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Research reveals rapid grant-making in early months of the pandemic.

Data shared by 174 funders on their relief and recovery grant-making during the pandemic has just been released. The research – which covers 66,000 grants worth almost £2.4 billion – has been analysed and summarised by 360Giving.

It reveals that funders acted fast, with 42% of grants being awarded in or before June 2020. This suggests funders were able to adapt their existing practices to the sudden strain faced by charities, and exemplifies the ability of philanthropy to respond to crises in a time-sensitive manner.

The findings also reveal that the majority of grants given during the pandemic were small. Indeed, 67% of grants in the dataset were for £10,000 or less, with a further 29% between £10,000 and £100,000. Most grants went to medium-sized organisations, with an income between £100,000 and £1 million per year.

Beyond this, funders demonstrated a commitment to step out of their comfort zone and donate to new charities during Covid – 26% of grant recipients had not previously received support from the funders featured in the report. This identifies a clear desire by funders to respond where need is greatest. It shows that not having an existing relationship with a charity does not necessarily preclude valuable philanthropic support from being offered, especially during emergencies.

Encouragingly, the research also found that grants were received by 15% of all charities registered to work with people of a particular ethnic or racial background. This represents a larger proportion of funding than for other groups of service users. There has evidently been an increased effort by funders to reach these communities, which we know have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The final key finding from the research was that 74% of charities received more than one grant. This may be explained by the changing needs of charities as the pandemic evolved, including seeking ‘recovery’ funding at a later date than immediate ‘relief’ funding.

Explore the findings in full.  Read the press release.


What does this mean for funders moving forward?

The pandemic galvanised action from funders in an unprecedented way. It led to philanthropists changing their practices, being more willing to support unfamiliar organisations and increasing flexibility with their overall approaches to grant-making.

A deeper appreciation of social issues can also be seen in these findings. There seems to be growing realisation of the pandemic’s unequal effects throughout British society and of the role philanthropy can play in helping to mitigate this.

Ultimately, Covid-19 has seen funders expand and expedite distribution of grants, enabling funds to be given in a more time-sensitive and socially-impactful way.

If we want to build on this progress, grant-makers need to commit to sharing lessons and experiences with one another, working together to improve best-practice and opening their eyes to the growing role of philanthropy in the continued recovery effort from Covid-19 and beyond.

View 360Giving’s full press release of this research here. You can also find out more about 360Giving’s activities by visiting their website and following them on Twitter: