Ask a Grant Manager – October 2018

Frances Warwick is our Grant Manager for the East of England and North-East London.

Frances Warwick
Frances Warwick – Grant Manager for the East of England and North-East London

She has been with Lloyds Bank Foundation for 18 months, having joined us from her previous work at another trust.  Before that, Frances worked in the Civil Service after beginning her career in the Probation Service.

“I enjoy getting out and meeting charities – actually seeing what they are doing on the ground, meeting beneficiaries and seeing the difference our funded charities make to people’s lives. It’s very inspiring.”

When she’s not working, Frances enjoys cooking and walking her Dachshund, Ruby.

“This morning I walked Ruby and picked some chestnuts for Christmas. When you’re on walks with the dog you tend to find these things especially as I spend most of my time scrambling in the undergrowth to catch her as she darts off after a rabbit!”


Q: As a tiny charity (annual income just under £20K) your current lower income limit prevents us from applying for funding – which previously we used to your complete satisfaction. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary we need your sort of ‘support for small charities’ to maintain our service.

A: We recognise that the work of tiny charities can be really effective too and as part of our new strategy, we’ll be expanding our development support to charities we can’t fund, to help build a more resilient sector.

The reason for our lower income limit around grant funding is primarily because we implement and monitor our grants using measurement criteria that are designed for slightly larger charities and, in our experience, would be overwhelming for charities with an income below £25,000 or wouldn’t assess them in the best way.

Instead in the past, we have run pilot programmes specifically for charities with incomes under our £25,000 lower limit, to explore how we can help them grow, become more robust, or connect with other parts of local infrastructure to work most effectively.

We also do our best to speak up for lower-income charities through our influencing work, gathering evidence about their work to encourage decision makers to review government policy. Through this work we’re giving charities a voice so together we can influence change.

 

Q: Many of the community centres I work with are struggling with finances and are asking if I know of funding pots. Some for the ability to employ a part time cleaner, or Admin, or managers. Other centres have projects they would like to support like holiday hunger through to refurbishing a kitchen to enable greater user use. Are these the sorts of things you would fund if I were to point them in your direction?

A: We really understand that paying the rent and keeping the lights on are the first steps to making sure charities can provide good services. That’s part of the thinking behind our Invest grants which covers service delivery costs. This includes core costs such as staff salaries, although I’m afraid we can’t cover capital costs such as refurbishment. Enable grants fund organisational development and help to strengthen your charity through improving structures and systems, leadership or communications.

Charities applying for our grants need to show they’re supporting people experiencing one or more of the complex social issues we fund. The support provided to people needs be person-centred, holistic and deliver positive change for beneficiaries. It also needs to be ongoing and show progression over time, rather than one-off or casual support such as a drop-in centre or lunch club.

Based on the limited information we have, it’s unlikely that we could support the requests you’ve outlined, but we know it can be hard to show all the complexity of a charity’s work on paper, so feel free to call the team on 0370 411 1223 to chat more about specific requests.

 

Q: If you were recruiting for new trustees what skills would be most useful your work? (Asking as a new-ish Grantmaking Trustee)

A: Every organisation is different, but the skills we look for on our board depend on the balance of skills and attributes our current board members already have, and what the gaps are.  Overall, we look for a diverse range of people with a broad range of experiences, from people with strong charity governance and leadership backgrounds to academics who are expert in the social issues we fund, and senior managers from the Lloyds Banking Group, which funds our work. A strong knowledge of the charity sector, particularly small charities, charity governance and the complex social issues we fund is also needed.

In terms of building your own skills, the same principles apply across charities of all sizes. The skills needed will depend on the individual charity, but we know that for small charities, a flexible approach is key, as they may need to call upon trustees on a more ad-hoc basis. Small charity trustees need to be approachable, supportive and act as a cheerleader to inspire organisations which can be “up against it”. You should also expect to be called upon to give sizable chunks of time and expertise if you can, to help enhance a small team of staff who need outside knowledge of a specific kind to tackle a new challenge.

For people looking for new Trustee experiences, I’d recommend focusing on building skills in areas you already have an interest in and keeping an eye out for the right opportunity. Our new Trustee Recruitment, Selection and Induction toolkit has a handy list of services which match potential trustees and charities.


Have  a question you want to ask our Grant Managers? Submit your questions here.

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