Funders pledge action to boost trading potential of charities

A coalition of funders has been formed to boost charities ability to generate income through enterprise and trading initiatives.

A focus of the funders will be on improving the distribution of enterprise grants to the sector to increase revenue from selling services and goods.

The Enterprise Grants Taskforce will investigate the current scope and size of the grants and identify good practice.

The National Lottery Community Fund, Lloyds Banking Group, London Funders, Power to Change, The Mercers’ Company, Voice4Change England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund are initial members of the coalition.

It is being led by a steering group including the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

“Supporting enterprise income makes sense for foundations,” said ACF chief executive Carol Mack.

“It can help build the resilience of the charities and social enterprises that funders seek to support by diversifying their income.

“It can also help make precious philanthropy go further by targeting grant income at activity which can’t generate earned income.

“The Enterprise Grants taskforce offers a great platform for more foundations to understand the role that enterprise can play in the sector’s funding ecology and how best to support its growth”

School for Social Entrepreneurs chief executive Alastair Wilson added: “For me, enterprise grants are the missing piece in the finance jigsaw for trading charities, community businesses and social enterprises.

“For too long, social purpose organisations have been supported with a binary offer of either grants or loans.”

Examples of enterprise grant making backed by the group include match trading grants. These offer funding to charities that matches any increase in earned income.

The coalition’s steering group is currently recruiting for a chair. More information on applying for the role can be found here.

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