I recently completed the latest Restore Survey from NCVO. This Survey has been highlighting the key themes for Charitable Organisations (of all shapes and sizes) over the past 12 months. The latest Survey focussed in a large part on Funders, and the relationship our Sector has with them.
I think my concern about funders (of all types) is their short term view on providing support. Anyone who has ever worked in Communities or Community Development understands that Real Impact takes time: It cannot be achieved in 12 months or less, particularly when you realise how left behind (A nice new piece of Jargon)
some areas are: What you actually achieve in 12 months or less is a series of unsustainable Quick Wins. If like me you have worked in Neighbourhoods which have been subjected to a series of Quick Wins over the years, you understand how that approach begins the process of social action and re-engineering and then cuts its throat before its even had a chance to live and breathe. What I want to see from funders is a real commitment to 3 or 5 year Change Programmes which mean something. Nearly everyone I talk to across the Sector says the same thing, yet the change has not come. I therefore challenge Funders to come to Northamptonshire and meet our VCSE sector and explain their thought processes. I think that might help.
I have a further gripe though: Now is not the time for Funders to close their Programmes, Reprioritise or take 6 months to Make a Decision. What we now want from Funders is less Red Tape, and a more intuitive approach to grant giving which helps our organisations to help the most vulnerable (and there will be many more after the latest Energy Cost Rise and the Removal of the Universal Credit Uplift). I wonder how many organisations have gone out of business whilst awaiting a funding decision?
Funders and our VCSE want the same thing ultimately which is strong and vibrant communities. I sometimes fail to understand why a more level playing field cannot be established. Looks like I will be writing to all of our National Infrastructure Bodies again next week.