28 Sep 2022
28 Sep 2022
30 Mar 2022
Over recent weeks we’ve discussed the cost of living crisis with funders in our networks. The conversation has often come back to how funders can best offer support and reassurance to grantees who are grappling with increased costs and demand, the scale of which few anticipated.
As the costs of living continue to skyrocket for the capital’s communities, and the cost of delivering work rises for civil society groups, providing flexibility and trust to those who are at the centre of this storm will be critical.
During the covid-19 pandemic, over 400 funders signed up to our ‘We Stand with the Sector’ statement. Grant funders committed to: adapt activities - acknowledging that agreed outcomes may not be achieved in the timeframes originally set; discuss dates - adjusting deadlines and timescale; flexibility – particularly around how money might be used differently; and listening – encouraging frank conversations between funders and grantees, with funders being supportive of their needs.
In conversations about the current crisis, some funders have asked how we renew the sentiment of this statement. We’ve heard about the importance of offering grantees the space and security of having open conversations about the new financial position many find themselves in, as well as other pressures created by the cost of living crisis including staff burnout, recruitment challenges, and changing demand from beneficiaries.
The changes we saw in the pandemic, however, are ones that are not just required for times of crisis. This is why, building on “We Stand with the Sector”, we’ve been actively supporting the Open and Trusting Grantmakers campaign coordinated by IVAR, encouraging our members to sign up to the eight commitments about how they will fund charities in an open and trusting way. As part of our Cost of Living Week, we were joined today by IVAR who shared the findings from their recent survey of 1,200 charities on what they think is needed to improve the experience of applying for, and managing, grants.
"Charities told us, loud and clear, that being funded in an open and trusting way leads to stronger organisations which are responsive to community and individual needs, and have a motivated team that is planning for the future. It leads to people feeling respected, valued and able to focus on the difference they’re trying to make. This is more important than ever, in the current context. What does this mean in practice, for funders? It’s about getting the basics right: offer unrestricted funding, be flexible, and tell charities about your own plans so that they can think further ahead"
- Emily Dyson, Acting Director, IVAR
London Funders recently conducted a survey of our members to understand how they were responding to the cost of living challenges and supporting grantees to mitigate the risks to their delivery and sustainability. As we will talk about more in Monday’s Cost of Living Week session, two thirds of respondents said they are proactively reaching out to grantees to encourage conversations about what additional support might be needed; and over half have offered more flexibility about the delivery and outcomes of current grants. Building on this type of practice will be crucial as we head to the winter months, and we will continue to share ideas across our networks about how we can best do this.
We saw the power of funders standing with the sector during the pandemic, and we’re already seeing the strength that comes from being an open and trusting grantmaker for the challenges we face together with civil society and our communities. We know that sustaining these positive practices is what’s needed for the long term.