Every grant round, we ask applicants to tell us how they found the process and what improvements we could make in the future.
Following the first grant round for 2021/22, 81 applicants (out of 179 organisations) completed our feedback survey.
The most common findings from the survey were:
- Time to complete the application varied significantly – most people spent between 7 and 12 hours completing their application, but some took up to 20 hours.
- Most respondents (85%) found the application form very easy to relatively easy to complete.
- Most respondents (70%) felt that we ask for the right amount of information (this has increased since previous surveys, meaning our forms are getting simpler!)
- Respondents indicated that the Grants Support Team were incredibly helpful in navigating the application process.
What we learned
As part of our commitment to making the grant application process as easy as possible for people, we have identified some key findings that will help guide future improvements.
Streamline our application forms
While simplifying our application forms is an ongoing goal for the Grants Support Team, most respondents felt that the whole application process was ‘about the same’ as previous years with only 20% believing the process has become easier over time. Here’s what some of the applicants said:
“There is too much info required that did not relate specifically to the grant I was applying for.”
“The form feels cluttered and difficult to navigate.”
This round we removed extraneous questions from the application form, where possible. But while some respondents noticed the difference, others still felt the forms are too complicated and the process too onerous.
Clarify why we ask certain questions
You’re still unsure about why we are asking you certain questions. For example, some people asked about the relevance of the gender equality questions have to the application.
We’ll be putting some thought into how we can better explain why we ask these and other questions, and how they factor in the assessment of your applications so that the whole process is more meaningful to you.
Increase word count limits
There was consistent feedback about the challenges of word count limits.
The word limits are meant to indicate how much time we expect you to spend responding to these answers, and how much information you provide. It also helps our assessors as long applications take a lot longer to assess. But we do want to find the right balance between the information we ask you to provide, and giving you enough space to articulate your ideas.
In the future, we will review all word counts in the form to ensure they are less restrictive for our applicants.
Continue our support for applicants
The majority of survey respondents (81%) told us that the support we provided during the application process met their needs. This included email and phone support from the Grants Support Team.
“Phone support was most valuable as a quick, two-way discussion allowed us to refine our application easily.”
We’d still like to make contact with those of you who didn’t seek assistance this round and will continue to think about how we can reach out to you during the year – not just at application and reporting ‘crunch time’!
It also included the resources (instructions, tips, videos and FAQs) which you loved. Interestingly, this year more of you accessed the video tutorials compared to last year.
“This gets better and better every year. I love how the CBF team keeps coming up with good ways to complete the applications. Please keep doing that. It is a huge help to us volunteers out in the field.”
We’ll keep adding to our resources, so that you have everything you need to successfully complete your future applications.