Learning from our funding

We ask everyone we fund to report on the progress of their work to find out how the grant is going and understand what difference it’s making; but also so that we can learn how to support organisations, their beneficiaries, and the wider sector better in future.

In 2015 we made changes to how we ask organisations we fund to report to us, and what we do with the information you give us:

  • We want to make it easier for you and more valuable for both of us. This should mean we ask for less written information, and speak to you more.
  • We've created new, shorter, progress report templates. We don't want anyone we fund to collect data just for us, that isn’t useful to them.
  • We just need enough information to understand how work is going practically and financially; and to identify useful lessons that will inform your work, and our future funding.
  • After the final progress report, we will have a learning conversation with you so that we can both feed back on what worked well, and what didn't, about our funding and its effect on your work. We will then use what we learn to directly question and improve the effectiveness of our funding.

We don’t just want to hear about your successes. We want to know when things don’t work out, why they don’t go well, and how you learn from it and use that knowledge to move forward. How openly grant-holders report to us, and how they learn and change over the course of our grant, can be key to a further grant.  

This is not your only opportunity to talk to us! It is important to keep your Grant Manager up-to-date with any significant changes to the grant in order that they can discuss and agree to your future plans.

Progress reports - the practicalities

We ask for a simple progress report one month before you need the next annual instalment of your grant, and/or a final report at the end of the grant. After your final report, we will organise a conversation so that we can both feed back on what worked well, and what didn't, about our funding and its effect on your work.

For most grants, your report should be filled in online. You will be sent a personalised link to our reporting system two months before your report is due. The report should be based on the past year’s progress towards the (up to) three key outcomes you aimed to bring about, or make progress towards, over the term of the grant. For final reports, please also reflect on progress over the whole grant period.

Details and guidance on what the report should contain can be downloaded here: 2016 online Progress Report guidance

If your grant was made before 2013, you will not have agreed outcomes, so we ask that you base your report on the progress of the work that we funded over the past year, or the whole grant period, in the context of what you planned to achieve when you applied to us. Please use the reporting template below.

Progress Report template - no outcomes - please email to funding@esmeefairbairn.org.uk

Reporting - the theory

What we'd like your report to do:

  • Share your progress honestly - the good and the bad, and how you've learned from each
  • Help us learn from your experiences
  • Enable us to pass on good practice or learning to others
  • Help us make better, more informed funding decisions in future

What we hope the reporting process will be for you:

  • Reasonably quick - a summary of information you already collect for your own use
  • Helpful - a useful prompt to get feedback on, and analyse and understand the impact of your work
  • Useful - an opportunity to reflect on progress and what you've learned