10GM - A joint venture to support the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Greater Manchester

10GM Blog: 

How Flexible Funding Benefits Greater Manchester's Communities

Keisha

The Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in Greater Manchester comprises a diverse range of organisations, including charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and community groups, all working toward positive social impact. To ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of this sector, it is essential to provide flexible funding solutions that align with its unique characteristics and needs.

In this blog, Keisha, Project Manager at 10GM, highlights the importance of flexible funding for VCSE organisations and the advantages of funding in this way.

Understanding the VCSE Sector

The VCSE sector is characterised by its diversity, adaptability, and responsiveness to community needs. As such, their financial needs and timelines may differ significantly from those of commercial enterprises. The VCSE sector operates in a dynamic environment, addressing emerging and evolving social issues, which requires a more flexible approach to funding.

Challenges Faced by the VCSE Sector

 

Uncertainty
VCSE organisations often work on uncertain timelines, as they respond to changing community needs and external funding availability. Rigid funding models can hinder their ability to seize opportunities or pivot in response to unexpected challenges.

 

Administrative Burden
Traditional grant-based funding models can be burdensome in terms of application and reporting requirements. These demands divert valuable resources away from direct service delivery and therefore, on Greater Manchester's communities. 

 

Long-term Sustainability
Many VCSE organisations seek long-term sustainability but struggle to secure multi-year funding commitments, making it challenging to plan and execute effective, impactful projects.

How are we working together in the VCSE sector?

10GM is the lead partner under the VCSE Accord agreement on this work. They employ a part-time Strategic Lead to support the work of the VCSE Commissioning and Investment Group, which is a formal sub-group of the GM VCSE Leadership Group. It aims to work in partnership and collaboration with cross-sector colleagues to support the delivery of the VCSE Commissioning Framework, by driving forward the Commissioning and Investment ambitions of the Accord, and also being responsive to current events. 

The VCSE Commissioning Group meets on a monthly basis, with Task and Finish groups meeting in between to progress key priorities.

Benefits of Flexible Funding

Flexible funding campaigns such as Grants for Good and IVAR’s Flexible Funding acknowledges the unique characteristics of the VCSE sector and offers several key advantages:

 

Adaptability
VCSE organisations can respond swiftly to emerging needs, innovative solutions, or unexpected crises with the freedom to allocate funds where they are most needed.

 

Sustainability
Multi-year funding commitments enable organisations to focus on long-term impact and planning, reducing the stress of annual grant cycles.

 

Innovation
With the freedom to experiment and take calculated risks, the sector can develop innovative approaches to complex social problems. 

 

Reduced Administrative Burden
Streamlined application and reporting processes can free up resources for frontline work, improving the overall efficiency of VCSE organisations. 

 

Collaboration
Flexible funding encourages collaboration between VCSE organisations, enabling them to pool resources and expertise to tackle larger, systemic issues.

Recommendations for Implementing Flexible Funding

To support the VCSE sector effectively, funding organisations should consider the following:

 

Multi-year Grants
Provide multi-year grants to reduce uncertainty and promote long-term sustainability.

 

Simplified Application and Reporting
Streamline administrative processes to minimise the burden on VCSE organisations. 

 

Outcome-Based Funding
Shift the focus from strict compliance to outcomes, allowing organisations flexibility in achieving their goals. 

 

Capacity Building
Offer training and support to help organisations build the skills required for effective financial management. 

 

Collaborative Approaches
Encourage collaborative projects that bring together VCSE organisations, leveraging their collective strength and expertise. 

Conclusion

Conclusion: Flexible funding for the VCSE sector is a critical step in ensuring its continued success and its ability to address the ever-evolving needs of communities In Greater Manchester. By adapting funding models to match the unique characteristics and challenges of VCSE organisations, we can unlock their full potential and maximise their impact on the social, environmental, and economic well-being of Greater Manchester’s communities.

Have a look at our social media for some great grant-giving stories across GM! 

Grant giving stories 

Hear about how flexible funding has impacted Greater Manchester VCSE organisations' work.

The GM Mental Wellbeing Grants delivered by GMCVO showcase the effectiveness and benefits of grants for smaller VCSE organisations like Kerry’s Corner CIC where a micro grant helped build the foundation of a longer-term project.

Facilitated by GMCVO, the Mental Health Surge programme was a suite of initiatives that concentrated funds on creative ways of getting mental health support to where and when it was needed most, through collaborative approaches that harnessed the strengths and diversity of the VCSE sector. The benefits of the programme are shown by Complete Kindness CIC, who joined a collaboration to apply for funding.

The GM Walking and Wheeling Fund aims to get GM more active with grants supporting a huge range of projects that encourage communities to connect with others and get active together through walking and wheeling. Hear how the Fund supported Future Directions to link with other support providers and identify new groups and activities which may interest their users.

GMCVO showed the importance of capacity building by combining grant giving and train-the-trainer training to an organisation so that they could then deliver their own sessions. Read Angels of Hope’s journey to becoming a community trainer.

Salford CVS celebrate the impact of the Third Sector Fund in this #SalfordStories video showcasing how the grant has made a real impact on the people and communities of Salford as well as allowing VCSE organisation to secure over half a million pounds of match funding.

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Find out more about our Commissioning and Investment work

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Commissioning and Investment 

10GM supports the work of the VCSE Commissioning Group, which is a formal sub-group of the GM VCSE Leadership Group.


Published: 28 November 2023.


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