frequently asked questions

Q&A

Do you charge any fees?

This is dependent on which fund you apply for, but we often charge an arrangement fee to cover some of the costs of arranging the loan. We may also charge a small fee if you need us to rearrange the loan or repay your loan early, to cover the cost of our time to process. The fees are clearly set out in the loan documentation and will not change during the life of the loan.

Do you have any grants available?

We do, dependent on eligibility, you can discuss this with your Investment Manager.

How do I apply for funding?

By competing the application form. However, should you require any support or have any questions before you apply, please do get in touch.

How do you calculate your interest?

This is dependent on which fund you apply for, but we often charge an arrangement fee to cover some of the costs of arranging the loan. We may also charge a small fee if you need us to rearrange the loan or repay your loan early, to cover the cost of our time to process. The fees are clearly set out in the loan documentation and will not change during the life of the loan.

How does Key Fund get its funding?

As a social enterprise we raise funds from a variety of different sources, including from: Banks, Charitable Trusts, Foundations, Government and Investment Funds.

How does the grant element work and do we need to apply for it separately?

You only need to apply once for the total amount of funding that you need from us. As we have a number of different funds, we will consider grant eligibility as part of our assessment dependent on the nature of your proposal.

How does the interest rate work?

Interest is charged at a flat rate, based on the original amount borrowed, multiplied by the numbers of years that you borrow the money for.

How long can I borrow for?

It depends on which funds you are eligible for, but our longest investments are for 15 years. That said, our average investment term is around 4-5years.

How long does it take?

It really depends on how quickly you can supply any information that we require, but our average turnaround is less than six weeks. We can process applications much more quickly, dependent on individual circumstances.

How much can I borrow?

It depends on which funds you are eligible for, but our biggest investments are £300,000. That said, our average investment is around £50,000.

I don’t know anything about about Key Fund?

Key Fund is a social enterprise that provides investment and support to community/social enterprises working in the North and Midlands of England. Over almost 20 years we have invested around £50m in over 2,000 organisations.

What are the application timescales and what is the process?

We try to process applications as quickly as possible and aim to get a decision within 4 to 6 weeks, usually dependent on how quickly you can respond to any queries. Your Investment Manager will work with you throughout the process to develop the best possible proposal, including a site visit to meet you and complete identification checks and some paperwork. They write an investment report which summarises your organisation and plans, which is reviewed internally and then submitted to our Investment Panel for a final decision. We inform you of the outcome on the same day and issue offer documents within two working days.

What documentation will I have to provide?

The basic information that we will need to assess your application is:

A completed application

A business plan (template available here if you do not already have one)

A set of financial projections (if possible 3 years cashflow – a template can be found here if you do not already have one)

Your latest financial management figures (the most up to date available)

Your last set of full accounts

Details of the key people involved in the business

Dependent on the complexity of the proposal and the purpose of the investment, we may need other information, but your Investment Manager will discuss this with you during the process.

What happens if things don’t go to plan?

We try to work with all clients when things don’t go to plan and we are happy to be patient if it helps to support you to recover. The key thing is to communicate all of the facts and talk to us as early as possible.

What is a Theory of Change?

A theory of change sets out what you want to achieve from your activity, who you will benefit, the activities you undertake to achieve this and any assumptions you have made in developing the model.

What is the interest rate and will it fluctuate?

We have different interest rates for many of our funds, which are based on the requirements of our funders, but the rate is fixed at the point of offer and will not change if you maintain repayments in line with the original agreement.

What types of organisations do you fund?

We support organisations that directly deliver social impact as a core part of their activity. We are not prescriptive about legal form, but we seek to understand how the mission is protected, or how risk and rewards are balanced between the people owning the business and ourselves.

When will I find out if my request has been approved?

On the day of Investment Panel, your Investment Manager will call you straight after to inform you of the decision.

Where do you get your funding from?

Our rate is higher than the published ‘from’ rates of many financial companies, but is often below what many charge as an average. Further, we work intensively with our Clients, in order to understand their business, enabling us to say yes where others would make a quick decision to say no – this increases our costs. However, we still do not charge a full cost recovery rate and almost all of our loans are subsidised by other activity/funding. If clients can obtain cheaper funding from elsewhere we would encourage them to do so.

Where does the money come from?

We try to work with all clients when things don’t go to plan and we are happy to be patient if it helps to support you to recover. The key thing is to communicate all of the facts and talk to us as early as possible.

Who makes the decisions?

Final decisions are made by our Investment Panel, but we will tell you as soon as possible if we do not think that your application will be successful, to allow you to focus on other funding avenues.

Why are your interest rates so high?

Our rate is higher than the published ‘from’ rates of many financial companies, but is often below what many charge as an average. Further, we work intensively with our Clients, in order to understand their business, enabling us to say yes where others would make a quick decision to say no – this increases our costs. However, we still do not charge a full cost recovery rate and almost all of our loans are subsidised by other activity/funding. If clients can obtain cheaper funding from elsewhere we would encourage them to do so.