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How we’ve responded to feedback from small charities…

Through regular monitoring, evaluation, and learning from our work we aim to improve our support to small and local charities.

We are committed to improving the way we work so that we can have a greater impact and increase how we share resources, opportunity and power. One of the ways we can achieve this is by regularly monitoring, evaluating and learning from our work and then applying those lessons.

Since 2013 we’ve been working with nfpResearch to hear from the organisations that we support about how we’re doing. Every two years they run a feedback survey with organisations that have applied for our funding whether they have been successful in securing support from us or not. The findings from this helps us to improve the way we support the organisations we work with.

Our last survey was in 2021 and as we look ahead to the next round of feedback we wanted to reflect on what we heard and what we’ve done. The feedback we received was important in shaping our new strategic direction as we launched our 2022-2026 strategy, Building a Better Future. Below are some examples of how we have responded to feedback from charities.

Supporting small and local charities

More than 6 in 10 charity partners said that over 60% of their income is restricted and lower income organisations are more likely to see funding and financial stability as a challenge. One of the most significant challenges charities reported is that more people are seeking support while facing increasingly complex issues. Some feedback also suggested that longer funding would be helpful.

In response, our main funding programmes will now be providing unrestricted funding over three years. In doing so, we hope to support charities experiencing the above challenges by giving them more financial stability and greater flexibility to use the funding as they see best.

“Look to supporting the core foundation of charities for a minimum of three years at a time. Without security, we cannot have flexibility or agility.”
Sexual abuse or exploitation, £50k-£100k, unsuccessful applicant


Funding charities run for and by d/Deaf and Disabled people

We know that injustice and structural inequalities and barriers challenge our vision of a just and compassionate society. One of the key findings of the survey was that the charities we funded were less likely to be led by disabled people than unsuccessful applicants. However, unsuccessful applicants were more likely to be supporting disabled people than charity partners.

As a result, 25% of our funding will be supporting charities that are led by, and working for, d/Deaf and disabled people through our d/Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations funding programme which launched in June 2023.


Improving the applicant experience

Successful charity partners continue to highly rate the Lloyds Bank Foundation grant application process with more rating it excellent/very good than in 2019, better than the average grant-maker. However, fewer unsuccessful applicants than in previous years are rating it excellent/very good, underperforming slightly against the benchmark.

To improve the process for both charity partners and unsuccessful applications, we have developed a variety of pre-application support stages including programme webinars, eligibility trackers, virtual meetings and pre-application calls with grant officers and regional managers.

“Feedback and support to non-successful applications… so they can address sustainability of their charity through other trust and grant applications…especially in the context of reduced availability of such funding and increased competition.”
Mental health, £501k-£1m, unsuccessful grant applicant


Using our influence

We learned that there is an appetite for Lloyds Bank Foundation to lead and work in partnership with other funders:

“Influencing other funders to adopt a more flexible (unrestricted) grant making approach. Keep up the good work of lobbying and campaigning for policy change as this has a direct impact on the people we work with and therefore on us as charities.”
Refugees & migration, £101k-£250k, charity partner

Part of our new strategy is a commitment to work with the charities and partnerships we support, locally, regionally, and nationally, to tackle the causes and consequences of complex issues and the barriers people face.

An example of this is our work with Barrow Cadbury Trust where we are funding a leadership development programme pilot for Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic-led leaders of charities working in the criminal justice sector. The overarching objective of the programme is to challenge and change the criminal justice system, from policy through to service design and delivery.


What’s next?

Feedback from both charity partners and unsuccessful applicants have been invaluable in helping us improve the way we deliver our support. We know that there is more that we can and should be doing, and we’re working with nfpResearch to conduct an independent survey again next year to continue learning and improving.

If you’ve applied to our grant programmes or are a current charity partner, we’ll be in touch soon with the 2023 survey and look forward to hearing from you!