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  • Writer's pictureCharity Chat Podcast

E148 - Grant Seekers And Grant Makers With Alex Blake

If you write a proposal in your authentic voice and then you send the same thing to every funder out there, you’re going to be less successful than if you do write each time for the specific needs and interests of each funder. You’re not changing the need of your community or how you’re going to address that need but you’re couching it in terms that ensures that the funder can understand how that resonates with the way that they’ve articulated what they want to fund. .

In this episode we speak with Alex Blake about grant makers and grant seekers, the progress that is being made to bring them together in order to deliver more efficiently and effectively for social change, and also how the pandemic is influencing how these two groups are working together.

This episode will be of particular interest to listeners who work in fundraising, or work for trusts or foundations, and are already immersed in the grant making world, but there are also some universal lessons here for everyone, around working collaboratively and clear communication.

For many of us, working, volunteering or funding the charity sector’s vital work, we will be well aware of the challenges of resource, or lack there of.

As Alex said, this is on both sides of the grant making relationship, with charities aiming to make the most of their resource through tailoring of mass producing funding applications. And for grant givers, a similar position of a small team to manage the increasing volume of applications. In both cases the clarity of the mission, vision and criteria of the organisation, the project it is seeking to fund and the beneficiaries it is seeking to help, is key in measuring expectations and focusing the resource on both sides efficiently.

It strikes me that in an ideal world, or at least one step down from an ideal world, where charities and grant givers are still needed, the optimum scenario would be for grant seekers and grant givers to have a very effective way of saying what they want to do and how they want to do it, and for each party to find their match or matches as efficiently as possible.

In some cases it is possible to get to know each other a little bit before making your ask, but in most cases this isn’t possible. And this scenario leads potentially to wasted time on both sides with grant seekers blasting out many applications to those who receive them as part of an abundant pile that they struggle to give a fair reading to.

Of course, some grant funders are deliberate in their willingness to remain flexible and open to new ideas from grant seekers on how their funds could lead to the betterment of society. In these cases it is the grant seekers ability to express their vision, mission, and project goals, to capture the imagination and enthusiasm of the grant giver.

Alex talked about co-production as a good way of bringing together grant makers and grant seekers with the people that are affected by the issues they both seek to address. With a freeing up of resource through more efficient and effective grant seeking and grant making, this resource could then be used to build deeper and more meaningful relationships which then go on to deliver more effective projects for progressive societal change.

Keda Consulting scorecard

We spoke about Keda Consulting’s scorecard, which I have used myself. It is a useful tool, it’s free to use and can really help to focus the mind on your trust and foundation work, while receiving some useful tips and tweaks to your approach. You can find more about this on the link on our website.

In my view, Keda Consulting is genuinely seeking to improve current grant funding practices. Alex and his team are doing valuable work in drawing together grant seekers and grant makers to help evolve the best practice process of grant making. Find out more about KEDA Consulting's free scorecard:

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

This episode is brought to you by our platinum sponsor Charity People.

Related episodes that you may be interested in:

E117: Positioning Your Charity In Line With Grant Maker Trends with Alex Blake -

E83: Trust fundraising in the current climate with Andy Watts -

E79: The Donor Experience with Giles Pegram -


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