How to write a great application

This guidance has been developed to help applicants complete the application forms for NHS Blood and Transplant’s Community Investment Scheme.

It will focus on sections that have proved challenging to applicants in the past, to give greater clarity on what “great” can look like.

On this page:

If you have specific questions around any section of the application form, please contact us at

General tips

  • Be clear, and concise. Limit the use of abbreviations and acronyms and make sure they are defined in full at first use 
  • Answer every question, do not leave any sections blank 
  • If you need to attach appendices, make this clear in your answer to the question and ensure the appendices are clearly marked with the question they refer to 
  • Use evidence and figures to back up your answers and show your impact 
  • Proofread the application for spelling and grammatical errors 
  • Do not assume the judging panel are familiar with your organisation, tell us about you 
  • Keep the judging criteria in mind when writing your application 

Previous experience in raising awareness

We are looking for applications from organisations that have experience in delivering activity that addresses any health inequality in their target audience. This shows us you have experience of challenging misinformation, building trust, and changing behaviour to achieve a positive outcome. 

Best practice from successful applications 

Example 1

One organisation looking to deliver organ donation awareness activity in barbershops discussed their previous experience of leading community projects to tackle other health inequalities.

They provided evidence of the impact of this work using figures around reach, and the number of events delivered.  

Example 2

One organisation looking to engage young Black people talked about their previous experience in delivering organ donation awareness initiatives.

They gave key figures that showed their impact e.g. figures around organ donor registrations. They also talked about how their previous activity had engaged their young target audience, showing their experience of working with young people in educational settings. 

Why your organisation is best placed to deliver this work

We are looking for applications from organisations with established, proven and reputable links to their target audience. Tell us what makes you the most appropriate organisation in your area to deliver this project.  

You could discuss:  

  • Your in-house expertise e.g., staff with existing relationships in the community
  • Footfall in your community centre/place of worship/charity HQ
  • Representation of people from your target community on your staff team or board
  • The size and demographic of your mailing list (either email or direct mail)
  • Your links to key community figures or leaders
  • Your digital reach and engagement e.g., online following on social media platforms
  • Your understanding of your target community’s attitude to donation

Best practice from successful applications

Example 1

One organisation looking to engage young people talked about the connections they have already built with schools, colleges and universities in their target geographical area. 

Example 2

One organisation talked about how they were best placed to deliver community work with young South Asian women, showing how they would use the services they already offer to ensure attendance at organ donation workshops e.g. childcare and language support 

Target audience and why

Use this space to talk about the people your project will engage, and why activity around blood or organ donation is needed in this community.  

Blood donation

For more guidance read our information for projects focusing on blood donation and the barriers and motivations you’ll need to be aware of. 

Organ donation

For more information read our information for projects focusing on organ donation and see if your audience fits into one of the key groups where clinical need is high, or opt outs are prevalent. 

You can also read our Agroni survey results (Powerpoint 2.6MB) to see what motivates or prevents people from diverse communities from donating their own, or their loved ones’ organs. The results show which motivators and barriers apply to each of our key groups. 

Many people from Black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic communities think their religion prevents them from organ donation, is that a barrier in your target communityIf so, how can you use your activity to provide reassurance and encourage participation? 

If you are looking to deliver an organ donation project in a community that isn’t identified as a key group, tell us why you believe intervention is needed in your community. Can you provide figures from a survey (either a public survey, or one you’ve conducted with your community)or other insight that shows the need in your community? 

Stem cell donation

For those focusing on stem cell donation, read our information for projects focused on stem cell donation.

Best practice from successful applications

Example 1

One organisation delivering a project in a college discussed the ethnic diversity of their student population. It drew attention to the age of their students, and the number of students who would be reached by the project. It also acknowledged the role that young people play as changemakers in the community.  

Example 2

One organisation delivering a project in a community centre talked about the demographic of the young women they already work with and discussed the key barriers to donation in this group – having consulted the women they work with. They also used the results of NHSBT’s Agroni research to show the need for work in their community. 

SMART objectives

This is an area of the application form that applicants have found challenging in the past. We are looking for well-structured objectives that make it very clear what your impact will be. 

Objectives should focus on how your project will positively engage local communities in donation, address concerns, and increase support for donation among your target audience.  

Best practice from successful applications

One organisation provided this objective for the first phase of their 3-strand campaign. 

Months 1-3 

  • Improve people's understanding of organ donation through provision of written information and by talking to targeted people at meetings and gatherings.   
  • Raise awareness of the changes in the law relating to organ donation through meetings, disseminating information   
  • Encourage people not to opt out of organ donation by improving their understanding of organ donation and the importance of it   


To be achieved through:  

  • 400 people attending events for BAME community where “opt out” law is promoted, by May 2020.    
  • Distribute 500 NHSBT leaflets at our Centre    
  • Distribute 500 NHSBT leaflets at local religious and cultural organisations   

Measuring impact

We are also asking that organisations pick at least 3 measures from the list below, along with any other measures needed to track impact.

  • Registrations via tracked link or leaflet code (blood) 
  • Registrations via tracked link or leaflet code (organs) 
  • Attitude change measures e.g. pre and post event questions, surveys, polls 
  • Event attendance (online or in person) 
  • Resource distribution (via email/social media or hard copy) 
  • Online engagement figures e.g. website visits, social engagement. 


This is to ensure that the impact of individual projects, and the scheme as a whole, can be evaluated robustly.

Best practice from successful applications

Successful applications in the past have discussed other measures including 

  • Media and TV coverage – coverage of project launch in the national media and faith media. 
  • Number of 1-1 conversations about organ donation 
  • Number of experts attending events e.g. specialist nurses 

Planning and timescales

You need to map out where you are now, where you want to get to and how you will achieve that. Include timescales so it’s clear what you will do in month one, month two etc.  

Best practice from successful applications

Organisations that scored highly on this question broke down their activity month-by month. This gives the judging panel confidence that the applicant has mapped out their project in a structured way. 

Some organisations split their work into separate phases where multiple strands are being delivered, which gives the project structure. This makes it clear how much time will be spent on each element of your plan. 

COVID-19 contingency planning

With the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, projects may need to adapt quickly to ensure they can still meet their objectives.

We know the global picture may have changed a lot when work begins in April 2022, but we are keen to ensure all projects have a contingency plan that can be delivered in the event that social distancing or lockdowns are still in place.

That is why we have asked projects to provide contingency objectives, plans and budgets for any proposed face to face activity. If you are new to digital delivery, you can access a workshop given in May 2020 on the topic.

Things to consider in your contingency planning (click on each section for more information): 


Firstly, you will need to carefully consider how much you want to apply for.

We are also offering applicants a choice of three timescales of 9 months, 12 months and 18 months. Please consider which timescale you would like to work to when thinking about your budget.

Further questions

Please email any questions relating to the application form or process to and we will do our best to help you.