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  • Writer's pictureThea

Be Part of the Modern Grant Making Revolution

A recent Civil Society article reported that the Charity sector spends a whopping £900m a year applying for grant funding! This shocking waste of charitable funding is due to a combination of issues including grant makers not publishing the eligibility criteria and the often exhaustive and inefficient nature of the application process including the poorly considered design and navigation.

Moreover, with the overall income of many charities currently reduced due to the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, it's more important than ever that charities are able to apply for funding in a more time and resource efficient manner.

Of course, not all grant funders are guilty of the above, some believe that a better process is possible and resources are being created to encourage funders to revolutionize their thinking and approaches.

One such resource is a book entitled ‘Modern Grant Making’ by Gemma Bull and Tom Steinberg. The book details the quiet revolution occurring within modern grant making circles. The book launch was hosted by Sufina Ahmad MBE, Director of the John Ellerman Foundation, a forward thinking, independent grant making foundation who support charities that make a difference to people, society and the natural world. In this You Tube interview Ahmad explains why taking a modern approach to grant making is so vital. She states:

“It’s estimated that in the next couple of decades, there will be trillions of dollars of wealth transfer from so-called ‘Baby Boomers’ to younger generations. Nowhere more so than in developed global markets. Partly as a result of this we are seeing a myriad of new forms of grant making and philanthropy being developed, all of which are entering the funding system that we’re already a part of, some enhance what we do as grant makers and some don’t.

We’re experiencing challenges and questions about our legitimacy too, our value-add to society. But how did we get here? Perhaps it’s our sector's frustrating and opaque grant making practices? Perhaps it is because we’re experiencing relentless levels of change and increasing polarisation and we’re increasingly playing catch up…”.

Bull and Steinberg’s book enters the grant making ecosystem with answers to many of the frustrations currently experienced when applying for a grant. Their approach helps grant makers to do better and to do so quickly. It provides solutions to help unleash incredible progress and potential through the funds that are distributed. It discusses the rise of unrestricted grants, making applying easier, respecting the grant seekers, maximizing impact, transparency, project measurability in addition to the importance of being open and transparent.

There is a cultural change happening in the industry and our client, is one such fundraising platform contributing to the revolution. It enables over £10 million of extra funding to be distributed from funders to projects that matter most in society. A report into the benefits of match funding distributed via Crowdfunder stated that:

  • 32% of projects that took part in the study unlocked additional financial support.

  • 42% of projects had never applied for funding before. (Source: Matching the Crowd by Peter Baeck, Jonathan Boone, Sam Mitchell, Nesta, October 2017)

  • 84% of supporters were more likely to pledge because of match funding offered and almost half of supporters gave 50% more because the project received match funding.

  • 1 in 3 said they only gave to a project because of the match funding.

  • The pledge size was 2.5% higher on average after a project had received match funding. (Source: A Great Match by DR Catherine Walker, The Researchery - May 2016).

So, if you are a grant maker looking to innovate the way in which you distribute your funds and you are interested in addressing the issues in how funds are currently distributed, we recommend you:

  1. Check out this fascinating You Tube interview

  2. Consider purchasing Bull and Steinbergs new book to learn more - Modern Grant Making

  3. Contact us for a free 20 minute consultation about how can help you to distribute funds from your charitable trust or foundation in a more fair and efficient way by utilising the power of the crowd. Email us at


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