At the end of 2018, we had requests from a few grant markers asking us to spread the word about their grants for grant seekers.
We knew that this request was quite rare, as most grantmakers don’t wish to market their grants anymore they do now (or they wish not to market them at all).
We’ve since dug a little deeper and unfortunately, we discovered that much more often than not grantmakers don’t wish to promote their grant programmes other than listing them on their websites. This is because they already receive an incredibly high number of applications, some of which don’t meet their criteria or are incorrectly filled out.
As our aim is to connect charities, individuals and companies more effectively, we became interested in how we could help grant seekers and makers match better.
At this development stage of our platform, we can match grant seekers and makers by using blogs and other content. We communicate with over 35,000 individuals, companies and charities on a weekly basis, so our reach is far and we wish to use that to better serve all parties.
whatCharity grant survey – 532 respondents
We conducted a survey in October 2018 related to grant seeking and giving, which saw 523 charities take part of all sizes and type.
If you are a grant seeker, you might find the challenges listed by your peer charities very familiar:
- 50% of charities use Google to find new grants
- 50% of charities always apply to the same grants, as it is difficult to find new ones
- 51% find it too time-consuming to obtain grant information
- 45% find it difficult to determine whether the grant is suitable for them (e.g. guidelines are too vague or there is too much jargon)
- 55% would prefer automatically pre-completed charity details and financials in the application process in order to save time
- 42% would prefer standardised social impact reporting tools
There were also some grantmakers and charities who operate in dual roles taking part in our survey.
The ‘wish list’ responses were not very high. Most of the grantmakers did not wish to improve their reach, get more applications or promote themselves or their grants more than they do now. Some even admitted to withholding from even mentioning their current grants on their websites as they do not wish to get more applications. However:
- 30% would like to have new or more charities apply for grants
- 25% of grantmakers wish for higher quality and more carefully prepared applications
- 15% would like to have more beneficiary and supporter testimonials to validate the work of the charities
Hundreds of grantmakers don’t respond to information requests
It is clear then that there is a huge imbalance between the need for grant seekers to obtain information on relevant grants and the willingness of grantmakers to make this happen.
As the seekers really need easy access to current grants data, we have decided to do some digging for them.
We asked hundreds of grantmakers to submit the key points of one of their open grant programmes and we approach over 100 big grant companies with personal emails. This information would have taken them just 5 minutes to put together and return and has the potential to reach thousands of new charities.
We didn’t receive any positive responses from grantmakers providing the information to be included within our blog posts (for free!). Instead, the only replies we received were stating they do not need this kind of service and do not wish to promote.
It appears that most of the funders usually fund the same charities and existing projects, rather than different charities and alternative operators. In reality, there’s no harm in that but, when it comes to equal opportunity and harnessing innovation for the benefit of society it might not quite serve that purpose.
Should charities form a cartel?
A recent opinion piece in Third Sector Magazine by Toby Gill discussed this subject and offered some controversial advice. He is an associate within a forward-thinking fund and suggested that charities go on strike. He suggested charities form a sort of cartel, in order to ‘reset the power play’ between seekers and makers.
At whatCharity, we don’t agree or disagree with Gill’s suggestions, but we do welcome any ideas in the name of increased transparency, democracy and efficiency within the charity sector. Those are the values we are here for and open discussion is always welcome.
We believe that simplifying communication and being accessible as well as utilising data and opportunities that digitalisation enables are the answers to various challenges that exist within the charity sector.
So, whilst we didn’t get any answers from grantmakers to our email, instead, we did some digging. We chose to collect data from grantmakers who have a strong ethos and wish to support new initiatives and we’re presenting this in our latest blog post. We hope this grant news helps our profile holders and those who are considering having one to find new grants to apply to.
Lastly, one tip for the grant seekers. Put your best effort in when submitting your application and apply to only those ones you know are for you. Show those grantmakers what an impressive project you have.
I hope our listing format is helpful in that it gives you the information you need in a quick and easy to digest way. It took us a couple of days to put all this information together. And, there’s more to come in one month’s time!