New round of Development Opportunity Grants

ExecOfficer |

Applicant guidelines: VSSN development opportunity grants

2021-2022 Call Outline

The Voluntary Sector Studies Network invites applications from members for proposals to support and develop an idea or activity that will benefit voluntary sector studies in the UK. The grant encourages using creative approaches using multi-media (such as podcasts, film/ animation) or can be used to fund seminars, workshops, roundtables, webinars and other activities linked to research, learning and teaching. The main focus will be to bring individual researchers and/ or practitioners and/or policy makers together to create a dialogue on a voluntary sector and volunteering related issue. In particular, we encourage applications that will provide on-going dialogue. In June 2020, we were proud to announce that three proposals were awarded grants covering topics on women leaders experience of Welsh sport, emotion and feelings in voluntary sector work, and training for small charities in making no/low budget films which led to developing an online course.

Eligibility and suitability

Successful applicants will be expected to:

Ensure that the proposed activities are undertaken and the grant is spent within 12 months of the notification of the award. However, any events should not be held in May, September or November due to potential clashes with key VSSN events and conferences;

Ensure the date of activities does not clash with any major religious holidays that could exclude participation;

Publicise their event as widely as possible, including through VSSN channels e.g. newsletter, discussion list and website;

Write a short report for the grants committee and a public facing note or blog after the event for the VSSN website;

Use this as an opportunity to advertise the VSSN to potential new VSSN members (including marketing via other channels, distribution of VSSN leaflets, use of VSSN logo, etc.)
Advertise the activity using the VSSN account;

Consider the venue/ location of the event to widen the reach of the audience, except where proposed activities are for a pre-specified group of people;

To follow applicable Covid 19 government guidelines when planning an activity.

Application procedure

Applicants for the development opportunity grants are required to fill out the application form either online or download and email to . The application form asks for details of the applicants involved (name, role, institutions), and a clear outline of the activities proposed, purpose of these selected activities, rationale for this proposal and timescale. Please include a provisional budget providing a breakdown of anticipated costs (e.g. travel, venue and equipment hire, editing etc.) and whether any other funding has been applied for or received from other sources. These costings need to justify the proposed activities. We do not expect applications to include costs for time for employed members, but would be happy to discuss this matter for exceptional circumstances such as for the self-employed or students for up to half of the bid amount.

You may bid for an amount up to £750 and can bid as an individual or as a group (although there will need to be a lead on the application as the main contact who will be responsible for the small grant). The cut off point for funding applications is a combination of how much money we have earmarked in the annual budget for the programme (£2,000 for 2021-22) and the application quality. The lead applicant must be a member of VSSN. If the application involves a group please specify the reason for this collaboration. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 9th June 2021.

If you are interested in using an alternative medium application e.g. video please do get in touch. Please send your application or any enquiries to

Selection process

The VSSN development opportunity grant assessment panel will consider all applications that have been submitted for call (applications submitted outside of this period will not be reviewed). Successful applications will be expected to provide a short end of funding award report on the activities, a version of which will be published on the VSSN website. We will announce the successful applicants end of July 2021.


Unless there are exceptional circumstances (in which case please get in touch with us to discuss), we expect that you will be responsible for paying upfront costs, reclaiming these from VSSN no later than 6 months after the activity (and preferably by the 31st July 2022). Payment will be made on receipt of both a breakdown of costs with associated receipts/invoices, and a short report of your activity.