Call for UK foundations to adapt and meet needs of smaller organisations


Alliance magazine


The Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) released a new report called Duty to Care? How to ensure grant-making helps and doesn’t hinder, exploring the practice of grant-making, especially as it affects small and medium-sized organisations. IVAR suggests that foundations should adapt to fit the needs of smaller voluntary organisations, providing thoughtful analysis and suggestions for improvement in the new report.

IVAR identifies that Duty to Care? ‘makes the case for adaptation and innovation across foundations’ grant-making practices in response to the circumstances and needs of small-medium voluntary organisations. We look at examples of foundation practice from applications through to reporting and propose actions and questions that other funders in the field might consider.’

This report was released as a response to the 2012 IVAR publication, Duty of Care: The role of trusts and foundations in supporting voluntary organisations through difficult times. As a continuation, ‘This new research shows that while their operating environment remains complex, organisations and funders alike are adapting, innovating and reforming their relationship. The motivation for those changes comes from a sense of solidarity with those on the frontline and, among grant makers, a desire to reduce the impact of their own processes on the organisations they wish to support. However, not all funders have yet adapted, which is why our title is a challenge and our conclusion is a call to action: do not unwittingly get in the way.’

The material from Duty to Care? comes from three sources: a survey including 25 small and medium organisations that were also featured in Duty of Care, contributions from two other IVAR reports (The value of small and The possible not the perfect) which looked at 20 small and medium voluntary organisations in the UK, as well as case studies of six trusts and foundations that can be considered ‘risk-takers’ regarding their approaches.

For more information, view the full report.

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