The Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR), in collaboration with London Funders and a small group of UK foundations and charities, has launched a campaign to encourage funders to adopt more open and trusting practices to support the VCSE sector, particularly in times of uncertainty caused by COVID-19. 

The #FlexibleFunders campaign is asking for funders to sign up and adopt the eight commitments which aim to make funding practices simpler and more flexible. 

The eight commitments are: 

  1. Don’t waste time:  Funders will explain their funding priorities clearly and will be open and transparent about all their requirements and exclusions.
  2. Ask relevant questions:  Funders will only collect information that is necessary to make funding decisions and will test their application forms rigorously to make sure questions are clear and do not overlap. 
  3. Accept risk:  Funders will be realistic about how much assurance applicants can reasonably give and they will clearly explain how they assess risk when they make their funding decisions. 
  4. Act with urgency:  Funders will seek to work at a pace that meets the needs of applicants and they will publish and stick to their timetables, making decisions as quickly as possible. 
  5. Be open:  Funders will give feedback and will analyse and publish success rates and reasons for rejection. Funders will also share their data. 
  6. Enable flexibility:  Funders will enable grantees to respond flexibly to changing priorities and needs. This includes giving unrestricted funding or making funding as flexible as possible. 
  7. Communicate with purpose:  Funders will be realistic about time commitments and will ensure that their contact is positive and purposeful. 
  8. Be proportionate:  Funders will ensure that their formal reporting requirements are well understood, proportionate and meaningful. 

GRANTfinder’s annual survey of funders for 2020 found that complex funding guidelines and misunderstanding eligibility criteria were hindering organisations from receiving critical funding. 

Funders who sign up to the eight commitments will join a community of practice with other funders and with VCSE organisations to help everyone adapt and improve. 

Funders can sign up to the campaign here. 

17.02.21