Overheads and full cost recovery
You can apply to Big Lottery Fund for some of your overheads as well as the direct costs of your project. This page explains how to calculate your overheads so that you can apply for all of the funding you need for your project.
What is full cost recovery?
Full cost recovery means securing funding for all of the costs involved in running a project. This means that you can request funding for direct project costs and for a proportionate share of your organisation’s overheads.
What are the direct and overhead costs of a project?
A project is a specific and distinct piece of work that you would like us to fund.
Direct project costs are the costs that relate clearly and directly to a project. These can include salaries for project workers, volunteer expenses and a dedicated laptop for the project.
Overheads are costs that partly support the project, but also support other projects or activities that your organisation provides. These can include a proportion of salaries of core staff such as administrators, rent and utilities costs or your organisation’s legal and audit fees.
How do I apply full cost recovery?
If the project for which you are seeking funding is your core work and the only project you run, then you do not need to calculate your overheads separately - just request all of your costs as direct project costs.
A small organisation runs a lunch club once a week. It does not run any other work or projects. The lunches, venue hire and any volunteer expenses are direct costs. There are no overheads.
If you are managing a number of projects or activities at the same time, you need to work out how to share out your organisation’s overheads to each project.
An organisation runs three projects from one building: a lunch club for elderly people, training sessions for single parents and dance classes for members of the community. The organisation would like funding for the training project and has worked out that the project’s direct costs include the trainer’s salary, books, stationery, a laptop and a projector. The rent and utilities costs are overheads and must be shared fairly between the organisation’s three projects.
How do I share out the overheads for each project?
The following guidance and guidance notes will clarify how to calculate the full costs of your project, including the project’s overheads.
Use the Project overheads spreadsheet to calculate the direct and overhead costs for your project and to estimate how much you would like us to contribute to your project.
Read our Questions and answers on full cost recovery