Ask a Grant Manager – September 2019

Staff Photo - Neil
Neil Shashoua – Grant Manager for the North East and Cumbria

Neil Shashoua is our Grant Manager for the North East and Cumbria. He joined the Foundation in January 2019, having worked in the voluntary and community sector in the North East and Cumbria for over 20 years and for local authorities in the region for 11 years. Neil brought with him experience of providing operational and strategic support to local, regional and national charities, mainly in the health & social care fields.

Before starting with the Foundation he ran a voluntary sector consortium, was an independent evaluator, and managed a number of projects.

“I really like helping people in organisations that do good, to problem solve, get the resources they need, and offer my support to make their charities even better.”

When not at work Neil is an active peer counsellor, volunteers as a Scout Leader in Northumberland and runs with his local club.


What are the main indicators you look for when accepting a grant application?

 

Great question, especially as a we have recently reviewed our grantmaking process ahead of our grants reopening for applications later this year (sign up here to be notified when they reopen).

Firstly, applicants need to be eligible for our funding – we fund only registered charities and Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) that have an income between £25,000 and £1m.

Secondly, we fund charities that are working with people who are experiencing at least one of the 11 complex social issues (CSIs) areas we have prioritised, and which are:

  • specialist – they have a strong track record of delivery, with evidence of reporting positive results. They may work more widely than our CSI areas but they need to a lot of experience and expertise in their chosen CSI area.
  • working with those in acute need: we are more likely to fund those who work with individuals at the more the serious/severe end of the spectrum of need and that have a clear way of identifying the needs of their beneficiaries.
  • working with people facing significant impact/disruption as a result of their complex social issue.

The work/interventions undertaken have the following features:

  • It is in depth, that is, working over a prolonged period with the individual.
  • 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.
  • It is targeted. That is, it is not reactive. Charities know who the beneficiaries are, and they proactively seek to support them.

Finally, charities we fund support individuals via a clear pathway through their journey of change and are able to monitor and measure positive, outcome-based progression.

For more information visit our website.

 

Are there any restrictions on what your core funding will pay for?

Our core costs grants provide long-term funding for the day-to-day running of your charity, and/or the direct delivery of your charity’s work. We have listed what we will fund as core costs below but this list is not exhaustive. We do not fund capital projects, such as funding for a new building.

Core Costs 

Direct Delivery Costs 

Building running costs Salaries
Rent Recruitment
Utilities Sessional workers
Heating and lighting Volunteer expenses
Insurance Travel
Office costs Training
Stationery Monitoring and evaluation
IT running costs Promotion
Management costs Activity costs
Part-funding or funding of salaries
Finance/admin/back office

 

Do you accept applications from charitable community benefit societies?

No. We only fund charities or Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) registered with the Charity Commission, and who also have at least one year of published accounts. Charitable community benefit societies are not, as yet, regulated; for example, they are not registered with the Charity Commission.

If you’d like more information on why we only fund registered charities and CIOs, you can take a look at last month’s Ask a Grant Manager.


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Ask a Grant Manager – August 2019

Staff Photo - Clare
Clare Rance – Grant Manager for the South West

Clare Rance is our Grant Manager for the South West of England. Before joining Lloyds Bank Foundation in April 2016, Clare held Grant Manager roles at Devon and Dorset Community Foundations and delivered local grant programmes on behalf of national funders including the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief and the Dulverton Trust.  Previously she has worked in development roles in the public sector with a focus on strategic partnerships and community strategies.  She has spent most of her working life in the West Country and other roles have included District Manager for Oxfam and Researcher at Exeter Archaeology.

When not working she spends time with her young family exploring the local beaches and cycling in the New Forest. This year she did the couch to 5k programme and has just signed up for her second 10k run!


Q: Do you fund community interest organisations?

I’m assuming you are referring to Community Interest Companies (CICs)?

Our approach as a Foundation has always been to support registered charities and more recently Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs).  A registered charity is regulated by the Charity Commission and is required to prepare and submit an annual report and accounts.  Registering as a CIO allows an organisation to be both a charity and a company, with the same reporting requirements as registered charities.  Checking these reports forms an important part of our due diligence process when we are making decisions about whether to invest in an organisation.

Our grant-making processes are reviewed regularly by our trustees. However, as CICs do not have the same robust reporting mechanisms as charities and CIOs, our trustees have decided that the Foundation would not fund them.

 

Q: We are seeking funding to upgrade our IT systems which we rely on to support our volunteers and families and which provides data to help secure funding for our service. Can I apply for a grant for the cost?

The good news is that we do fund IT costs under our core cost grants programme.

If your charity is already funded by us, you are eligible for this type of support under our Enhance programme.  Your Grant Manager would be able to match you with approved providers that could help you to identify your upgrade requirements, to supply and help you implement specific database options and provide IT hardware (PCs, laptops and tablets).  We may also be able to provide you with specific digital support through our Lloyds Banking Group mentoring programme, which might be useful to consider as you work through the upgrade.

If you are not a current grantholder, you can apply for our Enable development grants before 31 August. If you would like to apply for core funding, you will need to wait until our core grants reopen in November before you can check your eligibility and apply. You can sign up here to be notified by email when grants reopen.


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

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Ask A Grant Manager – July 2019

Staff Photo - Gary
Gary Beharrell – Grant Manger for the East Midlands

Gary is our Grant Manager for the East Midlands. He joined the Foundation in 2002 after working with a local charitable trust and in Higher Education. Previously, he has held roles as diverse as trustee of his local community centre, to his current trusteeships with the Funding Forum and the Association of Charitable Foundations.

Gary’s interests include long-distance walking and music. He has been known to attend a rock gig, after first rehearsing with his local choir!

Gary is passionate about the charitable sector, having been involved in many different ways since he was a teenager.

“I’m often asked to explain the role and put simply its ‘helping the helpers’. The variety of people I meet, the passion they show to help others and the innovation shown never ceases to amaze me. It is a privilege being able to work with such people and constantly learn from them.”


Q: Why does Lloyds set its income limit for applying organisations at £1m?

As part of our initial research for developing our current grantmaking strategy, we looked at this. Our research identified that charities with incomes under £1M were likely to be hardest hit by the current climate of austerity. The cuts to grants funding hit them disproportionately hard, with many unable to enter the tender process.

Through our Value of Small research, we also identified that these smaller charities were more likely to be rooted in their communities, with local trustees and volunteers. Consequently, we have focused our resources on those hardest hit but led locally.

 

Q: In an innovation era, why are grant making trusts always still looking for “checkbox” answers? They always seem to find the same types of projects, for example cafes that offer employability training. Everyone is so weary of change, but shouldn’t we embrace innovation to drive REAL change?

At Lloyds Bank Foundation we have a firm commitment to supporting core costs and don’t require change or seek to drive it. The nature of our grants means charities can look to drive real change as they are the experts and we trust them.

 

Q: As a small charity, we struggle to provide rigorous quantitative data; it’s usually because we don’t know how or what to collect to demonstrate our impact. We can’t afford to pay external agencies to conduct surveys and create reports for us. What’s the best possible way for us to document and evaluate our impact, in a way funders would find ‘appealing’?

Monitoring and demonstrating impact is an essential part of anyone’s work these days. Remember however if done well it isn’t only good for funders, but more importantly, is management information for everyone to monitor how well the charity is performing.

When starting fresh it is never an easy task to work out what to report on and what not to. There is a range of support out there to help you do this.

First, think through the difference or change you wish to make to beneficiaries. Potentially using something like a Theory of Change may give you an idea of things to measure. When you have this there are a number of free tools such as Inspiring Impact and Impactasaurus which provides free monitoring tools and some example questions. The Small Charities Coalition also has a number of guides and other toolkits designed specifically with small charities in mind.

Finally, we fund development opportunities (including monitoring and evaluation) through our Enable programme. We are taking applications until 31 August 2019 so get your applications in soon! Learn more and apply here.


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

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Ask A Grant Manager – May 2019

Staff Photo - Sara
Sara Cooney – Grant Manager for London and Surrey

Sara Cooney is our Grant Manager for London and Surrey. Before joining Lloyds Bank Foundation in 2008, Sara held a variety of local and regional roles in grant making and community development.

“The most rewarding part of my work is getting to know the charities I work with. It’s about meeting the people in the charity, learning about how they help their local community and how we can support them through the work of Lloyds Bank Foundation.”

Sara enjoys travelling and is a keen SCUBA diver but doesn’t get into the water as often as she’d like, because she prefers diving in warmer seas. We don’t blame you Sara!


Q: How long after we have received a grant can we reapply? Especially if it’s for core funding rather than project funding?

If you have an existing grant, subject to meeting our current eligibility criteria, you can make a new application in the final year of your grant. If approved before the end of your existing grant, your new grant can begin once your existing grant is completed. As always, we would suggest speaking with your grant manager before making a new application.

Our Invest programme for core funding is currently closed, but we will be reopening with a simplified application process in September. Sign up here to be notified when our grants reopen.


Q: We are a women’s organization championing leadership and governance issues in Kenya. What do you fund?

As the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, we fund small and medium sized charities supporting people experiencing complex social issues within England and Wales. At the moment we do not support work in other countries.


Q: I want to grow the work we’re already doing. Why do I need to keep planning new projects / pilots for funders?

We understand the need for core and existing project funding, and actively encourage other funders to move away from what our CEO Paul Streets memorably called ‘projectitis’. That said, there’s still a place for innovation and new ideas, so we offer both types of funding for charities meeting our eligibility criteria.

No matter what sort of funding you are applying for, we need to see how your charity’s work will meet the needs of your service users and that with your support, people will achieve lasting outcomes and positive changes in their lives.

We appreciate the need for core funding, and funding for projects we already know are making a positive difference.

While it’s not a requirement, piloting new work could help you decide how you deliver the project. It can also help you test different approaches and the level of demand. This provides the basis for planning a longer-term project and helps inform your applications for longer term funding.

Our Enable programme can offer you up to £15,000 to pilot a service in a new area or with a new audience. We are taking applications for this programme until 31st August.


Q: Is ‘local’ always the right unit for reaching the most marginalised? How many times do communities of interest/identity need to be left out of ‘local’ i.e. neighbourhood initiatives before its worth funding across localities to strengthen their voice/influence/power and create responses to their needs?

As an issues-based funder, we support small to medium charities who work with people experiencing complex social issues. We look at different ways to ensure our funding has the greatest possible impact. This may be through supporting charities who are specialists in the services they provide, including those working on local solutions for local problems.

We find that it is often small and medium sized charities which are most successfully reaching and working with the people who are most marginalised and this can include charities which are supporting communities of interest or people experiencing particular issues.

For example, our Transform programme worked with both smaller local charities and larger national charities to influence the conversation around domestic abuse at a national level.

This was also reflected in the independent research The Value of Small which we commissioned which highlighted the distinctive contribution of small and medium sized charities.


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Ask a Grant Manager – February 2019

Ella
Ella Sips – Grant Manager for the North East.

Ella Sips is our Grant Manager for the North West of England. She joined the Foundation in May 2018 with over 20 years’ experience in the voluntary sector, most recently as CEO of a CVS in Cheshire.

Ella loves the people aspect of her job, especially meeting charities and learning more about how they make a difference to people’s lives.

“Meeting beneficiaries, seeing the amazing work the charities do and playing a small role in helping to make things better is both emotional and humbling. It’s job satisfaction x1,000 in my book!”

While you’d never guess it from her accent, Ella was born in the Netherlands and is a bilingual English and Dutch speaker. When she’s not at work, you can often find Ella putting her engineering background to good use by renovating her house – including doing the plastering and floors herself!


Q: My application for grant was refused as it was not sufficiently holistic in its approach. Could you explain how I can improve my application?

We do offer feedback on unsuccessful grant applications, so please call our Service Delivery Team on 0370 411 1223, and they can help you get more detailed feedback on your specific application.

In more general terms, we are looking for evidence that the charity offers person-centred services. People often come in with a specific issue, but their situation is usually complex. What we look for is that the charity talks to the person and finds out what else is going on and helps the person to address the wider issues. They don’t have to do this all themselves – they can partner with specialist agencies or refer people to their services.

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.

For the individual it can seem like a mountain, but charities are very good at breaking these complexities down into little hills and addressing them separately.

Q: We’re currently are in the last 6 months of a 2-year pilot Invest project. We wish to continue our successful project; would we need to reapply?

The simple answer is yes – unless you were originally awarded continuation funding you will need to submit a new application. Our Invest grantees can apply for continuation funding in the last year of their grant. We would also need to see and approve your Year Two Monitoring Report before you apply.

As you are delivering a pilot project, I’d also advise you to have a quick chat with your Grant Manager before you reapply to discuss if this work has generated enough evidence to support an application for further funding. Finally, under our new strategy we have introduced some changes to our funding, please look at our updated guidance and check you are still eligible.

Q: Do you have any plans to open up grant funding to CICs?

As part of our new strategy, we recently reviewed our funding criteria. After thinking long and hard, we decided to continue our focus on small to medium-sized charities as we already have far more demand than we can meet. So, for now we don’t have any plans to open our funding to Community Interest Companies (CICs).

We do however allow CICs to make a joint application with charities, as long as the charity is the lead partner.


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

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Ask A Grant Manager – January 2019

Mike Lewis is our Grant Manager for Wales. He joined the Lloyds Bank Foundation in 1997 after fourteen years in banking with Lloyds Bank.

mike
Mike Lewis – Grant Manager for Wales

As anyone who knows him can tell you, Mike is passionate about two things: the voluntary sector and Wales! Apart from his work with us, Mike has held roles as a trustee with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, as the Wales representative of the UK grants committee with Comic Relief and has chaired the Wales Funders Forum.

“I’m often asked what I enjoy most about my role? That’s easy. It’s all about meeting and supporting people. From individuals who lead small local charities to beneficiaries who are committed to turning their own lives around. It’s an honour to work for an organisation that aims to help people get to a better place.”

Mike enjoys living in mid Wales and speaks fluent Welsh.


Q: Why is the foundation focussed on “local” charitable activity when the virtual world abolishes geography and allows development of communities?

At Lloyds Bank Foundation we’re very aware of the potential for digital technologies to build and strengthen communities (of geography and of interest), and we support charity sector digital initiatives, such as the Charity Digital Code.   As our CEO Paul Streets recently shared, digital does have a place in charities, especially in reducing administrative and “back office” workloads, freeing up staff and volunteers to do what they do best – providing support to people in need.

We know from our research that small and local charities are best placed to deliver the in-depth, person centred, holistic and targeted support that people experiencing the complex social issues we fund need.  This kind of intensive support should ideally take place locally to the people who need it.  Additionally, the most vulnerable people in society, the people our charities help, are some of the hardest to reach and may not have regular access to the internet and its virtual communities.

So, while we think digital technology can be extremely beneficial for communities and charities, it isn’t a replacement for holistic, person centred support in the local community.

 

Q: As a small, local charity, it is easy to get excited about the operations side of things and the life-changing differences we make for our beneficiaries!!! But we have found that applying for funding from charitable trusts has helped us to identify where we have room for improvement, by requiring that we show copies of some of our governance documents. This has motivated us to prioritise governance and to focus on not just doing good but being a good charity too.

So, my question is: In your experience as Grant Managers, what are the areas of governance that you feel could be focused on more by grant holders from small-to-medium charities?

Good question! As a Grants Manager, I am acutely aware of the many legal, regulatory, financial, quality, safeguarding, risk and procedural requirements placed on charities. Combined, meeting these requirements can be extremely daunting, particularly for smaller charities.

From my point of view, the starting point of good governance is a good board. This begins at the recruitment stage, continues through ongoing training and should even include reviews with 360 degree feedback to ensure the board are performing.

Although it’s not just about having the policies but also how they are implemented, and kept up to date. For example,. As a Grant Manager I need to feel confident that the applicant organisation has effective safeguarding practice in place, I’ll ask how it’s safeguarding policy is used and reviewed to be confident that it is effectively understood  and put into practice across the organisation. I might ask when was your safeguarding policy last discussed at Board level or how many safeguarding incidents you’re reported in the last few months.

Personally, I have always found the Charity Commission ‘CC’ guides a very useful reference point, especially those that focus on governance, like their guide for trustees. The guides are conveniently structured with things you ‘must’ do by law, and things you ‘should’ do to ensure good practice.

 

Q: We had our previous application refused because our accounts were not on the Charity Commission site. This has now been done, can we resubmit existing claim or do we have to resubmit? Thank you

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to resubmit your existing application and will need to make a new one. To save yourself some time, you can access your original application through your online account and copy relevant answers across.

If you originally applied to the Enable programme you can make a new application at any time, if you applied for an Invest grant you can apply when the next round is open.


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

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Ask a Grant Manager – November 2018

Marie Hale is our Grant Manager for South Central England.

Marie
Marie Hale – Grant Manager for South Central England

Marie joined Lloyds Bank Foundation in June 2018, having come to us from Trusthouse Charitable Foundation after a varied career as an Intensive Care and Spinal Injuries nurse,and as an accountant.

“My favourite thing about my job is providing developmental support to charities.  That’s why I came to Lloyds Bank Foundation, so I could have long term relationships with charities even after we finish funding them.”

When she is not working, Marie enjoys travelling, walking and spending time with her family.


Q: Would a grant application be more likely to succeed if governance could be independently assessed and verified against a recognised Code of Governance?

A: Because the charities we fund are small, we don’t want to burden them with additional expectations, so this isn’t a key part of our criteria. When we do our initial assessment of grant applications, what we look at are the needs in the local area, how the application addresses the complex social issues we fund, and at how holistic the support you provide is.

That said, we value good governance practice, and this is reviewed at the detailed assessment stage of our application process. We check charities are registered with the Charity Commission, follow the Charity Commission Code of Conduct, and that the charity has at least three trustees and a code of governance.

So, while having good governance is absolutely a good thing, and something we help our grantees with, we don’t require applicants to do more than meet their legal requirements.

 

Q: I was told on the phone in August that the criteria for core funding was changing. In our case we are a pan disabled advocacy organisation, including learning disabled. I was told this was being changed so a pan disabled organisation could apply. However, the criteria were not changed. Are there plans for this to change?

A: Thanks for your question. We updated our criteria in June, and this is available on our website.

For Invest – our core funding programme – 50% of your work needs to be specifically on a complex social issue we fund. In this case, 50% of your organisation’s work needs to be for people with learning disabilities.  So, while as a pan-disability organisation you can apply for our funding, you would need at least half of your work to be with people with learning disabilities.

With all that said, we know that life in a small charity isn’t that simple, so we recommend calling us on 0370 411 1223 and discussing the finer details with your local grant manager.


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