The charitable funding sector in the UK has undergone dramatic changes in the past decades, growing in both scale and complexity. The administrative burden faced by fund recipients has also increased significantly at every stage, from application through to final reports, even when funding itself has become more restricted. Taken together, the reality is that many small charities have become overburdened by administration and under-resourced to successfully effect the change they and their funders seek in society.
The acute crisis that COVID has created within the charitable sector has shone a spotlight on the many essential roles that social enterprises and charities play in our society, and the third-sector organisations that rely on charitable funding have, through necessity, argued for more flexible funding packages that emphasise trust rather than heavy reporting, to enable them to get back to focusing on what they do best.
Funders across the sector have begun to respond to these concerns, and the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR), in collaboration with the London Funders’ network, is leading an admirable drive to encourage funders to sign up to a series of commitments to simplify funding requirements and broaden its usage, easing the administrative burden faced by charities and social enterprises.
The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) sits in the middle of a complex network of funding: we are both a direct project-level funder of grants and loans, and ourselves a recipient of programme-level funding from both charitable and public sources. Our obligations are therefore both to projects we support and to those organisations and individuals who make our own programmes possible. In signing up to the IVAR commitments, we continue to recognise our dual responsibilities as a funder and a recipient of external funding, with the limitations that may be involved. Our Statement on Flexible Funding can be found here.