2022 LIF funding guidance

Each year the RIBA Board allocates a proportion of the annual budget to a Local Initiative Fund (“LIF”) to help RIBA branches and chapters deliver local projects which align with RIBA strategy.

If you are a RIBA branch or chapter listed under each geographical area here, you are entitled to access this financial support.

Qualifying criteria

Funding is available for projects, activities and capital expenditure that support our charitable purpose to enable “the advancement of Architecture and the promotion of the acquirement of the knowledge of the Arts and Sciences connected therewith” and which reflect the role of the RIBA as a global professional body.

It is only available to RIBA branches and chapters. Other volunteer-led groups who seek funding should speak to their relevant RIBA team or local branch/chapter.

In order to qualify for funding via LIF, the relevant project/activity must:

  1. Reposition the RIBA in ways that demonstrably encourage architects who are not members to become RIBA Members; and/or
  2. Clearly engage with RIBA Members, demonstrate the role of the RIBA, help members stay connected to the RIBA and contribute to the satisfaction members get from their membership;
  3. Align with the themes and goals set out in the 2034 Masterplan; and
  4. Meet any other requirements set out in the application form for LIF funding for the relevant year.

We recommend that you consult with the relevant RIBA team with any queries before applying for the LIF.

Assessment process

How do I apply?

In order to apply for the LIF, you should submit your request online using the form below. If you have any difficulties with the form, please contact the relevant RIBA team member.

You should always talk to a RIBA team member before finally submitting your application, to ensure the project can be supported through the RIBA business plan and that it meets RIBA policies and principles, we may also suggest changes to the application at this point.

When do I apply?

The opening of each annual application round will be announced once the budget for LIF has been agreed by the RIBA Board and the relevant RIBA team member will contact branch/chapter chairs by email to announce a “call for LIF Funding”. The notification will include how much of the LIF is to be allocated to activities within or outside the UK because the funding is usually allocated in proportion to the number of branches/chapters within these geographical locations but it will not include a further breakdown of funding because RIBA wishes to be as flexible as possible in view of the applications received during the application period.

Applications usually open in February/March and close in April for allocation during that financial year, but these timelines are subject to change. We may extend the application window if we have not received sufficient applications, and/or open a second round of funding if funds are unallocated in the first round.

Branches/chapters may apply for funding for up to two consecutive years and you will need to make this clear on their application. If the application is successful for the first year, you will need to apply for funding in the next financial year by submitting a satisfactory Progress Report in January of the following year.

What happens next?

Once submitted, applications will be reviewed by the relevant RIBA team in order to ensure that the project is aligned to RIBA strategy and business plan and that it will be managed in a way that is compliant with the RIBA constitution, policies, values and requirements.

Where similarities between applications are identified, the RIBA team may put you in touch with other groups to join ideas together and encourage a collaborative application. This is likely to only apply in the UK, as there may be compliance reasons why applications cannot be combined across different countries.

What will I be asked?

Along with details to confirm which branch/chapter is applying, the online form will ask questions to help the team assess whether you meet the qualifying criteria and the impact you expect to result from the project for which you are requesting funding. We suggest preparing answers before completing the online form. The questions will be along the lines set out below, adapted to reflect any particular focus in any given year.

  1. What is the project? Give your request a title and brief description. In the description consider the RIBA's charitable purpose and the focus for the relevant year.
  2. Why should the RIBA fund this project? Please explain how the request will engage with RIBA Members and/or re-position the RIBA in ways that demonstrably encourage architects to become members. As far as possible at this stage please include quantifiable targets for these (e.g. ‘we plan to engage 200 chartered members’).
  3. How much LIF are you requesting for the project and in which year? Please list amount, year and total - for example ‘£2,000 in 2022 and £1,000 in 2023 total £3,000’.
  4. What will the LIF money be spent on? Consider things like venue hire, speaker costs, administration, refreshments, travel, equipment, professional fees, design and print, etc. Please be as specific as you can.
  5. Are you seeking any other funding apart from LIF for this project? Excluding any volunteer effort, are you seeking any other funding or in-kind support for this project? If you answer yes or maybe to this question, we are also likely to ask that you provide detail of the other funders, sponsors, in-kind supporter you are approaching, or considering approaching, and what you are anticipating that they might provide; and to consider the additional costs, what is the total cost of the project? LIF plus additional income.
  6. How many days of volunteer effort do you think will be needed to deliver the project? Please consider how many days RIBA Members and other volunteers will be giving to deliver the project.
  7. How can we contact you? We will only use this information for contacting you about this application.

The RIBA team may ask you for additional information within a specified timeframe before a decision is made.

Notification of decision

Once submitted, eligible applications will be assessed by the RIBA team to consider the likely return on investment in terms of stated impact/outcomes from the project and likely timescales to implementation. A decision will be communicated to you by email as soon as possible following closure of the application process for that financial year. All decisions are final. If you are unsuccessful in your application and would like to receive feedback and/or guidance on improving your application for another year, please let us know when you receive the decision. If you are successful, you will receive an offer letter. RIBA will not transfer any funds to you until the RIBA team have received your acceptance of the offer and the associated terms and conditions.

Reporting obligations

Those who are successful in receiving LIF funding should complete a Progress Report by the end of January of the following year or at the end of the project if that is sooner, to summarise the outcome/success of the project during the preceding financial year. This information will assist the Board in making its decision regarding the size of the LIF in the following year and to identify priority activities for the forthcoming year.

A Progress Report will be available to complete online on the RIBA website once this round of funding applications has closed. If you have any difficulties with the online form, please contact the relevant RIBA team member.

The Progress Report is likely to ask you questions along the following lines:

  • What is the name of project?
  • Please use this form to highlight any successes and the impact this project has had on RIBA membership.
  • Has your project delivered the intended outcomes within the planned timescales?
  • Please confirm any requests for LIF for the project for forthcoming years?

The 2022 application form can be found here.

Any questions should be referred to the relevant RIBA team.

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