A research report into what charities think a model grant-maker looks like
Grant-making trusts are a vital source of funds for many charities. They provide significant sources of funding, often for organisations which do not have instant public appeal or do not have the skills or financial resources to raise money directly from the public. Grant-making trusts provide a meritocracy of funding which reduces the importance of a charity’s brand, or contacts, or fundraising expertise, or cause. For all these reasons grant-making trusts are a hugely important part of the funding landscape.
However, the perspective of those who receive the grants is relatively poorly researched. So when the John Ellerman Foundation approached us to try and find out what a model grant-maker looked like in the eyes of grantees we leapt at the opportunity. We have surveyed over 400 organisations for their views on grant- making, we held an Open Forum for all those who responded to the survey and we interviewed 13 fundraisers from a variety of organisations.
We had few pre-conceptions about what a model grant-maker might look like from the charity’s perspective. However, as the final two sections show, a really strong set of ideas emerged from charities about what they would like. More importantly, many of these ideas are not ones in which the charities benefit to the detriment of the grant-maker. They are ones in which both parties can reduce their costs or make grants work harder.