After The Storm - New report launched by London Funders

Funders need to plan flexibly, change their ways of working, and support more capacity building - according to findings of 'After The Storm' - the latest publication from the London Funders team.

As we head into a new year, and the sector begins to think about recovery in earnest, we commissioned a report to understand better what plans funders are putting in place, what challenges and opportunities they anticipate and how they are responding to them.

Based on findings from a survey run by us, and from a series of interviews with members of the network exploring their current and future strategies, it identifies three big challenges that the funding sector is facing. They are: 
  • The expectation of a second wave of demand as unemployment rises and recession takes hold;
  • Navigating the sector and identifying gaps, overlaps and commonalities;
  • And the financial precariousness of the sector and what that means for maintaining social infrastructure.

Many funders have spent their “rainy day funds” and dipped into their reserves but they can’t keep doing this

We also asked funders how they responded in the immediate aftermath to the covid-19 crisis, and how do they expect to operate in 2021. 

Did they: 

  • Partner – contribute to funder collaborations (such as the London Community Response)? 
  • Pause – stop taking new applications? 
  • Persist – continue with their grant programme as before the crisis? 
  • Pivot – change their priorities or way of delivering grants? 
  • Push – increase grants and support for existing grantee? 

Here's what we found...

Our members have called for a more relational approach to grantmaking, building on work already taking place; such as the London Community Response, the Greater London Authority's Engagement Collaborative, IVAR's ongoing conversations with the sector, and cross sector collaborations in the London Borough of Harrow:

There is a chance to create more of an opportunity narrative, helping to open up conversations about what funders might do differently and how they plan to act on the ideas being generated.

The work that London Funders has been doing to convene members from across sectors to share insights, data, and strategic thinking was also recognised:

I have greatly appreciated the space for sharing learning and getting inspiration. And to steal ideas! We want to focus more on the how, not the why.

Now that the report is published, what are we doing next? We are going to continue working with the sector to shape what funding looks like beyond the crisis - through our learning review work, sharing resources with our members and the wider funding community, and highlighting 'what worked' in the London Community Response process.

For more information about how we're supporting funders, do get in touch with James