Applications open for impact fund pilot grants

Written by Matt Ritchie

Almost £2m in grant funding is being made available to help charities and social enterprises manage their impact.

Access – The Foundation for Social Investment funds The Impact Management Programme, led by New Philanthropy Capital which designs, plans and project manages activity and coordinates the partners across the programme’s two strands.

Funding of £1.8m has been announced for the programme’s Growth strand. Around 40 grants are expected to be awarded with an average size of £50,000. The pilot phase is now open and will award up to 10 grants by May 2017, with the full grant application window open from September 2017.

The Growth strand helps social organisations scale their impact and diversify their income through accessing social investment and/or commissioned income.

Grants will support charities and social enterprises to develop and embed an impact management plan, working with an approved provider. The grants can also pay for additional staff or necessary software or hardware. Projects can run for up to 12 months to ensure the plan is embedded.

Social Investment Business manages grant administration on the Growth strand. Charities and social enterprises must be actively seeking investment or contract opportunities and operating in England for beneficiaries in England to be eligible.

Applicants are required to attend a training session delivered by venture philanthropy organisation Impetus-PEF before applying for a grant. The approved providers have also attended the training to create a shared understanding about the purpose of the grants and the ambitions of the programme.

The Pathway strand is aimed at established organisations that are new to impact measurement but want to improve in the area, and are interested in social investment but have not taken it on before.

NPC, Impetus-PEF, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services, Social Enterprise UK, Social Investment Business, Social Value UK, The Young Foundation, and Hactar are involved in the design of the programme.

Access Foundation chief executive Seb Elsworth said the programme provides a chance for charities and social enterprises to get in position to bid for social investment and contracts and scale what they do.

“The aim is to shift the market towards raising impact standards both directly and indirectly, ultimately supporting charities and social enterprises to improve services for their users.”

NPC’s director of research and consulting Rob Abercrombie said the Growth strand builds on previous investment readiness work. However, this project differs in its focus on helping organisations both better understand their impact and use that understanding to manage and improve services.

“We want impact management to be a practice that goes with the grain of what charities and social enterprises are trying to achieve, not something imposed from the outside, equipping them to achieve more and get themselves into a stronger position to close a deal,” Abercrombie said. “Through the network of approved providers we will also be working to ensure that the market for support delivers high quality, value for money projects.”

Click here for more information on the programme.

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