Managing community funds

Grant management

Getting this far and writing a cheque to a successful applicant provides a great feeling and this really is the easy bit. However there may be some things to consider depending on the size of the award and the recipient:

Recording the transaction

Some record of transactions will be required and this will have to be reported through annual accounts submission to Companies House. Maintain an accurate and comprehensive list of where the money has gone and what is expected in return, e.g. evidence of how the grant was spent, what was achieved, a report, publicity by the recipient etc.

Tax implications

As stated earlier, there may be tax implications in managing a fund. Donated income such as community benefit doesn’t attract any special tax treatment so, unless your fund management group has charitable status, its tax liability will be calculated in the normal way. Check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and get good accountancy advice. Similarly check if your fund amounts to more than the current VAT registration threshold.

Staging payments

For larger awards, consider paying the grant in stages, either in advance of activity / spend or in arrears.
There may be a need for a claim system with associated paperwork and a requirement for some evidence of what the money has bought / achieved.

Publicising the award

It is always good to publicise and celebrate achievements. This could be an opportunity to engage further with your community, advertise what has been done and invite new applications.

Confidentiality

In some circumstances there may be a need to be sensitive about what is published and retained. You should be aware of potential data protection issues for example, particularly if giving grants to individuals. Seek specialist advice here if you think your activities / data storage come under the data protection legislation

Contracts/agreements

For small awards and local projects, simplified approaches might be considered appropriate for your organisation. All projects need good governance and all warrant “due diligence” however a higher level of accountability warrants a formal agreement, sometimes called an undertaking, which specifies in legal terms how the grant is to be spent and all the conditions of the award.

Monitoring outcomes

Whatever the scale of the grants and the fund, some record of the outcomes which have been achieved will give credibility to the decisions made. This will also provide a sound base for further activity and could be used as evidence to attract additional funds, should the opportunity arise.

Feedback and review

Hopefully, if change is made as a result of the grant fund, this will provide a stimulus to continue with more projects or to review the development plan to see if there are areas where more needs to happen. Continue to keep the community informed on what has been achieved and invite feedback on how they see the fund addressing their needs for the future. This will help to keep the community engaged and build their confidence in the funding organisation.

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