The aim of our report is to provide insight so that grant-seekers can benchmark their activity and identify where they can make improvements; and grant-makers can gain further insight to the views and experiences of grant-seekers to inform their grantmaking practice.
The Trust Fundraising Scorecard is an online self-assessment tool that helps charities to benchmark their approach to grant-seeking and make targeted improvements to increase grant income. The Scorecard was not designed with the intention of undertaking research, but the strong level of participation and the subsequent conversations provided a rich pool of quantitative and qualitative data that we felt a duty to analyse and share.
Everyone wants there to be better lines of communication and more effective relationships but there isn’t consensus/clarity on what that would look like
Most frustrating is when they don’t give any guidance and try to be open to everything. Because, usually they won’t be and will have areas of work that interest them more than others, particularly the small ones that give no criteria, no list of grantees etc. The biggest frustration is spending time on applications that were never going to be successful, particularly now it is so important to be targeted. They would get less but more suitable applications.
There is a divergence in thinking when it comes to applications – grant-seekers focusing on tailoring answers to ‘fit’ with what grant-makers are looking for, while grant-makers want to learn about the issues and how to address them from the experts i.e. the people with lived experience
The thing that really stood out was the paradox of having to pitch with authenticity and try to anticipate what you think the funder wants to hear. I think using your genuine voice is the most helpful thing that you can do, as the application will be written in a more engaging/accessible way that will support with the review of the application.
There is an opportunity to explore how we fund social change more effectively, with increased collaboration and co-production potentially being an important part of this.
Charities have the knowledge and ability to affect change in their communities. We need more joint conversations together (grant-seekers and grant-makers). We need more confidence from grant-seekers – who have power in their knowledge, networks and expertise. It does feel like there is more desire and emphasis from grant-makers to operate differently. At a recent London Funders event, the main topics were on flexible funding, DEI and co-production.
Rather than drawing conclusions or making recommendations, we share this report with you as a way of adding further insight to existing conversations on these topics and invite you to explore these questions with us further: