Grant reporting that works for you – 3 groups share their techniques

We know that for charity and community groups, delivering your work is your main priority. So that’s why we want you to report back to us in a way that works best for you – as we highlighted in our top eight tips for reporting on your grant blog.

We have standard reporting forms if you need them – but you don’t have to use these. Especially if you could save time, or get more out of doing it another way.

So this time we are going to look at three different examples of how our grant holders in Scotland have reported back to us, and why it worked best for them (and us!).

1. Possobilities – using video to show and tell

As part of their Le@p project, Possobilities deliver numeracy and literacy classes to adults with physical and learning disabilities in Glasgow.

When they reported back they sent a video updating us on their year, and showing their literacy class in action:

Possobilities’ video showing their learners in action

Margaret from Possobilities admits – “it is time consuming for the staff member with digital skills”.  But for her, using video for reporting does more than a written report could hope to achieve, and has other benefits beyond just reporting to a funder.

“The video evidences how the learners feel about the learning as well as the social aspect. When they see the video, it gives them confidence and appreciation for the classes.”

Their funding officer Daniel says: “The video was an amazing way to get an insight into the day to day running of the project.”

Don’t know where to start with video? Here’s Daniel’s advice:

“We aren’t looking for any fancy editing skills, so even a simple video talking to the camera would do. It can make the process of reporting back more enjoyable and something that the participants themselves can be more directly involved in.”

2. COVEY Befriending – two funders, one stone

COVEY Befriending is a well-known provider of mentoring and befriending services in Lanarkshire. We recently funded their family support project. The project was also funded by Foundation Scotland, who required quarterly reports and governance meetings. So when it came to reporting back to us, they didn’t double their workload.

Funding officer Laura S says: “The group would send me the reports they were sending to Foundation Scotland and invite me along to their governance groups …If I had any questions about the project I would pop along to a meeting or organise a call with the group. This kept me up to date … so they didn’t need to fill in our template form, as that would have created more work for them.”

Rhoda from COVEY adds: “this is really one thing that we have appreciated about The National Lottery Community Fund in their approach to reporting

“…for me the relationship with our funding officer is key in this, something which we have always enjoyed developing.”

3. Families First – young people re-write the book on reporting

Based in St Andrews, Families First run a National Lottery funded befriending service for children and young people aged 5-16. After encouragement from other projects and their funding officer, they wanted to find a different way to share the impact of their work. The result was ‘Our year in Covid’, a short PDF book where their story was told by the children and young people themselves.

Pages from Families First's book, including screenshots of young people smiling on a video call, craft activities, and positive comments about the impact of the work from a young person.
Pages from Families First’s ‘Our year in Covid’ book

“As this was our first attempt we hit a few hurdles along the way with the publishing” says Morag from Families First. “[But] everyone that has seen it has felt it was well worth the journey”

Most importantly for Families First, the book shows that they listen to young people, and give them a voice in how the service runs. And it’s not just a report for funders – they are also using the book as a tool to promote the service and the difference they make.

More pages from Families First's book, including feedback about the impact of the work from a young person, and a collage of photos of the young people meeting up after lockdown.
Pages from Families First’s ‘Our year in Covid’ book

Funding officer Laura A agrees: “They now have a unique piece of work to be proud of that will showcase their service to the wider community, rather than only being seen by a single funder.

“I feel its so important projects are spending their precious time on direct delivery and doing evaluation that will be meaningful to them, rather than having to conform to a format we set. Doing it this way has meant families first can include their young people directly.”

Not sure about your reporting? Speak to us.

Maybe you are seeking a new or different way to show the impact of your work. Or maybe you are simply trying to do less paperwork and focus on helping your community. Either way, we hope these examples show we’re open to reporting that works for you.

If you come up with something creative like a video or book, we love to see our funding recognised by using our logo. But otherwise the world is your oyster!

And if you aren’t sure – or are worried about what will be acceptable to send us – just get in touch for a chat with your funding officer. We’ll be happy to help.

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