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Sustaining progressive funding practice

Since March 2020, many funders have transformed their relationship with charities, dismantling onerous processes and proactively offering a range of financial and technical support. This new mood of agility, trust and common endeavour points the way to a healthier and more collaborative relationship between funders and the VCSE sector.


The challenge now is for funders and VCSE organisations together to interrogate these new behaviours and to nurture and grow the best of them into the future. Examples of what this new approach might involve and require are set out here. 



13 November 2020

Four principles to shape your grant-making today

Ben Cairns

We need to find the confidence, skills and ways of working to operate effectively in our current environment, accepting that changing restrictions will feature in our lives for the foreseeable future.

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24 September 2020

A simple ambition for grant-making: unrestricted and light-touch

Eliza Buckley

Eliza Buckley outlines why we are working with charities and funders to "translate words – ‘trust’, ‘speed’, ‘light touch’ – into visible, practical and durable changes to behaviour and practice" within grant-making.

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08 July 2020

Seeing with an applicant’s eye

Ben Cairns

15 weeks ago, we proposed five principles to guide funders in rising to the challenge of the Covid-19 crisis. However, some VCSE organisations now report worrying signs of wobble and strain, even in the most open and agile of funders.

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05 April 2020

Covid-19: How funders can ease reporting requirements

Ben Cairns | IVAR and Gina Crane | Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Funders across the UK are busy adapting their processes to better support their grantees and the wider sector in the face of the spread and emerging impact of the coronavirus. We asked what immediate action they are taking to lighten the reporting load on grantees and be truly responsive.

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27 March 2020

Covid-19: Getting money quickly to frontline services

Ben Cairns

How can funders respond quickly and effectively to the challenge of supporting and sustaining the wider sector through this crisis?

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Briefing papers:

'Lived experience' in grant-making practice

Sonakshi Anand, Charlotte Pace

We have summarised what 'lived experience' within grant-making processes means for four intermediary funders working with Comic Relief. In light of the Covid-19 crisis, it feels more important than ever to open lines of communication between funders and communities.


New principles for grant reporting

Over the course of two workshops in April and September 2018, a group of funders and funded organisations developed a set of principles to make grant reporting a shared, more meaningful and mutually beneficial experience.

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