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Grant-makers are less likely to fund new applicants, survey finds

Tom Traynor of the Directory of Social Change says many trusts are not in a position to consider new applicants because of a decline in income

Tom Traynor
Tom Traynor

Nearly a third of grant-making trusts and foundations give less than 10 per cent of their awards to new applicants, a survey has found.

The research was carried out by the Directory of Social Change for this year’s edition of the Directory of Grant Making Trusts, which is published today.

It surveyed 2,500 trusts and foundations, ranging from those giving less than £50,000 to those giving more than £1m a year. They were asked to say, in bands of 10 per cent, what proportion of their grants went to first-time applicants.

Of the 567 that responded to this question, 28 per cent were in the band of less than 10 per cent. A total of 60 per cent fell into the three bands below 30 per cent.  

Among trusts giving £100,000 or less per year, less than 10 per cent of grants were given to new applicants, the survey found. Trusts giving more than £1m per year were most likely to award between 30 and 40 per cent of grants to new applicants.

Tom Traynor, research project manager at the DSC, said: "It is not very encouraging for people applying to an organisation that they’ve never had a grant from before. Many trusts have said that because of a decline in income they are not in a position to consider new organisations."

The harsh economic climate has made trusts and foundations less likely to take risks on new applicants, he said: "Many trusts have said that because they are receiving more applications, they have to put measures in place to be strict and more rigorous in determining how to spend the same amount of money or less.

"Introducing new criteria makes it harder to get a grant. If organisations have received a grant before, you would expect them to have been through some rigorous checks and balances."

The survey is based on trusts’ activities during 2010/11, but Traynor said he doubted the situation had changed.

It also found that 56 per cent of the trusts that responded had received about the same number of applications as in the previous year. Thirty four per cent said they had received more.

Traynor said: "This was quite surprising because the perception is that trusts and foundations are being inundated, but not all of them are.

"We have certainly heard of organisations that have received far more applications than they have in previous years. To counter that some have even said they’ve had to stop accepting new applications because they cannot handle the volume."

There was no correlation between the size of the trust and an increase in the number of applications received during the year, the survey found.

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