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Welcome to the Institute for Voluntary Action Research – IVAR. We are an independent charity that works closely with people and organisations striving for social change. From the very small that directly support the most vulnerable in their local communities, to those that work nationally – across the voluntary, public and funding sectors.

We use research to develop practical responses to the challenges faced and create opportunities for people to learn from our findings. This site is home to our bank of research and resources, providing insights that can help organisations adapt to change and make informed and confident decisions.

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What's new

Recently published

report cover for towards more flexible funding.

Briefing papers:

Towards more flexible funding

Eliza Buckley, Liz Firth, Keeva Rooney

What does flexible funding look like? What if you’re funding on behalf of others? When does it end?


If you have an ongoing relationship with a group, [trustees] find it easier to give them unrestricted grants. 


Briefing papers:

Birds in a hurricane

Emily Dyson, Liz Firth, Marilyn Taylor

How voluntary organisations have survived - and in some cases even thrived - since the beginning of the pandemic.


If more than one charity is serving BAME populations, it doesn’t mean they are duplicating. 


Ben Cairns, Project Supervisor

29 July 2021

Communities need flexible funders to influence the public sector

Ben Cairns

Perfectly placed to step up and argue for greater consistency and flexibility from public funding, we share why independent grantmakers should speak out:

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Final CFC and Out There

27 July 2021

‘Perfection was never achievable’ – Two Charity CEOs on leading in uncertainty

We’ve heard from 23 leaders during our recent peer support sessions. Here, two of those leaders share reflections about what it is like to lead through this period of prolonged upheaval.

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