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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Influence how £800m+ of UK grants are made and managed through The Funding Experience survey #HowYouFundMatters

This opinion piece is 7 months old

Sponsored content: have a say about what changes funders could make

At IVAR, we work with charities, foundations and public agencies to strengthen the UK voluntary sector through action research. This week, we’ve launched The Funding Experience Survey, to explore how we can reduce the wasted time, effort and stress of fundraising and funding relationships.

It’s the first step towards holding our community of over 100 Open and Trusting grantmakers to account for their commitments to making and managing grants in a way that reflects their confidence in the organisations they fund – so you have the chance to influence over £800 million of UK grant-making. We’re hoping to hear from over 1,000 charities about what changes funders could make, and which of these matters most.

What is the survey based on?

We reviewed tangible actions that funders were taking, or hoping to take, when they signed up to our eight Open and Trusting commitments, as well as others they have shared during Community of Practice sessions, blogs and participation in focused research projects. Here are a few examples of what funders say they are doing:

  • We have stopped setting tight word or character limits in our online forms because organisations tell us they have to spend a lot of time editing what they write rather than concentrating on what they want to tell us.
  • We aim for a six week turnaround on smaller grants.
  • We have found that giving more conscious attention to equity is a powerful tool in highlighting unrecognised behaviours and assumptions and changing them. Using a strong equity and inclusion lens in our decision panel, we realised that we were setting a higher bar for newer or smaller organisations.

We used these tangible actions to inform the design of survey.

What difference will my response make?

Our 100 Open and Trusting Grantmakers are listening, and have committed to using the results of the survey to adapt and improve what they do.

Harriet Stranks, director of grants at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales:

"As funders our job is to support charities so that they can do what they do best. It’s important that we listen to charities, respond to feedback and adapt the way we work so that we can meet the needs of the charities we exist to serve. That’s one of the reasons why we signed up to IVAR’s Open and Trusting initiative and will be reviewing the responses to this survey to see where we can learn and improve."

Emma Kendall, development manager at Clean Break:

"The Funding Experience Survey – and Open and Trusting Initiative – are really valuable because they give charities a voice within the funding relationship, to speak about things that may feel difficult or sensitive but address how these relationships work."

What will you do with the findings?

The survey, which takes 10-15 minutes to complete, will be open until 10 June and the results will be published in September. We will use our findings to guide Open and Trusting Grantmakers to review their practices and behaviours. We’ll also be recruiting, training and resourcing charity professionals to facilitate discussions for our grantmakers, and to use the survey findings to push grantmakers to consider how they can go further for applicants and grantees. All this is leading into the second anniversary of our Open and Trusting initiative, in February 2023, when our funders will publicly refresh their commitments. 

Complete the survey now, or use our comms pack to share it with your colleagues and networks.

Click here to find out more about IVAR



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