Is there really more reporting paperwork for smaller grants?

I regularly hear this idea thrown around at network meetings (partly in jest, but with a hint of truth):

“The smaller the grant, the greater the reporting paperwork.”

Whilst there is probably no scientific correlation, I have plenty of experience of this being true. I am interested in knowing to what extent this adage applies.

We at Esmee Fairbairn Foundation have a linked question: Why do funders need bespoke reports and require organisations to spend so much time and resources in producing them?

Has anyone done a review of reporting duplication (to see if major funders could come together to use the same reporting fields/system)? To give an example in another industry (namely financial services, who are doing it rather late in the day, but still): Its not exactly the same thing, but I think you will get the point.

We definitely hear the same as @wirralmatt about the volume of paperwork associated with small grants, and like @Gina_Esmee we wonder why so many funders ask for bespoke reports when they are so resource-intensive to create. Our grants are pretty small (maximum £30k), and we deliberately keep our application guidelines as simple as possible and limit applications to 3 pages. We also do not require bespoke reports as part of our monitoring and evaluation I would love to know more about what the norms are in the sector, particularly with respect to small grants, and to connect with other grantmakers that have explored different ways to reduce the administrative burden on their applicants and grantees - I’m sure there’s more we could be doing!

Can I ask what Grant Funder you represent please @RachelStuart?



Of course! It’s The Fore. Our application guidelines are at if that’s helpful.

Thank you @RachedStuart, we have made an application before you rebranded, but I will revisit your guidelines.

Thank you