Angus Bruce details the innovative ways charitable trusts and foundations can distribute their funds through Crowdfunder.

The other day I attended the book launch of ‘Modern Grant Making’ by Gemma Bull and Tom Steinberg. The contents of the launch were aimed at ‘funders who believe that better is possible’ and it resonated so much with the onboarding work we’re doing with charitable trusts and foundations to utilise the Crowdfunder platform, that I felt compelled to write this blog.

The book launch detailed the quiet revolution occurring within modern grant making circles. It was hosted by Sufina Ahmad MBE, Director of the John Ellerman Foundation, a forward thinking, independent grant making foundation who support charities that make a difference to people, society and the natural world. In this YouTube interview Ahmad explains why taking a modern approach to grant making is so vital. She states:

“It’s estimated that in the next couple of decades, there will be trillions of dollars of wealth transfer from so-called ‘Baby Boomers’ to younger generations. Nowhere more so than in developed global markets. Partly as a result of this we are seeing a myriad of new forms of grant making and philanthropy being developed, all of which are entering the funding system that we’re already a part of, some enhance what we do as grant makers and some don’t. 

We’re experiencing challenges and questions about our legitimacy too, our value-add to society. But how did we get here? Perhaps it’s our sector’s frustrating and opaque grant making practices? Perhaps it is because we’re experiencing relentless levels of change and increasing polarisation and we’re increasingly playing catch up…”.

Bull and Steinberg’s book on modern grant making enters the grant making ecosystem with answers to many of the frustrations currently experienced. Their approach helps grant makers to do better and to do so quickly. It provides solutions to help unleash incredible progress and potential through the funds that are distributed. It discusses the rise of unrestricted grants, making applying easier, respecting the grant seekers, maximizing impact, transparency, project measurability in addition to the importance of being open and transparent.

There is a cultural change happening in the industry, and it was a privilege to listen to these thought leaders explain these aspects from their side of the fence. For me, the subject of their book has affirmed many of the findings published when a study was carried out on the benefits of extra funding being distributed via Crowdfunder. These benefits include:

  • 32% of projects that took part in the study unlocked additional financial support. 
  • 42% of projects had never applied for funding before. 

(Source: Matching the Crowd by Peter Baeck, Jonathan Boone, Sam Mitchell, Nesta, October 2017)

  • 84% of supporters were more likely to pledge because of match funding offered and almost half of supporters gave 50% more because the project received match funding. 
  • 1 in 3 said they only gave to a project because of the match funding.
  • The pledge size was 2.5% higher on average after a project had received match funding. 

(Source: A Great Match by DR Catherine Walker, The Researchery – May 2016). 

So, if you are a grant maker looking to innovate the way in which you distribute your funds and you are interested in addressing the current unbalance in power in how funds are distributed, I’d recommend you check out this fascinating YouTube interview and consider purchasing Bull and Steinberg’s new book to learn more – Modern Grant Making

For a free 20 minute consultation about how Crowdfunder can help you to distribute funds from your charitable trust or foundation in a more fair and efficient way by utilising the power of the crowd, email me at [email protected].