In Julia Unwin’s seminal study for the Baring Foundation, she concluded, among a range of other findings that:

  • Funders and funded alike are engaged in a complex dance in which the agenda of those wishing to make grants is reconciled with the agenda of those applying for them. This reconciliation is rarely straightforward, and is challenging to both sides.
  • High quality grant-making is an attempt to make that relationship a productive one for both parties.
  • Funding should enable organisations to grow and develop independently not frustrate this development. That those making grants have an interest in doing this effectively. The nature of the relationship between the funder and the funded body will have an impact on the effectiveness of both organisations.
  • For both parties the current arrangements are unsatisfactory, time consuming and prevent the healthy development of the voluntary sector. Funders wish to better understand the nature of the impact they have.
  • Intended impacts range from maintenance, to building organisations and systems change. Styles of funding suit different intended impacts. But there is often confusion about these. The use of investment terminology has often served to obscure more than to illuminate.

Source: The Grantmaking Tango