Trusts and Foundations

    NCF offers a cost effective way to increase the scope and impact of your existing giving. We have funded over 3,500 projects totalling £25 million on behalf of our donors and partners – the majority of these projects lie below the public charitable radar and can struggle to find support. It is this knowledge that can reach into local communities and also what we offer to grant making bodies.

    We don’t just work with dormant and ineffective trusts, but with successful grant making bodies who want to use our expertise to realise their maximum potential.

    “The quality of the service has been outstanding, both in terms of background research on organisations, follow-up help and advice to smaller organisations that apply, and in terms of monitoring and evaluation of the projects and programmes. The advice from NCF is always independent, informed and takes account of local and regional issues. I would recommend them unreservedly to any grant-making body”
    Roger Garratt – Charity Committee Chair – Nottinghamshire Freemasons

    Fund Options

    We can support Charitable Trusts in various ways:

    • As an external consultant offering advice and guidance around your operational due diligence and help you reach maximum benefit.
    • Become the administrators of the Trust to make use of our quality accredited operational systems and local knowledge.
    • If you have had enough and want to retire or cannot find trustees to succeed you, we can legally transfer the Trust, recreating it as a separate trust fund within our portfolio and manage it in perpetuity on your behalf.
    • We can close it down and repurpose the funds into a chosen area of need (in the spirit of the original charitable objectives) as agreed by the charity commission and retiring trustees.

    With a Managed Trust, Trustees retain their positions, keeping as much control over the grantmaking as they wish.

    With a Transferred Trust, former Trustees can be appointed as ‘advisors.’ We take all the legal responsibility for the new fund, but you still have the final say on the direction of the grant making, so you can carry on supporting your favourite charities. Or, if you prefer, these decisions can be handed over to our expert grantmakers who will allocate funds based on your specifications.

    How does it work?

    We meet with you initially to discuss the focus of your Trust or Foundation, the geographic remit, the size and type of grants you wish to make and the kind of impact you could make.

    Your NCF Fund lead designs a programme that is tailored to the objects of your Trust or Foundation, and we use our extensive knowledge of the sector to help shape the strategy and make recommendations on continuing direction.

    Once the strategy is decided, we can take care of all the administration and due diligence:

    • Set up – Devise the application form and guidelines.
    • Publicity and outreach – Publicise the Fund through our website, local voluntary sector networks, funding fairs and existing database of projects.
    • Pre-application administration – Handle all queries on your behalf, support applicants if necessary and receive applications.
    • Sift applications for eligibility and shortlist those for assessment.
    • Assessment of all shortlisted projects by telephone and write up grant assessment reports. We look at strength of need for the project, breadth and depth of impact, financial health and track record.
    • Recommendations – We present you with a selection of assessed projections from which you can choose those you wish to support. (This is usually done with a ‘panel meeting’ where the NCF Programme Manager responsible for your Programme meets with you to discuss the projects).
    • Informing applicants – NCF notifies all applicants of the results, makes payments to successful organisations and where appropriate refers unsuccessful applicants to other Programmes at the Foundation.
    • Monitoring and reporting – We monitor grant expenditure and keep you informed via an annual report on your Programme.
    • Other benefits – deprivation mapping to ensure your grants are going to the most deprived areas, site visits, invitations to Foundation Events, our annual report and quarterly e-bulletins.


    Charity Commission endorsement

    The Charity Commission acknowledges that community foundations have a reputation for the effective management of charitable funds in order to maximise their impact at local level.

    The Charity Commission and community foundations have worked closely in recent years to ensure that trustees seeking to revitalise moribund (dormant) or ineffective trust funds (and who are looking for an effective way of carrying on their good work in future years) can release their funds to a community foundation as part of their appraisal of options. The Charity Commission welcomes and supports this initiative and encourages all charities to ask themselves whether they should work with community foundations as an alternative to continuing, particularly if they agree with one or more of the following statements:

    • We find it difficult to identify beneficiaries
    • We cannot spend the income of the charity
    • We find ourselves providing money to the same people or groups every year
    • We find it difficult to attract trustees
    • We would like to be involved in how the money is spent but we do not want the legal responsibility of being a trustee
    • The work of administering the charity and its investment is becoming onerous or disproportionate to the level of funding
    • We wish that we knew more about local issues and opportunities and who else was funding what