Things I've written

I've come to enjoy writing. Some key articles and favourites can be downloaded right here, including some 'gems' I wrote for ACF, as editor and contributor to Trust & Foundation News. For other material, including other ACF material, you have to contact the publisher.

But some defies description, like the news article and editorial written on 14 September 2001. I'd reached friends and colleagues in New York urgently, and it touches me even now. It's under 'serious', together with a note to anxious cousins about 7th July 2005.

There's some lighter material too, both here and in the Jargon buster. It was fun to write; I hope it's fun to read!

About funders

Applying to a Charitable Trust or Foundation
 This is a basic leaflet for grant-seekers, which I wrote for the Association of Charitable Foundations, 1995 with subsequent annual updates. It's also been re–published in the Introduction to Guide to the Major Trusts Vol 1, (Directory of Social Change, 1999 and subsequent biennial editions), and appears in modified form as a chapter in Trust Fundraising (Clay and others ed, Institute of Fundraising and Charities Aid Foundation Fundraising series, 1999). ACF updates it from time to time, and the version here is the 2006 version in PDF form. The basic text is still much as I originally wrote it.

Foundations in the United Kingdom
n article describing the basics about UK foundations, originally written for a readership of German foundations, (published in German translation by Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen - the German Federation of Foundations, 2001).

Where Grants Go 
 A summary based on Patterns of Independent Grant-making in the UK, from Trust & Foundation News, December 1999. Patterns was, and remains, the best ever statistical study of foundation grant-making in the UK. I was closely associated with the Patterns project, which was run by CAF Research. Its main report was written by Jeremy Vincent and Cathy Pharoah and published in January 2000. I wrote the foreword, which contains general commentary on the research and on foundations in the UK.

Where are the UK's foundations?
A regional breakdown, Trust & Foundation News, June 2000. This set of data hasn't been re-done, and, though there has been a growth in the number of foundations since it was written, I think its conclusions remain essentially correct.

Giving in Trust -   the role of the grant-making trust
A chapter in Sweet Charity, Philpot and Hanvey, eds, Routledge, 1996. The book was a (sadly rather overlooked) basic textbook about the voluntary sector, and my chapter covered the fundamentals about grant-making trusts.

Funding community groups  -  A summary of Government funding programmes
in Trust & Foundation News, June 2001. There have been many new programmes since then, but this article tried to unpick the confusion caused by too many well-meant government initiatives in the same field. Alas, things did not improve. Have a look at the Government Programme section in the Jargon buster (for link, look left), which includes a Name Generating Tool (not an official document, though I suspect they've got one of their own!).

About philanthropy

Why should a philanthropist set up a foundation? (Philanthropy UK Newsletter, 2006)
There's some overlap with the article below, but this one is shorter and updated – and they're both worth reading.

Foundation creation (Funding for Change, 2005)
This article attracted a lot of positive attention, not least from the Sainsbury family who featured in it. It contains a table charting the formation rates of foundations over several decades, and discusses the merits of 'doing' philanthropy by setting up a foundation or, alternatively, using Gift Aid.

For funders

Trust & Foundation News
I was editor of most editions and author of numerous articles, 1990-2002, including a regular Problem Page. Some especially important articles are available on the website. You can get back numbers from ACF at

A Quality Framework for Grant-making Foundations
I wrote the chapter on legal regulation and accounting, Association of Charitable Foundations, 2002 Again, it's available from ACF.

The Grant-making Flowchart (coming soon)
I designed this for a client, and decided it was too important to give to them alone. It puts the basic processes of grant-making in a logical and cyclical sequence, from setting your aims through seeking applications, assessing grants, through making payments to evaluation, feedback and review. It doesn't explain each process in detail, as it's a planning tool that helps get things done in the right order. New grant-makers will find it particularly useful. I've used it to teach some of the basics of grant-making, where it proved pretty popular, and I've recently upgraded it significantly. I'm planning to put it on the website shortly as an A4 PDF, and have a notion that it could be developed in poster format. I'm just holding off from activating the above 'link' while I sort out questions of copyright and whether it would be just too naïvely generous to give it out for free. But if you want me to come along and take you through it in a training session, send me an email.

Guidelines for Funders of Voluntary Organisations (ACF, CAF, Community Fund, Corporate Responsibility Group, Home Office, local authority associations, and others, 1997
A very broad consensus, straddling the incoming and outgoing governments in the 1997 General Election)
As a statement of principles, I think it still reads well, though some of the jargon may need updating.

A Guide to Best Practice
An article about the Guidelines, in The Henderson Top 2000 Charities 1995

Accounting and reporting
In my time at ACF, I wrote guides for trusts to each successive version of the SORP - the Statement of Recommended Practice on Accounting by Charities. The guides were frequently downloaded from this website, but they date from 2001 at the latest, and as the SORP has since been rewritten, I've now removed them. The new SORP is available from the Charity Commission, and ACF has just produced, jointly with the Commission, specific guidance on how the SORP works for grant-making charities. See ACF's website. The joint guidance is more authoritative than my unilateral efforts, and shows how far the Charity Commission has come. In my time at ACF, the Commission always refused to countenance special guidance for different types of charity, though the previous SORPs were overloaded with requirements on fundraising (irrelevant to most grant-makers), and didn't deal adequately with grant-makers' problem areas such as multi-year grants. The new SORP and ACF's guidance put this right.

Investment, the new law
Members’ Briefing on Trustee Act 2000, Association of Charitable Foundations, 2000. The Act is still in force, and I helped it on its way to the Statute Book,

Foreword to Does your money make a difference?
A practical self-assessment tool for funders (Cooper and Mayall, Charities Evaluation Services, 2001)

Principles and responsibilities of funding

Independence and Accountability - the conundrum of foundations
A paper for the International Network on Strategic Philanthropy, September 2002. I had been asked to do a literature review and to develop some principles of accountability, but became worried that 'accountability' wasn't entirely compatible with independence, which is a key characteristic of foundations. What's more, some of the literature was from foundations who positively rejoiced in their lack of accountability. I'm not sure this is what INSP wanted to hear! The paper is a bit long and I'd like to have been able to produce a shorter version, but it didn't happen. If you want to see it, contact me.

Practical responsibilities for independent grant-makers
This came out of the Independence and Accountability work (above). I think 'practical responsibilities' works much better than 'principles of accountability'. Even after four years, I think this is a pretty good statement, so I've decided to publish it here. (It didn't look like anyone else was going to.) If you re-use it at your conference, give me credit, or better still, invite me to introduce it!

Are Codes of Practice useful for grant-makers?
(Trust & Foundation News, March 2002)

This gets downloaded a lot, suggesting that the question, though asked some time ago, is still relevant. I haven't kept up with the international debate, which I think has subsided.

Transparency of Foundations in the UK
(SEAL, Social Economy and Law, Brussels, Spring 2001)
An explanation of the UK transparency requirements for an international audience.

A New Transparency
(Article in The Henderson Top 2000 Charities 1996)
This was written when legally-enforced disclosure of grants was new to grant-makers in England & Wales.

Why don't funders explain?
Published in slightly edited form in Third Sector, 3 August 2010
An attempt at a balanced view to contradict the usual polarisation, ie 'You turn us down and never tell us why', vs 'Too many applications just ignore our guidelines',

On charity law

The Register Review so far
(Trust & Foundation News, December 2001)
This was a news article but not much has changed in five years. Most of the changes discussed here have been subsumed into the Charities Act 2006.

Certify us!
A plea for the Charity Commission to issue registration certificates, Opinion piece in Charity Finance, December 2002. The Commission now does this.

On the third sector

Infrastructure Investment Plans
In Spring 2006, I led a team of 7 consultants analysing all the local ChangeUp Infrastructure Investment Plans across England. This was at the time the new Capacity Builders agency took over the ChangeUp programme from the Home Office. We were told there were 127 plans but the actual number turned out to be a bit lower, 109 depending how you counted. Also, due to some confusion in the Home Office about closing dates, the urban West Midlands plans were published too late for much consideration in the analysis. We did the work for Capacity Builders, who published it sotto voce on their website, and seemed to make use of some of the recommendations. The main report and the regional sections are a long read - mainly because we had to sort out the complex problem that the plans had not been produced in a consistent framework. But have a look at the Summary, and if that doesn't satisfy you, the other main sections are here too. Summary. Main report. Regional Section. Appendices.

How is Argentina's voluntary sector weathering the political crisis?
Trust & Foundation News, June 2002, and shorter version on Guardian Society website,  – I went to Argentina at the invitation of the British Embassy, who had a programme of bringing over people from the UK voluntary sector. Argentina was in a serious political and financial crisis, in which the best hope for the sector was the development of more corporate giving. The Grupo de Fundaciones in Buenos Aires still keeps in touch.

National Resource and Umbrella Organisations
An overview for the Treasury Cross‑cutting Review, December 2001. This Review led to the ChangeUp programme launched in 2002, which put serious money into resource and umbrella organisations or 'infrastructure and capacity building'. I like to think my overview (with a survey of numbers and types) was influential. There's much more background about Infrastructure, Resource and Umbrella Organisations, Capacity Building etc, in the Jargon buster; the terminology keeps changing, but the concepts endure.

How's it been since 1996?
review of enquiries into the voluntary sector (Trust & Foundation News, December 2001). It was a 'time' of reviews and enquiries. There were even more over the following year, prompting the 'SOAP' editorial; see 'Lighter pieces', below.

Reporting on the Charity Commission
Trust & Foundation News, December 2001
A comparison of the Commission's own Annual Report with a contemporaneous one from the National Audit Office which had just reviewed the Commission, thus giving parallel accounts, both of which were supposed to be objective! I noted that the Commission was being rather defensive, while not making the best of the information at its disposal.


September 11th, A news article, including an eye witness report from a friend in New York, plus my editorial, written on September 14th 2001.

7th July - In 2005, the situation was the other way around. I was in London when the bombs went off, receiving anxious enquiries from American cousins, so I had to reassure them that we were OK and tell them what it was like in London. This is one of my emails, as written. Like Madeline Lee's account four years earlier, it wasn't intended for publication and hasn't been published elsewhere. But it captures the feel of the day, as ordinariness turns to interest, and then to fear for friends and colleagues as I realised that one of the bombs had gone off virtually outside ACF's offices. Frankly, in 2001 I was mainly being a journalist and did a better reporting job (forbearing to mention that my brother-in-law had not long previously lived in Battery Park City, just next to the World Trade Centre, so it was very familiar to me), and comparing personal accounts of the corresponding events, my friend Madeline was the better witness.

Luke FitzHerbert - My friend and colleague Luke FitzHerbert, doyen of the Directory of Social Change, died tragically in January 2007. Here's a tribute I wrote for Trust & Foundation News, who published it in February.

Lighter pieces

Ding dong, the Trustee Investments Act 1961 is dead
Actually the Christmas 2000 editorial from Trust & Foundation News. The cause for celebration was the coming-into-force of the Trustee Act 2000, after 11 years' campaigning by me and ACF.

The SOAP editorial (T&FN, December 2002)
Prompted by just too many government reviews!
Read it in the voice of the announcer from the great American comedy series SOAP.

Magical connection
Nothing to do with work, this. I'm indulging my hobby, another thing you can do on your own website. I'm a fan of John Sebastian and the Lovin' Spoonful. This article appeared in two parts, in successive editions of the UK fanzine Daydream, around 2001. Magical Connection is one of Sebastian's best songs. Daydream is another. (It's also my cellphone's ringtone!) This article tells fellow amateur guitarists how to play 'em.

Amazon reviews
Look out for me as a reviewer (under the name 'Daydreamer') of CDs by Dion, the Cookies, Ellie Greenwich, Johnny Nash, Cliff Richard and others.

Publications I've helped with
- usually through a review group or editorial board

Philanthropy UK – Project Steering Group, 2001-2

Cross-Cutting Review of the role of the voluntary and community sector in service delivery

Working Group on Capacity Building
H M Treasury, 2002

Patterns of Independent Grant-Making in the UK
Cathy Pharoah & Jeremy Vincent, Charities Aid Foundation, 1999

Who pays for core costs?
Julia Unwin, Association of Chief Executives of National Voluntary Organisations, 1999

Monitoring and Evaluation: a practical guide for grant-making trusts, Des Palmer, Association of Charitable Foundations, 1998

Guidelines for Funders of Voluntary Organisations,
ACF, Corporate Responsibility Group and diverse Government departments and local authority associations, 1997

Trends, Myths and Realities - funding policies and the local voluntary sector
Unwin & Westland, Association of Charitable Foundations, 1997

Fairness in Funding
Roland Doven & Fiona Ellis, Association of Charitable Foundations, 1995

Resourcing the Voluntary Sector
Robert Hazell & Ted Whybrew, ACF, Charities Aid Foundation, and Corporate Responsibility Group, 1993

Good Grant-Making - a practical guide
Rodney Hedley & Colin Rochester, Association of Charitable Foundations, 1993

Trusts in Transition: the policy and practice of grant-giving trusts, Diana Leat, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1991