Participatory Grant Making - how to use lived experience for better decisions
By Sported | 21 February 2024
By Sported | 21 February 2024
How can you foster inclusive decision-making while creating effective initiatives at a local and national level?
Stakeholders, funders, policymakers, and community leaders came together to discuss strategies that work at the “Empowering London: Participatory Grant Making (PGM) for Community-led Change” event.
Attendees heard how Sported’s PGM pilot project, based in London, had made a real difference as well as exploring innovative approaches to community empowerment through processes that put those with lived experience at its centre.
The event was compered by Chris Grant OBE, consisting of two panel discussions.
The funders panel with speakers Anne-Marie Twumasi from the Global Fund for Children, Natasha Friend from Camden Giving and Joe Thompson from London Marathon Foundation explored how funders can develop a PGM Model.
The community focused panel took the audience through Sported’s pilot project, which provided funding for sporting organisations in the black community. On this panel we heard from Tania Moore from Youth Action Alliance, Carl Reid from Southwark Storm and Onyinye Nkemdirim from Sported.
A workshop was also held to explore where funders sit on a spectrum of PGM spanning from the lowest level of participation ‘Community Access’ through the highest – ‘Community Shaped’. Community groups shared their experiences and indicated where funders generally sit on this spectrum.
What were the key learnings?
Community Empowerment through Participation:
The event emphasised the significance of empowering communities by involving them in decision-making processes, particularly in the allocation of resources.
Building Trust and Collaboration:
Establishing trust between funders, policymakers, and community members emerged as a crucial factor in successful participatory grant-making. Collaborative efforts and transparent communication are essential for fostering meaningful partnerships and ensuring that resources are allocated equitably.
Addressing Inequality and Inclusion:
Participants highlighted the importance of addressing systemic inequalities and ensuring that marginalised communities have equal access to funding opportunities. By prioritising inclusivity and diversity in grant-making processes, stakeholders can work towards creating more equitable outcomes and promoting social justice.
Risk and Accountability:
Discussions underscored the risks of not adopting participatory approaches, emphasizing the importance of accountability in decision-making.
Capacity Building and Support:
Providing adequate support and capacity-building opportunities for community organisations is essential for their long-term sustainability and success. Beyond financial assistance, initiatives such as mentorship programs and skills training can empower communities to effectively implement and manage projects.
The panel discussion on the Sported pilot emphasised the importance of representing youth voices in decision-making processes and storytelling. Practical tools were shared to capture stories and feedback from young people creatively, highlighting the significance of youth engagement in community initiatives.
Measuring Impact and Transparency:
Participants discussed the need for robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact of funded projects accurately. By tracking outcomes and collecting feedback from community members, funders can ensure accountability and continuously improve grant-making practices.
Implications and Future Directions:
The event underscored the potential of participatory grant-making models to drive positive change and empower communities to address local challenges effectively. Moving forward, it will be crucial for stakeholders to continue collaborating and sharing best practices to strengthen these approaches further.
By highlighting the importance of inclusivity, collaboration, and accountability, the event underscored the transformative potential of empowering communities to shape their own futures.
As stakeholders continue to champion these principles and work towards more equitable and resilient communities, participatory grant-making initiatives will undoubtedly play a vital role in driving positive social impact.
To gain further useful insights on how PGM can transform the way you work, read Sported’s full report from our successful pilot to deliver the Black Community Sport and Physical Activity Fund.