Grant Applications: Top Tips for Success

If you’re working on a project to deliver vital Nature-based Solutions in Devon, then we want to hear from you!

The DEF channels funds from individuals and businesses to the most impactful grassroots projects delivering positive change for nature in Devon.

We strive to be as unbureaucratic as possible (whilst ensuring our funding decisions are robust) – aiming to get funds quickly to where they will have the most impact.

We review grant applications on a quarterly basis, with our deadlines falling on the nearest working day to: 1st February, 1st May, 1st August, and 1st November every year.

Apply online here and return it to before the deadlines above.

If you’re applying for a grant from DEF to support your work, here are some tips for success.

Application Top Tips:

  • We favour ‘doing’ projects that have very tangible outcomes for nature on the ground.
  • We also like to fund new, innovative projects that will result in a step-change for nature, rather than supporting business-as-usual.
  • We are keen to support pioneering trials that once proven will share their best practice so that the impact can be replicated and scaled.
  • We like applications that clearly display how the funding will be spent, showing a clear budget breakdown.
  • We encourage applicants to highlight any in-kind funding they can provide in their budget, which our board views favourably.
  • We advise that projects need to have reasonable administration costs.
  • Applications need to clearly show the project’s deliverables – i.e. what metrics will be shared to demonstrate the project’s impact, in terms of output and outcomes (you can see the Conservation Collective’s ‘Theory of Change’ here).
  • Letters of support from key partners and other evidence of feasibility/credibility are useful additions to the application, particularly for smaller organisations or individuals.
  • As a relatively small funder, we like to support the initial stages where there is the opportunity for our support to unlock bigger pieces of funding from other quarters.
  • We turbo-boost grassroots nature regeneration projects that might not easily find funding via traditional channels.
  • We love projects that have a plan to become financially viable in the long-term.
  • We like to see what legacy you intend for the project to have.
  • If a project can be easily funded elsewhere, we encourage applicants to use their time to pursue that option instead as we have limited funds and our application process is competitive.
  • You can see the kinds of projects we have supported to date and the amounts of funding awarded here.


Finally, here is a checklist of the things we look for when we are reviewing applications. Not every application will meet every aspect, but this gives you an idea of where our priorities lie.

Application Checklist:

– gains for nature?
– tangible, ‘doing’ project?
– innovative, pioneering, step-change (not business-as-usual)?
– community engagement?
– organisation’s credibility (letters of support if not well known)?
– visibility for DEF?
– location/geographic spread?
– research insights?
– measurable impact?
– replicability?
– value for money?
– time to see impact?
– legacy?
– unlocks further impact?
– joins-up landscape scale changes?
– a funding gap DEF can fill?

Apply online here and return it to before the deadlines above.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss in further detail how to give your project the best chance of securing DEF funding.