Comic Relief weighs up offering more grants to cover charities' core costs

The charity is currently evaluating its UK grants programme

Comic Relief funds charities that meet its principles
Comic Relief funds charities that meet its principles

Comic Relief is considering offering more grants to cover charities’ core funding costs, according to Judith McNeill, its grants director.

McNeill told delegates at the Institute of Fundraising annual convention yesterday that Comic Relief, which gives grants to charities for projects that meet its "vision and principles" totalling £80m a year, was looking at its future UK grants programme.

She talked about the challenges for charities during the economic downturn and whether a "move towards core funding" would be beneficial. "Should we have fixed financial limits or should people tell us how much we need? What if we take the limits away?" she said. "Should we make more money available to core funding?"

Comic Relief raised £62m from its Sport Relief campaign this year and Red Nose Day in 2011 brought in more than £100m.

At the same session, Chris Anderson, head of grant-making south at the Lloyds TSB Foundation, said that most of its funding goes to charities’ core costs."We are grant-makers working regionally and bi-regionally," he said. "Funding largely goes to community-based organisations.

"Our focus is on lasting change for individuals or communities. When we give a grant it is informed by tangible change. Most of the funding goes towards core costs. It is a tough environment with less money so there is increased competition for grants."

The foundation carries out a survey of the small and medium-sized charities it funds and in 2011, 87 per cent said they were in most need of core-cost funding, he said. This was up from 82 per cent in 2009.

- Read more news and comment from this year's IoF National Convention

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