The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) is the leading membership association for trusts and foundations in the UK, with over 300 members ranging in size from small and local grant-makers to some of the world’s largest charitable foundations. ACF provides a framework within which trusts and foundations can learn from each other’s experience, explore matters of common concern, and share and achieve good practice in grant-making.
To help deliver these services, ACF is running and developing a knowledge sharing website that is open to all funders. Following a successful 6-month pilot trial, the association approached Nominet Trust with a request for additional funding to support a 12-month extension of the project so that it could develop a sustainable value model.
One of the original purposes of piloting the website was to determine what works when developing a site with the express purpose of knowledge sharing. Extending the pilot will give ACF something tangible to benchmark the initial test phase against. It will also enable the association to ascertain what the ‘normal’ level of activity on the site will be following initial interest in the pilot. This, in turn, will provide a clearer idea of the level of resources required to sustain activity over the long term, particularly in terms of personnel input.
ACF plans to use the additional funding to further develop the website, acting on feedback gained from site users during an evaluation of the initial 6-month pilot.
Feedback on functionality
The ultimate objective of the project is to increase usage of the new site by the wider funding community – something that is key to securing its long-term sustainability. The site itself will be developed based on user feedback. As part of this, the project will seek to understand current barriers, and reaction to functionality and the look and feel, as well as trialling some new functionality suggested by funders who use the site.
The knowledge sharing website is open to staff and trustees of all types of funding organisations, including local authorities, community foundations, charitable grant makers and any other UK-based organisation that makes grants for charitable purposes.