Campaign for unrestricted funding needs to be ‘more sophisticated’, says charity expert

21 Jun 2019 News

Caroline Fiennes, director of Giving Evidence

Caroline Fiennes, director of the consultancy firm Giving Evidence, has said that the charity sector’s campaigning strategy for unrestricted funding should change to be more effective.

Writing in Charity Finance magazine, Fiennes said the sector’s campaign should be more evidence-based than it currently is.

She said most reports about restricted funding that she had seen appear to suggest that “if donors only knew that grantees disliked it […] they would not do it”.

She said: “If we are really to reduce the harmful practice of restricted funding, we need to be more sophisticated than simply producing reports about not doing it. Reducing restricted funding involves an exercise in behaviour change, and we should treat it as such.

“First, we need to understand precisely where the problem is if we are to pick the battles within it that we are most likely to win. For example, in which types of funders is restricted funding most prevalent?

“Second, we need to understand what benefits donors perceive it brings them, and what could offset those benefits.

“Third, we need to know why it happens: where do donors even get the notion from, and what encourages that behaviour? And fourth, what messages, communications channels and influencers are most likely to change the behaviour?”

Subscribers to Charity Finance can read Caroline Fiennes’ full article here.

Civil Society Media's Charity Finance Week takes place in October and this year the theme is Accounts and Accountability. Find out more about the events taking place. 



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