New project aims to reduce charities' grant application costs

04 Nov 2021 News

Giving Evidence has started a new project looking at ways to reduce the money that charities and non-profit organisations spend on funding applications. 

The research consultancy’s new undertaking aims to uncover how funders’ application processes can be streamlined to impose less cost on its applicants. 

The project is being funded by the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, which is a supported by Pro Bono Economics, as part of its work to “unleash the full potential of civil society”. 

‘Costs exceed the amount being given’ 

Giving Evidence said: “Application processes are created by funders. Some of the costs are borne by them (eg their staff time reading the forms) but other costs fall on non-profits: they are ‘externalised’ by the funders, and so are invisible to the funders, and rarely actively managed by them.

“In a bad case, it can happen that a funders’ process creates so much work for other organisations that its costs exceed the amount being given – without the funder even realising.”

The project's plan of action

To combat these issues, Giving Evidence has said that its new project will aim to: 

  • Understand what the current behaviours in funding costs are and why they arise – through interviewing foundations and CSOs to investigate how operational charities decide whether it is worth applying to a particular funder.
  • Discuss possible fixes with foundations and experts alike. An example of a potential "fix" is the #Fixtheform campaign which encourages charity's to increase the transparency of their grant applications. 
  • Create an economic model which identifies the scale of savings potential fixes might incur. 

Giving Evidence hopes its study will bring additional insight into the costs of applying for funding in the charity sector. The consultancy welcomes those who have worked on similar projects before to get in touch at [email protected].

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