Communities and funding place-based community activity

I’d be interested to know whether the volume and distribution of smaller grants (e.g. less than £10,000 or £20,000) is indicative of the level of community activity in a place? This is something trialled in Birmingham, which seems to have some truth to it, but it would be interesting and very useful to know if this reflects the picture in other places - cities, towns and rural areas. If this is true then it can help better direct investment (of time and money) in ways which better suit places either to build up, sustain what’s there already, or ambitiously grow what’s there…

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This is an interesting question but it might not give the true picture. I say that because a group of funders pooled data (pre-360 giving) to look at grants to the North East. We wanted to see which local authority areas of the North East received the least grants. Once we had the ‘worst’ areas we did some digging and noted that while these areas didn’t get as many grants from some funders they did well from others. In part that was down to the fact that some funders like us (Community Foundation) give grants to any constituted group whereas many funders (especially larger national ones) only made grants to registered or exempt charities. the upshot was that there was a lot of community activity which many funders may want to support but wouldn’t because the groups didn’t have the right structures. It would be good to show that more…

That sounds quite positive then in terms of stimulating some discussion about places and encouraging more funders to share their data on 360 Giving. I’m aware that community foundations are exploring publishing this info, for instance. In the scenario you’ve described if that data was on 360 Giving then potentially the level of small grants could be seen as indicative of the level of community activity?

It did stimulate activity and thinking which was great. and yes it’s encouraged some funders to begin looking at 360. We are looking to do an updated version of that report but getting the data from 360 instead. As for Community Foundations, UKCF, our membership body is working with 360 to look at getting the data on from a central point as most/all the foundations use the same system (we’re the odd ones out in Tyne & Wear) which I think/hope will bring some really interesting data to the mix.

I’ve just done a report for Birmingham for the number of orgs receiving small grants of £10K or less and the total financial value of grants of £10K or less, on a Ward by Ward basis. This has been very productive, with the data doing what was predicted (more or less), as a general rule but also showing the scope of the difference between the highest and lowest.

@Brum_Rod is your report public? If so, would love to see it if you could point me in the right direction?

@Brum_Rod I would be very interested in seeing that report too.

@Brum_Rod- maybe you can write a blog post about this? :slight_smile:

Sorry for being slow to reply. There isn’t a public report available but I’d be happy to share some of the data and docs which are shareable if people can e-mail me at

The data, with other accompanying information, intel and evidence is being used to help inform our commissioning work in Birmingham so once this is concluded after the Spring I’d be happy to share something via a blogpost!