Our grant making in 2021-2022

We understand that the way you work will almost certainly have changed in response to the Coronavirus crisis. But we haven’t changed the way we fund: we are still making longer-term grants and trying to fund in a way which is supportive and flexible. We’ve taken this approach throughout the pandemic. Our trustees felt it was important to maintain a horizon beyond the immediate emergency response, to provide some level of consistency and reassurance to groups at a time of great uncertainty.

We will continue to make grants by building a relationship and developing a conversation with those applicants who progress to the second stage of our application process. We don’t ask for detailed financial information in a first stage application, and when we ask you for financial information at the second stage it will be to help us get a sense of where you are as an organisation, what your challenges are and how we can help.

We know how hard it is to ‘plan’ in any detail at the moment, so if we make a grant we anticipate that your use of our funding may change over time, in response to changing needs and priorities. Ultimately we trust that the organisations we support hold the interests of the people they work with at the heart of their decision making. We know that you will do what you think is best in the face of changing circumstances.

What about reserve levels?

Recently we’ve been asked to give more guidance on unrestricted reserves. We have always been pretty flexible in our approach to reserve levels, looking at applications on a case by case basis. This is our current position:

  • We won’t discount applications from groups with ‘low reserves’. If your reserves position looks particularly challenging it would be worth giving us an insight into your current financial position. You can do this in the introductory letter we ask for as part of your application.
  • We don’t have a standard definition of ‘high reserves’. Many groups we consider for funding hold unrestricted reserves equivalent to around six to nine months expenditure. If you are holding reserves above this level we suggest that you use the introductory letter to explain the situation, to help us understand your financial position. It is increasingly unusual for us to make a grant to an organisation holding more than 12 months expenditure in free reserves: this is because one of the factors we take into account when assessing applications is the degree to which an organisation needs our immediate support.