During July and August, we invited our all our funding partners to provide us with some anonymous feedback regarding the Blagrave Trust’s work. This was undertaken on our behalf by Keystone Accountability.
The rationale for this exercise is that we believe passionately that funders should listen to their primary stakeholders, the charities they support – to ensure that our work enables them to be as effective as possible. Anonymous feedback removes the potential concern that criticism of any areas of Blagrave practice may affect future funding bids. This is key.
We were grateful to receive a really high response rate (74%) and to see that our partners feel great confidence that we will actually act upon the feedback we receive, which we will endeavour to do.
Some key findings:
Our partners value highly the visits both pre-approval and monitoring that we make; feel our application process is straightforward and proportionate; are extremely satisfied with the level of communication, responsiveness and competency of staff; the length of support we provide (3 years plus); and the speed of financial support. 79% said they would chose to work with Blagrave over other funders with a similar grant value.
However, the feedback also pointed to areas for improvement, some of which I highlight here:
Partners felt that we do not adequately contribute to general or core costs. We clearly need to do more to raise awareness of the fact that we are infact happy to provide core cost funding and explore the reasons for this in more detail.
More support would be desired to identify useful and relevant ways to monitor – particularly amongst smaller charities. Where monitoring reports are provided to us, partners would like more feedback as well as clarity about how we use the information they provide.
Partners highlighted 3 areas they would like more support: 1) introduction to other organisations to share lessons and experiences working on same issues 2) support accessing other funds and 3) communicating and publicizing their work. We are confident that through our annual partner conference and the community of practice we have started on youth feedback practice, we are making some progress in these areas. There is certainly more we can do on points 2 and 3, and we have some initial ideas.
All in all we feel this was a really valuable exercise, as it confirmed areas we hoped we were doing well in, and threw up some surprising observations, which we can use to inform our work moving forwards.
A key challenge for us as a small Trust is getting the right balance between ambition, aspiration, ideas and actual human and financial capacity. We can invest further in our capacity to support partners better and will continue to do so, but the trade off is that in so doing we may have marginally less grant funding to give away.
If you would like a copy of the full report, then please do email us and we will send you a copy.