Funders in London can fund more effectively when they have a good understanding of funding needs and what is currently available within the sector.
We work to support funders in gathering this information. A regular feature of our e-bulletin is ‘Funder News’, which provides a digest of what is happening across the range of sectors in which our members operate. It includes a broad sweep of new research, events and other resources. We are also working to further develop our website to provide a data hub for funders to access - highlighting needs and issues across London to enable funders to fill the gaps and avoid duplication. This work leads on from the conclusions of the report ‘The Way Ahead’, which identified shared understanding of need as a key priority for strengthening support for London’s civil society.
More directly, we also convene sessions to enable issues to be brought to the attention of members. For example, we supported Joseph Rowntree Foundation to share its findings on destitution among migrant communities with our members. JRF had identified a powerful model operating in Birmingham, where homeless migrants were helped to find pathways out of extreme poverty through good advice and representation. They found that a number of organisations were working on this issue, but only in small pockets, and it was not meeting the high level of need. As part of a programme to build capacity for this type of work, which crossed over between the housing and migration sectors, they sought to leverage in other funders to encourage support. Heather Petch, who leads the programme as a consultant for JRF, spoke to funders individually, and to membership organisations like London Funders and the Association of Charitable Foundations. “London Funders really sprung into action and looked at ways to support us”, she said. “They organised a joint meeting with ACF’s issue-based network and London Funders’ network to focus on the issue, where we had a round table discussion with key London funders and organisations in that space to explore the issues.” A note of this meeting was circulated, providing an important ‘pulling together’ of what the needs are and how others have responded.
“We also developed a strategic alliance with key organisations within the migrant support and homelessness sectors,” said Heather. “This was promoted through seven regional events - the London one with London Funders support.”