It is pretty galling to make an application to a grant-making trust and never to hear back from them. No acknowledgement, no “thank you but we can’t help”, or even a “maybe next year.” As most trust fundraisers know, this is part of the job. Responses are only generated from a few per cent of trusts applied to.
Research from the Association of Charitable Foundations has now put this phenomenon in some perspective. ACF found that only 300 out of 8,800 grant-making trusts had paid staff. It is not surprising then that few trusts have the capacity to respond to all applications. Even those with paid staff are often unable to reply to all letters, even appropriate and well-targeted appeals.