Average charity would trade restricted grant of £1m for unrestricted £460,000, says report

The finding comes from research by nfpSynergy, which surveyed almost 300 fundraisers

The average charity would be willing to trade a restricted grant of £1m for an unrestricted grant of £460,000, according to research published today.

The research consultancy nfpSynergy quizzed almost 300 fundraisers who seek money from grant-makers on their views about grant-makers and applying for grants.

The results show how highly they value grants that can be spent freely.

Asked how much they would trade a £1m, £100,000 and £10,000 restricted grant for, the average responses were £460,000, £55,000 and £7,000.

Charities are willing to trade down notably more than they were six years ago. When asked in 2012 how much in unrestricted grants they would accept in return for restricted grants of £1m and £100,000 grants, the answers were £630,000 and £70,000 respectively.

"This increase in trading down by 15 to 17 percentage points would suggest that a tighter funding climate has made unrestricted funding even more precious," said Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy.

More unrestricted funds and better feedback on applications were the two changes charities said they would most like to see.

Researchers found that 98 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement "I would like grant-makers to give better feedback on applications", and 94 per cent agreed with "I would like grant-makers to provide more funds that were unrestricted or grants for core costs".

The survey also discovered that being asked to duplicate information already on the Charity Commission website, such as financial details, was the number-one issue charities would like grant-makers to address.

The Big Lottery Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation scored highly as model grant-makers. The BLF rated number one for providing information, requiring the right level of monitoring, understanding an organisation and having the best relationships with applicants or grantees.

The Garfield Weston Foundation ranked highest for having the best application process and responding to needs.

The survey took place in October and November 2017.

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