Ask A Grant Manager – October 2019

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David Vincent – Grant Manager for the South East

David Vincent is our Grant Manager for the South East. He joined us in May 2019 after working in the grantmaking world for a good number of years. Before joining Lloyds Bank Foundation, he was Grants Manager with a local Trust in Islington and has previously worked with BBC Children in Need and with Tearfund.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to work with and get to know the charities the Foundation funds and supports. In my role at the Foundation, I’m continually motivated and inspired by the people I meet who are doing incredible things, often in difficult circumstances. I really enjoy working with charities to help them to develop and improve their practice and maximise their impact.”

In his spare time, David is also a trustee of a children’s charity in East London.


How does a grant manager determine that an applicant agency meets “It is holistic in nature and based upon a person-centred approach. The individual will have been assessed and their needs identified, with a plan of support put in place”.

In our current strategy Reaching Further, we’ve set out to support charities working to address at least one of the 11 complex social issues we fund. Someone experiencing a complex social issue will most likely have a wide range of needs beyond that which they are presenting with which, if not addressed, may undermine any progress made in another aspect of their life. To make a real positive difference in the life of that individual we believe you need to consider them as a ‘whole’. This might typically start by building a relationship and an understanding of their circumstances and then working together with them to help to address their needs.

We appreciate that any single charity or service can’t be expected to provide a one-stop-shop covering all possible client/service user needs, but we will look for evidence that they are working intensively with service users on an individual basis and not just offering generic activities. Where a client has a particular need, which is beyond the expertise of the charity to provide, then we expect them to be able to demonstrate good links with other relevant services and referral partners.

My colleague Ella previously gave a great example of how all this might look in practice:

“For example, a homelessness charity might see that a service user also mentions relationship, debt, mental health and dependency problems. We’d be looking to see how the charity helps to address these issues, with a planned, progressive approach with their own services, and through their referral pathways to other agencies, rather than just helping the person into short- or long-term accommodation.”

Assessing the sort of grant applications we receive has been described as more of an ‘art than a science’, and there can sometimes be fine margins between a successful and unsuccessful application. However, as someone fairly new to the Foundation, I am really impressed with the diligence of the Grant Managers and the depth of scrutiny of eligible applications.

After reviewing the application we will usually visit the charity to, amongst other things, determine the extent to which they are providing a holistic service to their client group – as described above. The assessing Grant Manager will then have their report looked at, along with the full application, by a colleague to sense-check their conclusions. If this is then taken to our panel it will be reviewed by all Grant Managers or, in the case of the Invest applications, representatives from our Board of Trustees, the Senior Management Team, and a couple of external experts from small charities.

Members of the panel then have the opportunity to ask questions and clarify points in the application. Finally, all members of the panel score the application and our final decision is made based on these scores. This process helps us to benchmark across applicants providing a consistency and quality to our grant decision-making and ensure as fair a process as we can.

 

Why doesn’t the foundation fund the good work of CIC’s and other not for profit and social enterprises please?

We only provide grants to registered charities and Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO’s) and will not currently consider a grant request from a Community Interest Company (CIC). We do however allow CICs to make a joint application with charities, as long as the charity is the lead partner.

The reason for this is to do with the robustness of their respective regulatory requirements. CICs are regulated by the CIC regulator with what is intended as a ‘light-touch’. This compares with the more robust regulation of charities by the Charity Commission, which forms a key part of our due diligence process.

Our Trustees will review this position periodically but, for the time being, this remains our policy.


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