Sustainable funding round-up: November 2017


Five lessons on grant-making in the UK

Building on the NCVO Civil Society Almanac published earlier this year, NCVO’s senior data scientist, Claire Benard, has delved deeper into some of our data on grant-making. Among the trends highlighted is how a third of the money given out by voluntary sector grant makers goes to organisations with an income greater than £100m, while eighty-five percent of central government grants are given out to charities with an income over £1m.

Autumn Budget

With the Autumn Budget less than one-month away, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has described the chancellor Philip Hammond as being stuck ‘between a rock and a hard place’ as he faces pressure to spend more, while economic indicators – such as low productivity growth – limit his options for giveaways.

We recently wrote to the chancellor ahead of the Budget with two proposals (PDF 342KB) that will enable charities and volunteers to help vulnerable people find work, and strengthen local grantmaking.

I’ll be providing analysis on what the Budget means for charities on the day. You can also follow me on Twitter for key updates on the run-up to 22 November.

Data protection

Radio 4’s Selling Barbara documentary investigates charity fundraising practices by following 90-year-old Barbara Smith as she looks into the sector’s swapping and sharing of her data. The programme, which includes interviews a number of people from the sector, investigates which charities have traded in her personal details and why they did it.

The Fundraising Regulator has launched a new consultation on proposed changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice regarding data protection.

The consultation aims to update the code to:

  • mirror the upcoming GDPR legislation
  • address the issues identified in the penalty notices levied by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the last two years
  • ensure that rules on data protection are more accessible by improving signposting to existing ICO and Fundraising Regulator guidance.

The consultation will run until Friday 8 December. More information on the proposed changes and how to respond are on the Fundraising Regulator’s website.

NCVO recently ran a webinar that provided an overview of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what it might mean for charities, which can be viewed on YouTube.

Fundraising Regulator complaints report published

The Fundraising Regulator published its first fundraising complaints report earlier this week which shows that 42,782 complaints were made to charities in the last financial year, down by over 20,000 from the previous year. ‘Direct marketing accounted for over 16,000 of the total complaints, although this is out of more than 300 million pieces of direct mail reported to have been sent by charities.

Tech for Good 2018

Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation are accepting applications to the Tech for Good 2018 which helps charities develop their digital products or services. To access more information and news on the latest funds from around the sector visit NCVO’s Funding Central.

Stand out from the crowd for funding success

Toby Lovatt from Funding Central has written a blog post with some pointers for organisations wanting to stand out from the crowd when seeking funding opportunities.

Social investment – is it right for your organisation?

Social investment is the use of repayable finance to help an organisation achieve a social purpose. Good Finance UK’s quick profiler tool can help charities assess whether social investment is right for them, while the website provides various other resources to help charities and social enterprises navigate the world of social investment.

Using evaluation findings for communicating with funders

Sally Cupitt, head of NCVO Charities Evaluation Services has written a blog on using evaluation findings for communicating with funders which highlights the importance of tailoring your reporting to the requirements of funders (rather than rely on a one-size-fits-all approach) and learning from evaluation recommendations.

Bright Ideas Fund

The final round of the Community Business Bright Ideas Fund will opened for applications on 1 November on The fund offers grants and support to new community business ideas across England. You can read more about the eligibility criteria, the key dates and how to apply in the updated guidance notes.

Fraud in charities

The BBC has reported that a third of charity fraud cases in England and Wales are suspected to involve staff, trustees or volunteers, and divert money away from the frontline.

As part of Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2017, the Charity Commission is trying to find out more about insider fraud in charities. They want to hear from charities about their experiences of dealing with insider fraud to help identify common themes, highlight good practice, and improve their guidance.  If you think you can help, complete the relevant survey by Friday 8 December 2017:

To help combat fraudulent behaviour, the Charity Finance Group is calling for all charities to pledge to tackle fraud which is estimated to cost the charity sector £1.9bn a year.

Training and events

Go to the training and events section of our website to see all our upcoming events. Highlights include:

You can always email us about training or consultancy support.

If you have anything you think we should include in next month’s round-up, please do drop me a line.




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Paul joined NCVO over seven years ago after working for a leading public affairs agency. Since then he’s led our policy work on a variety of issues, including welfare-to-work reforms, volunteering, the Compact, public service commissioning and procurement regulations. He now leads our work on funding and finance with a particular focus on charity tax relief and safeguarding EU funding post-Brexit.

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