Impact for Growth update: Our first grant applications

30 May 2017

The first batch of applications for the Impact Management Programme's Impact for Growth strand are in. Our Head of Grants, Deborah Smart, talks about the application journey and the proposals we have received so far.

To apply for a grant charities and social enterprises first had to attend an impact management training session run by Impetus-PEF. These sessions supported organisations to understand the impact management approach and think about their needs in key areas such as target population, data tracking and service adaptation.

Of the 77 organisations who attended the training and so were eligible to apply for a grant, 30 submitted applications. The applications were developed jointly with one of our approved providers who will work alongside our grantees to help improve their systems and process. Of our 21 approved providers we received applications from 13.

It was really interesting to see the mix of applications we received. Organisations from different regions, different sectors and of different sizes all featured.

Training sessions for the pilot grant round were held in London, the Midlands, the North West and the South West so we expected these regions to feature strongly in the pool of applicants. But it was a nice surprise to also see a strong showing from the North East. In fact the only region not represented was the East Midlands. We want to make sure we get to organisations across the whole country so will be thinking about how to get better at this in the coming months.

The sectors we received applications from were also broad but three sectors led the way: Citizenship & community, Mental Health & well-being and Employment, training & education. The smallest organisation to apply had a turnover of £50k a year and the largest £23m – safe to say quite a broad mix! And that also makes it really interesting for us. This is the pilot phase of the programme so we wanted to see a broad range of applicants so that we can learn as much as possible.

So what next? Well, my team at Social Investment Business are busy assessing the applications we’ve received and we have the first meeting of our Investment and Commissioning Panel in early June to make the decisions on who is awarded funding.

In the meantime we are already thinking about what we can learn from this first round of applications and whether we need to make any changes for the next round in the autumn. And that’s where it would be great to hear from you.

If you applied for a grant we will be in touch in the coming weeks to ask you for your feedback on the process. If you went to a training session but didn’t apply, we’d love to hear from you too because if there was a reason why you didn’t apply then we want to know it.

Please don’t hold back. Tell us anything you observed. Good or bad. We want to make sure the process works for everyone and if you don’t tell us how things are we won’t know what to change! You can email with your thoughts. Thanks in advance.


This blog was originally published on the Impact Management Programme website.

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Deborah Smart

Director of Grants

Deborah directs the delivery of our grant programmes and has over a decade of experience in social finance and grant-making.  She entered the social finance sector in 2005 with The Social Enterprise Loan Fund, and joined SIB in 2009.

Deborah is a 2015 Clore Social Fellow, and in her free time volunteers with a small broadcasting charity in Essex.

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