Comic Relief to change application criteria to focus on local charities

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Comic Relief is in the process of shifting some of its key criteria for funding, focusing more on local charities in the areas it supports and overhauling its application process.

Speaking at the Institute of Fundraising Convention on 4 July, executive director of impact and investment at Comic Relief Ruth Davison said that the funder will be working more with local charities on the ground in the countries it supports, rather than funding international organisations with headquarters in the UK.

“We no longer think this is the most appropriate way to fund anymore,” she said. “This marks a significant shift for our international application processes.”

The move is in line with a focus on what Davison describes as “lived experience” in Comic Relief’s criteria for success. “We want to work with organisations that can clearly demonstrate that their governance, decision-making processes and programming is inclusive of those who have personally experienced the issues that they are trying to address.”

Davison said that the funder is looking to present a far more obvious set of funding criteria than it has done previously.

Davison also said that Comic Relief was reviewing its systems to avoid arduous rounds of applications, time wasting and repetition. “We want to concentrate on finding out what it is you need from us and understand how best we can help you support the people you serve.”

Changes to the application forms are currently underway and will also reflect a focus on core funding, where it recognises there is a “desperate need”, according to Davison.

Comic Relief will also be shifting to a broader, more open set of initiatives and publishing the criteria for those much further in advance than previously to give applicants more time to submit.

This is in tandem with a multistage application process which it has just launched and the creation a few months ago of an eligibility checker to give those organisations looking for funding more opportunity to be successful, according to Davison.

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