The Directory of Social Change claims that “over one-third of applications to UK charitable grantmakers in the last year were ineligible”, according to its survey of 2,500 grantmaking trusts and foundations. As a result, it believes that many charities are wasting time and money with poorly targeted funding bids.
The survey found that more than 361,000 out of nearly one million applications were rejected because they did not meet the funder’s stated criteria.
DSC estimated that, if each application took 10 minutes to write – “a very conservative estimate” as the charity points out – this would mean “nearly 7 years of wasted effort every year”. It added that, if each application were posted first class, this would amount to around £141,000 in wasted postage stamps.
DSC’s Director of Policy and Research Ben Wittenberg said: “This research is part of our Great Giving campaign to improve relationships between charities and their funders. We wanted to get a sense of the scale of the problem, in order to start some discussion and debate about causes and potential solutions.”
He acknowledged that fundraisers were not always at fault. “We know”, he said, “that a main cause of poorly targeted applications is that too often funders aren’t clear about what they want to fund and how their application process works – leaving it up to the prospective applicant to guess.”
Yet there were still many applications, according to funders, “which don’t show any knowledge of the guidelines or criteria which are available”.
DSC recommends that fundraisers carefully research who they apply to and read any guidelines thoroughly, and also make contact with the funder if they can to ask for advice prior to submitting an application.
Photo: Kapungo on Flickr.com
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