Pounds GPB (£) even if you also give them in your local currency.  A sample itemised budget could look like this (items could be equipment required for the project, expenses could relate to staff or transportation needed):

Item 1, Cost per item in local currency and in GBP (£), Number of items needed, Cost for all items in GBP (£)

Item 2, Cost per item in local currency and in GBP (£), Number of items needed, Cost for all items in GBP (£)

Item 3, Cost per item in local currency and in GBP (£), Number of items needed, Cost for all items in GBP (£)

Expense 4, Description of Expense, Cost in GBP (£)

Expense 5, Description of Expense, Cost in GBP (£)

Expense 6, Description of Expense, Cost in GBP (£)

TOTAL: Sum of costs in GBP (£) (adding up the sums mentioned above, and not greater £1500).

Does our organisation have to have a registered charity number?

  • No, if your organisation is not a registered charity, we can accept other references and proof of your accountability. If you can communicate with us and submit these before the application deadline, that would be best, but we will still consider your application if these are not submitted on time. We will require some authentication before disbursing a grant, if your organisation is selected.

Does our organisation have to be a non-profit?

  • For-profit organisations can apply to RSSAF. However, the primary aim of the organisation’s  project must be improving the welfare of poor and vulnerable people, not making a profit. Furthermore, RSSAF aims to provide funding to organisations that are unlikely to receive funding from elsewhere (another foundation or fund; a bank; a micro-finance institution).

What if our organisation is brand-new? Can we still apply? What if we don’t have details of our budget from the last year because we are a new organisation?

  • New organisations can still apply to RSSAF: we are eager to support innovative ideas and provide support to organisations that are just starting out.

  • Try to demonstrate why your organisation will have the capacity to carry out the project, despite being new. This can include a detailed description of how you determined the needs of the community and how you have obtained community buy-in, any partners who are supporting you in the project, or past experience of the project manager(s) and staff that have prepared them for this project.

What is the RSSAF Consultancy?

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