Championing Small & Medium-Sized Charities

We know small and medium-sized charities are best at reaching people and communities facing disadvantage yet they face many challenges. And we know there’s a gap in robust evidence about their unique contribution.

That’s why we’ve been building the evidence base through our research, which has exposed challenges and highlighted gaps in support for small charities. We’re harnessing this learning to shape our future influencing work and ultimately help them thrive, not just survive.

Challenging commissioning & promoting grants

Research has shown that commissioning leads to particular difficulties. Our Commissioning in Crisis report brings together the experiences of small charities to spotlight the challenges small charities face in order to continue supporting local people in need.

We’re now working with government and commissioners to use this evidence to shape practice and support commissioners to better meet need. This includes the promotion of using grants rather than contracts and pushing for greater use of social value that recognises the full value of small and local charities..

Supporting small charities amid wider environment challenges

Small and medium charities across England and Wales face unprecedented uncertainty for their futures, with the impact of Brexit, economic uncertainty and growing pressures on local government threatening their survival.

To combat this, we’re supporting small charities to Face Forward, and campaigning for clear and decisive action from government, funders and large charities whose actions influence the survival of small charities.

We’re also exploring practical approaches to create lasting change by piloting Grow, a closed pilot programme designed to strengthen and grow small, local charities and community organisations in Redcar & Cleveland and Neath Port Talbot.

Helping small charities raise their voice

To help small charities shout about their important work, each year we run workshops and events for our grantees. Our Enhance support offer also helps our grantees develop their communications and influencing skills.

Alongside this, we use the Foundation’s external voice and influence to emphasise why local charities are important and what can be done to support them. We also fund a new policy role at the Small Charities Coalition to help them to lobby on behalf of the sector, and ensure the concerns of small and medium-sized charities are not ignored.

Strengthening the sector

We’ve exploring the potential for Civil Society – and crucially for small and medium-sized charities that make up 97% of our sector - to flourish in a fast changing world, and strengthening its ability to bring about change through co-funding initiatives such as Civil Society Futures and The Social Change Project.  

Responding to Government Consultations

Together with charities and other colleagues in the voluntary sector, we have made the following submissions: