The effects of the current cost of living and inflation rises are spiralling through society, and the voluntary and charitable sector is on the frontline when it comes to supporting struggling individuals and communities. However, the organisations delivering this support are anticipating significant financial pressures themselves this winter.
Rising demand and rising costs are combining with falling charitable income to create a crisis within the sector. At the start of September, 46 sector organisations issued a joint statement calling on the Government to provide targeted financial support for charities, voluntary and community organisations and to include these organisations in any plans to support businesses.
Funders are already starting to respond to the pressures – and an anticipated increase in demand for food, debt advice and mental health support – by closing or pausing regular funding schemes in order to launch new emergency funding opportunities, just as they did during the pandemic. It is expected that funders will also provide more support for core costs, in order to help organisations struggling with energy costs or retaining staff.
The importance of grants for the sector
Even in normal times, the voluntary and charitable sector relies heavily on grants from trusts, foundations and government in order to carry out its crucial work.
Recent research from the Law Family Commission on Civil Society has shown, though, that small and medium charities face particularly high costs in accessing funding. On average, they devote more than a third of their total annual grant income to applying for charitable grants. The report suggested that a key cause of this is making applications for funding for which they are actually ineligible.
Smaller charities are unlikely to have dedicated funding officers to search for funding and submit applications. With thousands of funders awarding grants to charities for a wide range of causes and beneficiaries, it can be hugely difficult to keep track of potential funding opportunities and decide which are most relevant.
An affordable, essential solution
It’s for this reason that more and more small charities are turning to MyFundingCentral to help them. Now in its second year of operation, the MyFundingCentral database (produced by software specialists Idox) provides easy access to thousands of grants and social investment opportunities from local, national and international funding sources – all in one place.
The service is available to organisations with an annual income below £1m and is free for organisations whose income is under £30k. Larger charity and voluntary organisations can access Idox’s GrantFinder service, which works with organisations with an income over £1 million.
MyFundingCentral is designed for easy use and around 3000 small charities use the service every month to find funding to keep existing projects going or to expand their work. It is updated every day with new funding opportunities from charitable trusts, foundations, councils, national government and corporate sponsors.
Charities regularly share their success stories with us.
Paula Baker who is Director of HeadsUp Mental Health Awareness CIC was pleased to report that they secured £14,500 from four grants identified through MyFundingCentral. “It’s an easy-to-use service, which has benefitted us greatly.” HeadsUp is a charity that works with children and young people, promoting understanding, raising awareness, and breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. Even small amounts of grant funding can have a big impact on the number of children and young people that they are able to help.
Lucy Whitehouse, Founder and CEO of Fumble.org.uk said that “MyFundingCentral’s portal is totally invaluable to us as a tiny, fledgling charity with really limited staff capacity. The service has helped us find and apply for relevant funding opportunities that we otherwise wouldn’t know about or be able to access.”
Easy to use
Subscribers to MyFundingCentral have immediate access to a database tailored to meet the needs of the charities and voluntary sector. Users of the service can:
- search the database to identify opportunities that match their project;
- find niche funding opportunities that free funding tools typically miss;
- narrow searches to funding available in specific geographic areas;
- receive alerts about new funding opportunities tailored to their needs direct to their inbox; and
- get the latest news on funding.
The database is easy to use, with key eligibility criteria highlighted, and information on how to apply fully explained. There’s no jargon, and because all of the funding opportunities have been handpicked by MyFundingCentral researchers to be right for the sector, users can be sure that they are current and relevant to their needs.
For further information and to subscribe, visit the MyFundingCentral website.
Further reading: more about the charities and voluntary sector on The Knowledge Exchange Blog