I’ve been having a lot of conversations over recent months about what collective accountability can and should look like. The Participatory Grantmaking Community has grown so quickly and organically and has created a wonderfully welcoming space for so many people over the globe. But how do we use this space to make philanthropy and the work many of us are doing better?

We’ve brought together hundreds of people interested in, working with, or trying to embed participatory grantmaking. We’ve made the case for the approach. We’ve shown it works. Provided resources and guidance to help you use it. But how…

Lots of things have happened to me because I’m dyslexic, it is one of the key things that has shaped my life and the directions I have taken. Some of these things have been incredibly positive, others have been ‘character building’. I’m trying to blog a little more about it because it’s important to talk and helps build community and understanding. So here is a short list of things that have happened to me because of my dyslexia.

  • I failed my AS Psychology with a U.
  • I was moved out of my GCSE maths class and told I could spend…

My dyslexia has been playing on my mind a lot over the last few months. Most of the time my coping mechanisms and alternative ways of working mean that it is a part of my life (that is always there) but that doesn’t take up space in my brain. In the past I’ve drawn strength from the social model of disability — recognising that the world isn’t overly adaptable or accessible and that the difficulties I face are not because there is something wrong with me but because systems are not designed or set up to accommodate difference. I’ve spent…

Cameron Bray, Learning & Participation Manager at Barking & Dagenham Giving and Anne Shewring, Programme Director at Cripplegate Foundation and Islington Giving , reflect on their experiences with compensating people for their time spent on participatory processes.

Please note that this blog post is based on our own research and should not be considered as advice around benefits or taxation. We encourage people to do their own research and consult with a professional benefit advisor or accountant.

As participatory grant-makers, we are always thinking of how to overcome barriers people may have to participation. One of the barriers is, as in so many things, money.

Not all funders pay people for taking part in participatory grantmaking but both Islington Giving and Barking and Dagenham Giving prioritise payment as part of our work with residents.We believe payment broadens…

If we are doing Participatory Grantmaking by just inviting people to engage in the work that we do, in the way that we do it, without any wrap-around support we are always just setting them up for failure. The most exciting and rewarding part of my role is working with community members to help them make funding decisions.

“If you share power, people will step up. If you don’t also share support, they will fall down.” — Josh Lerner

This work isn’t a one size fits all, there’s no play book or check list to work though. It works around…

Questions for the the Future of Participatory Grantmaking

How can we think about the Future of Participatory Grantmaking, what questions can we ask ourselves to reimagine what could be? What do we need to think about to frame our thinking and what should we be asking the community to push our practice further? Cassie Robinson, Southerners on New Ground via Allistair Mallillin and myself posed several questions in the Future of Participatory Grantmaking session to get your started.

A painting of a lightbulb with lots of colours coming of it
  • If participatory grantmaking was the norm what would the role of a funder actually be? What would we be asking staff to…

Yesterday was the first in a series of leanring events on participatory grantmaking to launch my Fellowship report — Grassroots Grantmaking Embedding Participatory Approaches in Funding. You can find the report and the other learning sessions at www.hannahpaterson.com.

At the Participatory Grantmaking 101 session I did a reverse Q&A where I asked the attendees a number of questions to reflect and ponder on and I invite you to do the same.

Picture of a question mark
  • Do you think you’re the best person to make the decisions you do? or
  • Do you think the people who make decisions about where funding goes are the best…

The Deciding Together report draws attention to the fact that participatory grantmaking (PGM) is more than just grantmaking. It described PGM as both a power shifting ethos and a process that places the communities at the centre.

a cartoon depicting ‘it’s both a power-shifting ethos and a process that places the communities at the centre’

Some might argue being involved in the process of PGM is where the magic happens. The opportunity for people to come together, meet, discuss, share and learn is important and one that doesn’t happen as often as it could within philanthropy.

In Deciding Together Nadia Nadia van der Linde, formerly of the Red Umbrella Fund, says participants continually emphasize how much they learn…

In 2019 I was lucky enough to have received a Churchill Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to explore Participatory Grant Making (PGM) approaches in both South Africa and the USA. I wanted to bring this learning back to the UK. One of the things I learnt through this process is that there are some funders who were set up as participatory grantmakers and this practice is ingrained in their governance structure and business models. There are funders who are more ‘traditional’ (who do not have PGM approaches embedded into their structures and governance). …

Written by Conor Cross


At the beginning of 2018, following an analysis within The National Lottery Community Fund of the different types of leadership that the Fund supports, approval was granted to develop a funding programme centred on leaders with lived experience, people who use their first-hand experience of a social issue to create positive change for, and with, communities and people they share those experiences with.

Our Supporting Civil Society strategy, released in May 2018, has a section called Empowering Communities. What this meant was sharing power more equitably, creating opportunities for people to be heard and make…

Hannah Paterson

Churchill Fellow exploring how communities can be more involved in decisions about where and how money for their communities is spent

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