Research carried out by both the University of Bath and Brevio – a group founded by Marcelle Speller OBE – has found that 63% of grant applications by charities result in failure.

On average a charity applies for 22 grants a year, spending 18 hours completing each application.

Grant applications forms contain between 21 and 193 questions, and on average 1,622 words are needed per application.

All of this costs charities £1.1 billion each year.

None of this will come as a great surprise. Despite assiduous research using the Directory of Grant Making Trusts (DGMT), the Charity Commission website and other on-line sources, followed up by telephone calls to trusts likely to offer support, achieving a hit rate of more than 1 in 4 is challenging.

The University of Bath research blames the system for this waste of resources, while Brevio’s ( solution is to standardise grant questions, creating a system rather like UCAS – one application form to apply to multiple grants. This solution, Brevio claims, will free up time and money for both the charity and funder, that could be better spent on governance, communication, reporting, or helping the end beneficiaries.

Brevio has made a good point. Charities – especially small ones – need to maximise their grant seeking, but do not have the resources to devote large quantities of time and money to funding applications where the chances of success are slim.

The system needs to change – and Brevio might just have the answer.