How to do well


This page explains how foundations can do well in the Foundation Practice Rating.

Share important information via a website

The rating will only assess publicly- available information. Therefore, if a foundation does not operate a website, it is unlikely that it will be able to score well.

Provide different ways for people to get in touch

According to UK government rules, the best way to make your information accessible to everyone is to & ‘make effective use of accessible communication formats’; this includes having alternative formats for people with visual impairments, such as audio descriptions, a Braille option, or for those that have hearing impairments, using technology such as text relay, or making British Sign Language or a telephone contact option available.

The more information about the funding process the better

Potential applicants want to know how to apply, deadlines by which they should apply, or if there are no deadlines. They also want to know when funding decisions are made, and if successful, how soon they will be informed, and how soon the money will be disbursed.

Work towards improving the diversity of your staff and trustees

A diverse staff is likely to be more representative of the demographics of the UK. Research strongly suggests that more diverse organisations outperform those that are less diverse in various sectors. A more diverse workforce or board also means that you have a larger talent-base to choose from and working in diverse teams can lead to higher creativity and help to generate new ideas.

Publish and enact a diversity plan with targets

Many foundations agree that it is essential to improve the diversity of their staff and boards, and as such have published plans to do so. However, some of these plans do not contain any specific targets or plans to meet a specific target.

Make this website accessible

An accessible website needs to meet the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that are recommended by the UK government. The WCAGs include things like: making sure your website is accessible to people who can only use a keyboard, ensure that it is compatible with a screen reader and that web content is still legible in a single column when enlarged to 400% so that it can be used by people with visual impairments.

Publish eligibility information

Whilst you might believe this information is very clearly set out in a PDF document, this may not be accessible to some people (because PDFs are not always easily read by screen readers). Alternatives include an interactive eligibility quiz, a video explaining who is eligible and who is not, or an in-person road-show for potential applicants and others. In short, the more formats that a foundation offers, the more audiences it can engage and the more accessible it will be.

Be open about employees and trustees

Publish information on who your staff are. At a minimum, this should include information on any senior staff but could also include all staff. Include a picture and a brief biography of your staff members. Do the same for any trustees or board members in your foundation, and any external members of panels who make relevant decisions (e.g., in some foundations, the grant decisions are made by panels which include external members – as well as sometimes staff and/or trustees). This builds credibility and trust in your foundation, it helps humanise your organisation, and can lead to more collaboration and interactions with the communities you are trying to serve.

Modernise the website

Modernising a website means checking it for broken links and removing any outdated information. It is also important to ensure that it is easy to navigate and that all the information about any given topic is in one place. For instance, it is helpful to include information about how to apply for funding in one place, rather than it being spread over many pages.

Tell people how to apply for funding

If you are a responsive grant-making foundation, you should tell people how to apply. If you are an invite-only foundation, you should state this clearly on your website. It is also a good idea to provide information on what kinds of organisations and activities you want to fund (for example, including any geographical preferences), and information on what you will not fund.

Be open about what has been funded and make that data transparent

Being open means that you publish details of what you have funded. Details of grantees should include a description of the grant, when it was made and to whom, its value and duration. This data should also be open access (unless there are proprietorial reasons or safety considerations meaning that it should not be shared). 360Giving is a platform via which foundations can make their data publicly available and downloadable in a common format (e.g. either .csv or .jsor).

Be open about diversity

If your foundation has more than a few members of staff, you can anonymously publish the gender and ethnic breakdown of your staff. In order to do this, it is important to create an inclusive work space so that your employees feel comfortable with self-identifying as a particular gender, for instance.

The full reports for each year have examples of foundations that have done well in each domain with details of what they have done can be found here.

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