Measuring the impact of Funding Central

Olof Williamson was a Senior Consultant at NCVO, looking at the latest thinking on funding, finance and public services. Olof has left NCVO and his posts have been retained for here for reference.

I’m going to explain a little about how we have measured and presented the impact of Funding Central.

Funding Central is an online service which provides people with free access to a huge database of funding opportunities, whether grants, contracts or loans. Right from the start it has been designed around the target audience: voluntary organisations and wider civil society (including social enterprises).

What we were measuring

  • How it has helped people and organisations access funding and finance
  • How it has helped smooth access to funding opportunities and save organisations time
  • What types of organisations are using it and where they are based

How we got the data

  • Information about visits to the site and registrations
  • A user survey in Dec-Jan with around 3,000 responses
  • Short interviews with people who have used the site

How we analysed it

  • Working out the percentages and averages
  • Producing charts and tables
  • Comparing to our other sources of data such as the Civil Society Almanac

What we got at the other end

And here, with some nice graphics to make it more eye-catching, it is our resulting impact infographic:

fc_infog_1_copy

“Funding Central users secured an average of £35,068 per organisation (of those successfully bidding for funding).”

“Funding Central survey respondents reported that they have secured over £12m that they found on the site. (Based on the rates of funding success among our users since 2010, we estimate that Funding Central has helped organisations find £175m in total).”

“Funding Central users saved an average of 1 3/4 hours per week. 65% of users said they saved time. Across all our survey respondents that is 130,000 working hours in the year.”

What was interesting here was that lots of people told us they didn’t save time because they found more suitable opportunities to apply for compared to if they didn’t use Funding Central.

fc_infog_2_copy

“63% of respondents bid for opportunities they found on Funding Central. 15% were successful in securing that funding.”

“15% applied and were successful; 29% applied but were not sure/waiting to hear back; 19% applied and were unsuccessful; 37% didn’t apply for anything.”

“What people told us is the best thing about Funding Central. Most frequently mentioned by our survey respondents: easy, use, newsletter, opportunities, date, one, regular, deadlines, search, updates, available, ease, free.”

“89% of users would recommend Funding Central.”

I’m really pleased that people used such positive words to describe Funding Central. This reflects the hard work that went into designing the site and newsletter around the end-users, and the way we’ve responded to feedback to develop and improve the site over time.

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“Funding Central has 43,000 registered users (now updated to 47,000) and is growing by over 1,000 people every month.”

“The main types of organisation using Funding Central:

  • 6% Public Sector
  • 7% Private Sector
  • 14% Wider Civil Society
  • 73% Registered Charities”

We’re really pleased that there is such a range of organisations using the service, and that we have increased the proportion of new users from smaller organisations, and wider civil society such as community groups, social enterprises etc.

fc_infog_4_copy

“Funding Central users are based across all England’s Regions:

  • North East 6%
  • North West 14%
  • Yorkshire and Humber 9%
  • West Midlands 9%
  • East Midlands 8%
  • East of England 8%
  • South West 10%
  • South East 13%
  • London 19%
  • England-wide or several regions 2%
  • Based outside of England 2%”

You can see that we have a good spread across the country. We have tried to make sure we get the word out around England through our Funding Central Champions, our online networks and via local infrastructure organisations. London is the most well-represented region, but this probably just reflects the number of organisations with headquarters there.

Find out more

There is a printable version of these graphics here (opens PDF).

Check out the @fundingcentral Twitter feed, NCVO facebook page and www.fundingcentral.org.uk.

If you want to find out more detail about Funding Central’s impact, email me via sfp@ncvo-vol.org.uk.

 

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