Application Support

Guidance Notes

For full application criteria, eligibility guidelines and terms and conditions, download the CBFS Guidance Notes.

From ‘what if…’ to ‘here’s how…’

Great creative ideas are what we’re looking for, but how will these be brought to life and what benefits will the resulting project deliver? Make sure your application really gets your message across!

Clear areas of impact

From raising awareness to changing lives, and from providing entertainment to supporting education, when we assess each project application we’re looking for opportunities to deliver tangible benefits to the people and communities in Scotland, enriching lives and advancing our nation’s creative and cultural profile. Think about…

Community & Social Empowerment | Education & Learning | Environment | Equality, Diversity & Inclusion | International Engagement | Health & Wellbeing | Older People | People with Disabilities | Tourism | Young People


Compelling business benefits

And we also need to ensure that the business sponsor will receive a range of clearly defined benefits that reflect the value of their sponsorship and provide a worthwhile return on their investment. Think about…

Business and/or Brand Name Awareness | Corporate Social Responsibility | Creative Development | Developing Community Links | Direct access to Target Audiences | Enjoyment | Entertaining | Image Enhancement | Marketing | PR Opportunities | Staff Relations & Development

To make the most of your application and create the best possible case for your project, you’ll find the following Frequently asked questions and Tips for securing business sponsorship helpful. Please make sure you download our Application Guidelines  for full details of application criteria, eligibility, and terms and conditions. Good luck!

Frequently asked questions and Tips for securing business sponsorship

If an arts or heritage organisation attracts an eligible business to sponsor an aspect of their work, the Culture & Business Fund Scotland will match that sponsorship, £ for £.

Remember that both in-kind and cash sponsorship are eligible, but must come from the sponsor’s own funds, goods or services.

Arts and heritage organisations

Any not-for-profit arts or heritage organisation registered and based in Scotland can apply as the lead applicant. This includes (but is not limited to) registered charities, SCIOs, CICs and social enterprises.

Unincorporated arts and heritage organisations may also be eligible for CBFS funding.

Cultural trusts and local authorities that have a remit for cultural delivery are eligible to apply.

Any non-arts or non-heritage not-for-profit organisations based in Scotland may apply, if the sponsored and CBFS match funded activities are arts or heritage related.

The applying organisation must be properly constituted and hold a company bank account.

An arts or heritage organisation can apply for match funding up to the value of £40,000 (excluding VAT) in any one financial year (running from 1 April to 31 March). Applicants can apply for more than one set of match funding in the year with the same or a different business sponsor, providing the total sum awarded is £40,000 (excluding VAT) or under.

There are two application tiers. For match funding of between £1,000 and £3,000 (excluding VAT), applicants should use the fast-track application form; for match funding of over £3,000 and up to £40,000 (excluding VAT) there is a separate application form.

Completed applications must be submitted and received by Arts & Business Scotland at least three months (but no more than nine months) before the sponsored activity and proposed match-funded activity begins, before assessment can commence. However, fast-track applications for match funding of between £1,000 and £3,000 (excluding VAT) may be submitted and considered two months before the start date of sponsored and match-funded activities.

The CBFS can accept applications for sponsorship agreements that support a longer-term commitment over two or three years. Follow-on applications will be considered if Year One or Year Two funded activities have been successfully completed and the evaluation of the project has been approved.

As per first-time applications, Year Two and Year Three applications must meet the criteria details outlined in this document. During the Covid-19 Recovery & Renewal Strand if successful, the CBFS will award Year Two applicants 100% of the sponsorship fee and Year Three applicants 100% of the sponsorship fee.

CBFS match-funded arts or heritage activities must take place within Scotland. The related business sponsorship activities could, however, take place outwith Scotland, in other parts of the UK or internationally.

The business sponsorship can either be cash, or ‘in-kind’ at cost price and must be provided in exchange for a series of defined business benefits provided by the arts or heritage partner. In-kind sponsorship must be goods or services that the business normally provides as part of its operation and must be evidenced as reflecting the financial value stated.

We can only provide limited pre-application assistance – for example, in relation to queries regarding our guidelines or the eligibility of a proposed business sponsor.

Applicants should complete and submit their applications online via this website. You can download the form to view in advance and then complete it in numbered stages by setting up your organisation’s profile. The secure log in is only accessible to you and any colleagues with whom you share the log in details. Your application will remain active for updating until you submit it.

Tips for securing business sponsorship

The following tips are taken from the manual Sponsorship: Developing creative partnerships, written and produced by Arts & Business Scotland to support our introduction to business sponsorship training events.

This one-day course is an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of business sponsorship and everyone attending will receive a copy of the manual.

Find out about all of our upcoming training events here or contact us at or on 0131 556 3353.

Businesses are interested in sponsoring arts or heritage organisations and projects with values that match or enhance their own, and with audiences that match or enhance their own. Make these critical areas of mutual interest clear in your application to demonstrate the strength of your proposed partnership.

Agree the scope of benefits you can offer and identify these clearly within your application then draw up a sponsorship benefits package with your business sponsor including, for example:

  • Publicity material credits
  • Programme acknowledgment or catalogue preface
  • Verbal acknowledgement or introduction at events or launches
  • Free advertising space in programmes or catalogues
  • Complimentary tickets, priority bookings and private views or performances
  • Use of hospitality facilities
  • ‘Meet the artist’ opportunities
  • Display space
  • Merchandise or corporate gifts
  • Product sampling
  • Media coverage
  • Website links

Ensure that the benefits you offer cost less to provide than the income you receive in return and remember to build in the cost of servicing and evaluating your sponsorship.


For more information or to make a general enquiry


For help and advice when completing your application