Funders 'ask for more solid evidence from applicants'

Charitable organisations are being put through 'very thorough' due diligence before receiving funding approval

Young people's charity Fairbridge
Young people's charity Fairbridge

Funders are becoming more rigorous in scrutinising the evidence provided by charities in funding applications, key sector voices have warned.

This is the view of organisations canvassed by Third Sector after a speech by Alan Wyatt, director of operations at young people's charity Fairbridge.

He said the venture philanthropy fund the Private Equity Foundation recently put the charity through a "very thorough" due diligence process before deciding to provide funding.

"They spent a long time looking through our database and systems," he said. "They wanted to validate the outcomes we were claiming to achieve."

He said that once the charity had provided the evidence to the funder, the funding was not linked to achieving a specific set of outcomes, but focused more on building its frontline capacity.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said his organisation put great importance on charities providing evidence about the issues they were seeking to address and the outcomes of the work they did. "This is becoming increasingly important when having to make evermore difficult decisions about which charities to support," he said.

Wanless said providing this evidence could be harder for charities that were trying to address new challenges. "But we would still need clear evidence of the need and a demonstration of how their approach to it would work," he added.

Tris Lumley, head of strategy at New Philanthropy Capital, said charities without a solid evidence base for their outcomes were at a "very high" risk of missing out on funding. He said smaller charities should not worry about research costs - as long as they asked themselves the right questions, it was something "everyone can do".

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