The Directory of Social Change’s report ‘Critical Conditions’ suggests:

  • When grant terms and conditions are not publicly available they inhibit good fundraising practice, strategic decision-making, organizational independence and sustainability. For example, if terms and conditions are not available at the point of application, this can jeopardise organisations, projects and beneficiaries. Or if they are Inflexible, funders can lose funders lose opportunities to fund important work.
  • Yet a large percentage of trusts and foundations preferred not to negotiate.
  • Funders should provide terms and conditions at the start of the application process, make them available online, be willing to discuss issues with applicants, and be open to negotiating. This should save time and effort for everybody.

In ‘Ineligible Applications’ they conclude:

  • Applications made to funders which fail to meet the funders’ basic eligibility criteria are a waste of the applicant’s time and a waste of funders’ time.
  • A lack of clear and accessible information from the funder is part of the problem. As is a shortage of constructive feedback from funders, which prevents fundraisers from better targeting their efforts.
  • The top 2,500 grant-making trusts received 983,753 applications, of which 361,149 were ineligible (36%) and which equates to around seven years of wasted effort, on conservative assumptions.
  • Trusts vary hugely in the number of ineligible applications they receive. Some received no ineligible applications, hundreds receive fewer than 10% ineligible, hundreds more receive over 50% ineligible and dozens had over 90% ineligible. The largest received the least ineligible.
  • Funders should provide clearer information,  ecognize the benefits of providing constructive feedback, provide a clear contact point for any queries, and reflect ineligible applications and how they can be reduced.

In ‘Funding Sustainable Change’, based on a sample of grant-making trusts, they conclude:

  • A substantial proportion of funders explicitly fund projects aiming to enable sustainable change, with long-term impacts beyond their immediate grantees. This can be achieved through campaigning; advocating and influencing.
  • Of those trusts who do fund this type of work, a significant proportion do not state this openly in their criteria, making it difficult for prospective applicants.

Source: Directory of Social Change