Scope for more place-based giving schemes, says report

A study commissioned by the Office for Civil Society reports that government spending cuts and strong attachment to places have made some people keen to work together on local projects

The report
The report

Economic hardship and a growing sense of local identity are fuelling demand for more place-based giving, according to a government-commissioned report published today.

The Office for Civil Society hired The Researchery, a voluntary sector consultancy, to discover how popular place-based giving is in England and whether it would be possible or desirable to expand it.

Place-Based Giving Schemes: Funding, Engaging and Creating Stronger Communities says there is "huge scope" for more schemes in which organisations from all sectors collaborate to find new sources of philanthropic money for a defined geographical area.

The report identified 21 place-based giving schemes in London boroughs, 43 community foundations and hundreds of other initiatives, including 69 giving circles and 26 healthy cities projects.

Thirteen case studies are highlighted in the document.

The report says government spending cuts and a strong attachment to places had left people eager to work together on local projects.

"There is huge scope for more involvement," it says.

It suggests the renewed interest in the historically philanthropic role of mayors could be used to encourage collaboration between funders.

The challenges identified include seed funding, avoiding competition with already established local charities and trying to involve the public and private sectors at a difficult time financially.

"While place-based charitable initiatives are not a new concept, a renaissance of thinking around place-based giving clearly has potential benefits for all," the report says.

The government's Civil Society Strategy, published last month, pledged £750,000 for developing place-based giving schemes before 2020.

Report author Dr Catherine Walker, founder of The Researchery, told Third Sector that ideally its research would have been published before the £750,000 was announced, but government officials were kept up to date with the research, which began early this year.

Walker added that it was "a real eye-opener to see the number and variety of place-based schemes happening all over the country" and she was "thrilled" the government had committed to new funding.

Rhodri Davies, head of policy at the Charities Aid Foundation, who provided policy insight for the report, said: "The obvious enthusiasm for the idea of a renewed culture of civic philanthropy is great to see.

"And the introduction of new forms of local political power such as directly elected mayors offers real opportunities to move this agenda forward.

"If we can use new place-based models and approaches to harness more giving, it could play a huge role in reinvigorating towns and cities around the UK."

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