A new pilot platform on which fundraisers can anonymously share their experience of applying to trusts and foundations has now published over 100 reviews.
Taking its inspiration from consumer user review sites, GrantAdvisor started in the US as the brainchild of the Minnesota Council on Non-Profits, where it allows fundraisers to post anonymous reviews of any US based funder. It has now published more than 2,000 reviews of over 700 trusts and foundations.
While two thirds of the reviews are broadly positive, the site also exposes some of the worst funder practice, including conflicting communications, onerous application processes for small amounts, shifting timetables and reporting requirements that change mid-grant. It also shares fundraiser insights on what is required to make a successful application, from those who have done so.
The Centre for the Acceleration for Social Technology (CAST) began trialing a UK version of GrantAdvisor over the summer, and will be running the pilot until the end of this year. The pilot is currently limited to funders who have opted in, with the eventual goal to enable fundraisers to share their experience on any funding body as they can in the US.
Fifteen foundations have already opted into the pilot, including four local community foundations, large national funders such as the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, together with specialist funders such as the Joffe Charitable Trust and Jerwood Arts. Funders in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are represented. To date, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has attracted the largest number of comments.
Anyone who has sought or secured funds from any of the funders listed on the site can post a review, simply by going to the website. Fundraisers are asked to rate the funders accessibility and effectiveness, to offer one piece of advice to the funder and one piece of advice to a friend or colleague thinking of applying, and to give an overall vote on whether the experience of working with the funder was positive or negative.
To date, the feedback on funders via the UK site has been largely positive, although an informal poll on the @GrantAdvisorUK twitter feed suggests that this may not always be the case:
Our US partner site attracts around 1/3 negative and 2/3 positive reviews. So far, the UK pilot has attracted all positive reviews (though these do include criticism or suggestions on points of detail). Is this because:
— Grant Advisor UK (@Grant_AdvisorUK) October 9, 2019
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