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You may – or may not – know that CDF has been a grant funder for nearly 15 years and during this time we have provided funding to communities on behalf of many Government Departments. These include the Cabinet Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Home Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Many of CDF’s staff’s expertise is grounded in having been involved in community organisations themselves – they know how difficult and overwhelming it can feel trying to navigate the funding maze. This means that we know how to both develop systems which both achieve the funder’s aims and encourage groups to come forward with their projects and ideas. As a result, we believe we have an unrivalled reputation for being able to get money efficiently and quickly into the hands of those who need it, be it local community groups or well-placed national charities.

We are constantly updating and improving the ways that we give out money, as well as how we interact with community groups from all walks of life. One of our recent changes was on the recent Community Action Against Crime: Innovation Fund programme. We used an online application and monitoring process to deliver a £10million fund on behalf of the Home Office, throughout England and Wales, from April 2011 until March 2013.

We recently surveyed the 265 organisations who received funding from the Crime Innovation Fund to ask for their feedback, so that our grant processes continue to remain appropriate to the groups we fund. We received 85 responses, which is a very high survey response at 32% and I’d like to thank everyone who took their time to complete it. From the 85 respondents we learned the following:

Feedback on the application process

When applying for funding, groups are expected to provide information to ensure that the funding is used correctly and effectively. Nearly all of these funded groups (93%) agreed that the amount of information needed for their Crime Innovation Fund grant application was reasonable. And 83% of funded groups found the information easy to provide. Two funded groups said of the application and monitoring process:

“To date my best experience of project management and monitoring, thank you”

“For a fundraising application it was actually quite an enjoyable exercise, which is not something I generally find!”

In terms of the process being online, applicants liked being able to save their application and return to it later and they valued the prompts that appeared if a question was missed. One applicant found it:

“More straightforward and less time consuming” [than paper-based applications]

Using an online system was a new process for both CDF and for many of the applicants. All funders will most likely move to online applications eventually and so, by selecting this option, we hope we are helping people learn how to apply online. In turn, this will help them with their future online applications:

“It was the first time I used online applications (this has helped me a lot to apply to other online applications)”.

Feedback on CDF’s approach and staff

Over 90% of funded groups felt that the information provided by CDF was clear and timely. And 92% were happy to be contacted mainly by email. 95% of funded groups knew how to get in touch with CDF and 92% agreed that they had enough support from the CDF team.

For any funded groups who came into difficulty, 83% said that CDF’s staff were helpful in discussing and solving any problems and 82% agreed that people they spoke with on the phone were helpful. Here’s what some funded groups said about our staff:

“The CDF team were first class, quite the best I have encountered in the many applications for funding I have made over the years”.

“No call to the office went unanswered, the communication very clear, the questions answered promptly and the staff very good”.

“The availability and openness of the CDF team was like a breath of fresh air and was key to the whole process.”

Of course, the main aim of any funder is to get money out efficiently and 81% of funded groups said that payments were made at the right time for them. Here are a couple of testimonials to show that our approach is working:

“Thank you. CDF have got this very well organised. I recommend them to Government departments”

“This is not the first time that we received funding from CDF, and I strongly believe that CDF is doing fantastic job, always very helpful. My opinion, compared with all other funders we have been dealing with (it is about 20 different funders in the UK), CDF is the best one”

CDF’s aims and values for successful grant allocation

There are a number of key factors that CDF carefully considers when funding community groups on behalf of clients.

  • CDF will always aim to limit bureaucracy subject to the requirements of the programme funder or sponsor. Accurate application and monitoring process are essential to ensure that funds are not misused. We want to help ensure funders have the confidence to continue giving to thousands of small and large community organisations.
  • Yet of course, CDF does seek to keep administrative burdens for small community groups to a minimum, so that they are not hindered from delivering their invaluable hands-on work.
  • We understand that timely payments are vital for small community organisations, who simply don’t have the resources to bank roll the project.
  • And we appreciate that using online forms is not easy for everyone. So when we develop our forms, we ensure that they are easy to navigate and layout is clear and your feedback helps us to periodically review our processes.

I am very proud and honoured that we are able to support you in your incredible work.

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