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Grant funders are always looking to maximise the impact of their donations
Grant funders are always looking to maximise the impact of their donations

Blog post -

Funding demand always outstrips supply but there's ways to ensure a positive impact

Specialist Advisor for Funding, Mel Antao, looks at what funders should consider when opening or reopening funding pots and how analysis of their own grant allocations should shape their future priorities.

No-one knows what the long-term outcomes of this pandemic will be but, as we are already experiencing, like an earthquake, the aftershocks still keep coming.

When I began thinking about this blog, back at the end of December, it was with one eye on the New Year horizon of recovery.

There was hushed anticipation that, from a funding perspective, the physical activity and sport sector would slowly start to reopen and funders would un-pause grants and/or revise their funding priorities.

Unfortunately that optimism hasn't materialised yet but the pandemic did give funders an opportunity to reflect on the why, the who and the how of their existing grant funding programmes.

Back in April and May, I wrote about how funders were quick to respond to the needs of the civil society sector (which includes physical activity and sport) and the huge demand for grants. 

And demand continues to outweigh the supply of funding that is available.

For example, the London Community Response Fund, a collaboration of more than 67 funders, received more than £147m in application requests (March to December 2020), but was only able to fund £46m.

So how does a grant funder make the most of their resources? 

Here's a couple of thoughts for consideration.

Funders may wish to create a map of existing grants against population, other data - like Sport England’s Active Lives data for physical activity and sport - and analysis of previous grant distribution.

Here at London Sport we did a very similar mapping exercise for the Greater London Authority before decisions were made ahead of their second round of Active Londoners Fund grants.

Organisation may wish to collaborate with other funders that run similar funding schemes to them so that they complement each other and have a single application point.

London Sport were delighted to consider some Stronger Communities Fund applications that had a disability focus which the original funder was not able to fund.

Longer term continuation funding can also be vital so that organisations aren’t spending key delivery time on constantly making grant applications and can get on with what their best at.

This may mean transforming funder/grantee relationships from transactional to relational to develop trust between the funder and grant recipient.

Additionally, funders may wish to move the goal posts to benefit present and future grantees to address groups that have traditionally missed out. 

And it will always be useful to involve previous grant recipients or those with lived experience in the panel decision process to keep things in perspective. 

If you'd like further information on grant funding distribution trends or advice on reporting and strategic direction against a target ahead of a future funding, contact us here or email me directly.

For an up-to-date list of covid-19 funds available to physical activity and sport organisationsclick here.

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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

About London Sport

London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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