Grant Round: Finding our next charity partner

We believe that learning social and emotional skills can help young people to succeed in school, work, and life.

There is strong evidence, from the Education Endowment Foundation and the Early Intervention Foundation, that high-quality social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions can lead to significant learning gains over the course of a year. And we know from our Youth Jobs Gap research that the better your qualifications, the more likely you are to be in employment, education or training after school.

But EEF's evidence also shows that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aren’t always given the opportunity to develop the social and emotional skills they need at the same rate as their better-off peers.

We’re keen to find organisations who are helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop the social and emotional skills they need to succeed at school, so that we can help them get stronger, better and bigger.


Why now?

At Impetus, our mission is to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in school, work and life. We work with charities to deliver meaningful outcomes in the areas of attainment, university access and employment.

Until now, our approach to finding charities has been predominantly through desk research and networks. Since 2013, our in-house team have identified 1,225 organisations, looking for the most promising organisations in the sector. We’re immensely proud of the charities we’ve partnered with in that time; the 38 who’ve made it through our rigorous screening process and into our portfolio. But we’re aware there are many great organisations we've not yet reached and are keen to expand our networks to find them.

We believe that as a youth charity focused on socio-economic disadvantage, we must work harder to embed lived experience, social mobility, gender, disability, sexuality, ethnic diversity and many other aspects of diversity in all areas of our operations and programme. We are openly seeking charities because we want to broaden our networks and portfolio. It’s one small part of our organisational commitment to embedding diversity in all aspects of our work and helping our charity partners to become more diverse too.


What's in it for you?

We have over 15 years’ experience finding, funding, and building the best organisations working in the youth sector. Since 2013, we’ve given £92.8m worth of support to 38 charities which includes £29.6m of core funding.

But we are more than a funder. Our backing comes with intensive, structured, and hands-on support by our in-house investment team and network of pro bono experts across all aspects of our charity partners’ work - deepening their impact, upskilling their leadership and helping them achieve sustainable growth. Our approach is working – our charity partners are getting stronger, better and bigger.

    It’s our intensive support that’s often valued by our charity partners far higher than the core funding we provide. In a recent survey of our charity CEOs, all rated our support as either delivering significant or transformational impact.

    The difference that Impetus makes is absolutely immense, and nobody does what Impetus does in this country. It’s an absolutely essential part of the civic ecosystem of this country.
    Nick Bent, Chief Executive and Co-Founder, The Tutor Trust

    As an Impetus charity partner, you’ll receive:

    • £50-100k in core, unrestricted funding in the first year (with an aim for us to become a longer-term funder)
    • Hands-on support from our Investment Team to help shape your plans for impact and growth
    • Support from our network of pro bono expertise with anything from business planning and financial modelling, to market reviews and legal support
    • Access to our peer learning forums; providing training, networking and co-learning opportunities with other charity partners
    • Access to sector-based coalitions to influence policy and the national conversation on the issues faced by the young people we serve
    • Access to co-investment through our network of donors.

    What we’re looking for

    About your organisation:

    • You are registered charity / social enterprise working in the UK
    • with an income of at least £250k in your last independently examined set of accounts
    • and supporting at least 100 young people in your SEL-focused interventions
    • who are between the ages of 5-24
    • from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
    Hover over or click on me to read clarification information about the above.
    We stipulate an income of at least £250k because we’ve found smaller organisations have struggled to take full advantage of the capacity-building support we offer.

    We stipulate that you are working with at least 100 young people per year because we’re focused on supporting organisations to evidence and grow their impact, and to scale; this requires sufficient initial numbers to give confidence in current performance.

    We define economic disadvantage as: 1. Young people eligible for pupil premium i.e. children eligible for free school meals or who have been eligible at any point in the previous 6 years (Ever 6 FSM) 2. Looked After Children (LAC) and children who have been adopted or fostered from care (post-LAC).

    About your social and emotional learning (SEL) intervention:

    • You are running an intervention or programme that focuses on improving social and emotional learning (SEL). We're using the internationally-recognised CASEL framework and competencies to guide our work in this area, but recognise you may use different terms to define your work that would still fit under the banner of SEL (e.g. using 'resilience' rather than self-management). We're still keen to hear from you if this is the case!
    • You consider the impact your intervention has on your participants’ engagement with education. At Impetus, our mission is to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in school, work, and life. To broaden and balance our portfolio, for this grant round, we’re looking for SEL interventions that could help improve educational attainment.
    • We are open to supporting interventions that are based in London, but in an effort to broaden our geographic reach we have a preference in this grant round for organisations who work outside of the Capital.
    • Your leadership team and Board are committed to diversity and improving your impact and scaling the outcomes achieved by the young people you work with. Our work with our charities is heavily focused on supporting you to improve and manage your impact, and then to grow, but we can’t do this successfully unless your Board and SMT has the same ambition; including using data and insight to continually improve.

    How to apply and timelines

    We know resource is tight for charities, so we’ve tried to design an initial application process that won’t take too long to complete.

    If you think you are what we’re looking for (as outlined above), and you’d like to be considered as a potential Impetus charity partner, we’ll ask you to complete the following steps.

    Please note, the below timeframe is indicative and we will process applications as they come in.

    Step one


    Eligibility checker form



    Please first complete our online eligibility checker form.


    Open from 10 December 2021. Closes at 9am on 17 January 2022.


    Step two


    About your SEL intervention form



    If our checker finds that you are eligible, we will then ask you to complete a short form focused on your organisation and your SEL intervention(s). This shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to complete if you have your financials to hand.


    Closes at 9am on 17 January 2022.


    Step three


    1-hour call with your CEO



    If you’ve made our shortlist (typically 15-20 organisations for every one we fund), one of our team will be in touch to set up a 1-hour call with your CEO to get a better understanding of your organisation and intervention.


    Shortlisted organisations will be contacted by our team for further discussions by end of January 2022.


    Step four


    Meeting your leadership team and Board



    Following this, if you still look like the right fit for our support model and the focus of this grant round, we’ll be keen to understand more about your leadership and Board’s appetite for improving your impact and growing. We’ll also want to dig deeper into your programme data and finances to understand more about your current impact and sustainability. We call this phase due diligence and it can be intensive. We only take charities we're very serious about into this stage of our process (typically take two or three organisations for every one we fund). This phase aims to model what the non-financial capacity-building aspect of a partnership with us will look like, as we put together an investment case with you and find out more about your charity.


    Due diligence phase for selected organisations will take place March - May 2022. Decisions will be made by our investment Committee in May or July 2022.