Scores of grant-makers pledge to be more open and trusting

A group of 50 funders have signed a pledge saying they will be “open and trusting” in their grant-making as part of a new campaign aimed at encouraging more flexible funding practices. 

The #FlexibleFunders campaign, which has been launched today by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (Ivar) with London Funders and a small group of UK foundations and charities, calls for funders to make standard the simpler practices introduced to help organisations through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The campaign asks funders to make grants in a way that reflects the realities facing voluntary sector organisations now and for the foreseeable future, and manage grants “in a way that reflects their confidence in and respect for the organisations they fund”.

Grant-makers are being asked to support eight principles, including asking relevant questions, accepting risk, acting with urgency, being open and having proportionate reporting requirements. 

Ivar said the pledge had been developed following a statement promising greater flexibility, which was backed by more than 400 funders as the pandemic started to bite last year. 

Eliza Buckley, head of research at Ivar, said: “When people say it took a pandemic for the value of unrestricted income and light-touch reporting to be felt by trusts and foundations, it brings home how hard it is to achieve deep and meaningful change. 

“Together, we seek to translate the words trust, speed and light touch into visible, practical and durable changes to behaviour and practice. To turn things upside down, so the burden falls on funders to ensure that their systems and their processes are truly simple, respectful and inclusive.”

Funders to have signed the pledge include the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Pears Foundation. 

For more information on the pledge principles and a full list of the organisations that have signed up, click here

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