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Top tips for being a Living Wage Funder

Published : 06/11/23 | Categories: Information & support | News |

For voluntary organisations to be able to pay the Living Wage they need funders to get on board. For Living Wage Week here are some top tips on how to be a Living Wage Funder.

This is an update of an article published in November 2022.

This week we are celebrating over 14,000 employers across the UK who have signed up to paying the real Living Wage to their employees. The Living Wage is the only wage rate independently calculated based on what people need to live on, and it is updated annually to reflect the true cost of living.

The Living Wage Foundation announced the new rates on 24 October 2023, which are 10% higher compared to last year. The new Living Wage is £12 an hour across the UK and £13.15 an hour in London.


Living Wage Funders are committed to encouraging the organisations they support to pay the real Living Wage. By committing to the Living Wage, funders ranging from local authorities to charitable trusts and foundations, corporate, science and capital funders can provide invaluable support in helping to tackle low pay.

More than 80 Living Wage Funders in the UK are now working together to help to end low pay and in-work poverty within the voluntary sector and beyond. Bringing together grant-making power of almost £2bn and an awareness of the impact that poverty has on the issues their grantees are working to address, they work with their networks and use their influence to increase awareness of the issues and to promote the real Living Wage as a solution.


A Living Wage funder can be distributing its own money – eg, a trust, local authority, government department, or be distributing money on behalf of others – eg, WCVA or the Community Development Foundation, and must be committed to:

  1. Become an accredited Living Wage employer yourself- if you’re not already signed up, check out livingwage.wales
  2. Provide funding at a level that enables grant recipients’ staff and contractors to pay wages at the Real Living Wage rate
  3. Don’t favour funding applications as ‘better value for money’ because staff costs are below the Real Living Wage rate
  4. Encourage and support funding applicants proposing to pay less than the Real Living Wage rate to pay more – ideally, helping them to do so for their whole organisation. For example, some Living Wage Funders choose to cover their grantees’ accreditation fees for the first year, or beyond, to support them in becoming accredited employers
  5. Convince your management – ask your board of trustees, directors, assessment panel, etc. – to sign up and to pay the annual accreditation fee. The fee is on a sliding scale according to how much money you have available to give out as funding, so it is designed not to impact what’s available in your ‘funding pot’
  6. Make a long-term commitment – for example, writing a policy that commits your organisation to the principles of being a Living Wage Funder and getting management to sign it off – this can be extremely helpful, especially with staff turnover
  7. Apply to become a Living Wage Funder and make use of the resources and community there to help tackle low pay together


The annual fee supports the work of the Living Wage Foundation and Cynnal Cymru, the Living Wage Foundation’s accreditation partner for Wales, to make real changes to the lives of working people. It also ensures that your organisation is publicised for and benefits from its commitment to a fair wage for people carrying out vital work in the voluntary sector, as well as encouraging other funders to do the same.

Accrediting as a real Living Wage Employer and Funder demonstrates the diversity and strength of the movement to end working poverty, which has grown to over 14,000 employers across the UK, reaching the lives of more than 460,000 workers and returning more than £2bn to the pockets of those who most need it.

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