Principles for Positive Partnership, developed by a working group of Scottish Government grant managers and voluntary sector organisations facilitated by Evaluation Support Scotland, is practical guidance to help Scottish Government grantholders and grant managers achieve positive funding relationships. It includes actions that both parties can take to work towards a successful relationship, and if problems arise, tackle them in a productive way.
Bringing together experienced representatives from the Scottish Government and third sector organisations, the document focuses on the three stages of grant funding; starting the funding relationship, maintaining the funding relationship and when the funding comes to an end. It also discusses what to do when relationships go wrong.
Whilst this guidance has been developed for Scottish Government grantholders and grant managers, much of the advice is transferable to other funding relationships.
Evaluation Support Scotland have identified the Three P’s which make for successful funding:
- Purpose: be clear about the outcomes the grant is contributing to and the gap that the third sector organisation is filling
- Processes: keep the paperwork simple and ask funded organisations to measure what’s within their control
- People: good funding is about good relationships
Starting the funding relationship
- Remember, both grant makers and grantholders want to achieve positive outcomes for the people of Scotland so both sides should be open about expectations at the outset.
- You should think about what will happen when the funding comes to and end at an early stage.
Maintaining the funding relationship
- Good funding is about good relationships built on trust which take time to build. Be open when communicating and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Ensure that changes in personnel don’t impact the relationship.
- Ask for and provide feedback on reports.
When relationships go wrong
- Not everything goes to plan and that’s ok! Tell the grant manager before it gets too serious and use times when it didn’t go well as a chance to learn and improve.
- Ask each other questions to find the root of the problems and focus on reaching a positive solution, rather than apportioning blame.
When funding comes to an end
- Consider how you will use and share learning from the funded work so there is a legacy. Both grant managers and grantholders can learn from the experience.
You can read the full guidance here.