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Don’t ‘waste’ money on grants consultants, small charities told

Don’t ‘waste’ money on grants consultants, small charities told

Small charities should not “waste scarce resources” on hiring professional fundraisers to write their grant applications, a CEO of a leading foundation has said.

Speaking at NCVO’s annual EVOLVE conference on Monday, Paul Streets, chief executive of the Lloyd’s Bank Foundation, said he could “see through” applications written by freelance trust fundraisers.

“We do not want to hear from professional fundraisers; we will see through them and won’t give them money,” Streets told delegates at a session exploring the latest Managing in a Downturn report produced by PwC, Institute of Fundraising and Charity Finance Group.

He continued: “We want to hear passion from someone who delivers the service. For the small organisations we work with, the best way we can connect with them is by working with someone close to their work and that’s not a professional fundraiser. Don’t bring in a professional consultant to sell your business.”

Although he said professional fundraisers at large and medium-sized charities – such as those at Diabetes UK, where he was CEO between 1998 and 2003 – do a good job, he added: “For small charities using scarce resources, bringing in independent consultants is a waste of their money and we don’t want to talk to them.”

Richard Davidson, a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition, told UK Fundraising:

“Some small charities rely on freelance consultants to help with writing funding bids. They can help channel the passion and allow the staff and volunteers of the small charities to focus on helping beneficiaries.”

Lloyds Bank Foundation “invests in charities supporting people to break out of disadvantage at critical points in their lives” through two programmes. One of these provides charity grants of up to £25,000 a year for two or three years, including funding to meet core costs.


Photo: waste bin by Indigolotos on


Ian MacQuillin is the founder and director of Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University's Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy. He has worked in fundraising since 2001 as editor of Professional Fundraising (2001-2006), account director at TurnerPR (2006-2009) and head of communications at the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (2009-2013).

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