50 UK grant-providers, including some major Trusts and Foundations, launch campaign calling on funders to adopt simpler, more flexible approaches to their grant-making

A campaign launched on 11 February 2021 is calling on funders to adopt simpler, more flexible practices that make life easier for those they fund, in light of the ongoing uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

The Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR), in collaboration with London Funders and a group of UK foundations and charities are behind the new campaign (see list below).

They are asking funders to commit to being more open and trusting by making grants in a way that:

1. Reflects the realities facing Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations and other civil society organisations now and for the foreseeable future, and
2. Managing grants in a way that reflects their confidence in and respect for the organisations they fund.

1. Don’t waste time – funders will be open, transparent and clear about all of their priorities,
requirements and exclusions.
2. Ask relevant questions – funders will test their application forms to ensure clarity,
relevance and avoid repetition, only collecting information that genuinely informs a funding
3. Accept risk – funders will clearly explain how risk is assessed and be realistic about how
much assurance applicants can provide.
4. Act with urgency – funders will aim to make decisions as quickly as possible by publishing
and sticking to timeframes to ensure they work at a pace that meets the needs of
5. Be open – funders will provide feedback, including reasons for rejections. They will analyse
and share relevant data, including publishing success rates.
6. Enable flexibility – funders will aim to give unrestricted funding; where they can’t (or are a
specialist funder), they will ensure their funding is as flexible as possible.
7. Communicate with purpose – a funders contact is positive and purposeful. They will be
realistic about their time commitments.
8. Be proportionate – funders will ensure that their formal reporting requirements are well
understood, proportionate and meaningful.

For funders who sign up to the eight commitments, IVAR is creating a community for dialogue,
debate and challenge on the details of day-to-day practice, involving both funders and charities.

The pledge complements other work aiming to influence change – both in funder practice and
improving relationships between charities and funders, such as ACF’s Stronger Foundations
initiative. IVAR will continue to collaborate with ACF and others to ensure work is

50 independent funders across the four nations of the UK have already signed up, with IVAR, its partners and networks calling for more funders to join them in adopting the eight commitments, sharing how they will bring them to life, and joining a community of practice with other funders and charities to adapt and improve practice together.

Funders and those they fund are also invited to join in in championing these commitments and
engaging with the campaign as it progresses using the hashtag #FlexibleFunders and tagging @IVAR_UK.

The 50 funders are:

1. Cripplegate Foundation.
2. Peabody Charitable Trust.
3. AB Charitable Trust.
4. The Access to Justice Foundation.
5. The Allen Lane Foundation.
6. Ballinger Charitable Trust.
7. Barrow Cadbury Trust.
8. CareTech Foundation.
9. Charterhouse in Southwark.
10. City Bridge Trust.
11. Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.
12. Corra Foundation.
13. Devon Community Foundation.
14. Do-It Foundation.
15. East End Community Foundation.
16. Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
17. Haberdashers’ Company.
18. Halifax Foundation.
19. Harpur Trust.
20. Jerwood Arts.
21. John Ellerman Foundation.
22. John Lyon’s Charity.
23. Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust.
24. The Legal Education Foundation.
25. Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales.
26. Mercers’ Company.
27. Millfield House Foundation.
28. Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
29. Pears Foundation.
30. Peter Minet Trust.
31. Pilgrim Trust.
32. Southwark Charities.
33. Spirit of 2012 Trust.
34. Texel Foundation.
35. The Blue Thread
36. The Bromley Trust
37. The Postlethwaite Music Foundation.
38. The Robertson Trust.
39. The Tudor Trust.
40. Two Ridings Charitable Foundation.
41. United St Saviour’s Charity.
42. Walcot Foundation.
43. William Grant Foundation.
44. Youth Music.
45. Social Investment Business
46. London Community Foundation.
47. Kensington and Chelsea Foundation.
48. Cattanach.
49. Co-op Foundation, and 
50. The Wolfson Foundation.

If you’re a who has seen the news of IVARs campaign in collaboration with @LondonFunders and would like to find out more about what this mean, you can join a Q&A , between 14:30-15:30 on Wednesday 3 March 2021.  Free places can be booked HERE.

For further information about the Flexible Funders initiative, please visit IVARs website.

Source: Civil Society News