Feedback and Learning

At GCF there are a variety of ways that we gather feedback from applicants and grantees to help us develop and improve the service we provide

GCF believes strongly in continuous growth and development.  We are always learning and continually trying to improve the service that we provide to applicants and grantees across Gloucestershire communities.

Your feedback is really important to us and always treated seriously.  There are a variety of ways that you can provide feedback to us:

  • By telephone to Sarah Sharma, the Grants Manager (07444 124 390)
  • In writing by email (
  • As part of your end of grant reports if you are a grant recipient
  • Via our Let’s Talk, Let’s Listen online events
  • By responding to our community surveys

Here are some examples of feedback that have helped us to develop the way we work:

Areas for Improvement

Our survey also identified other areas for improvement where a small number of respondents (between 1 and 4%) scored the process ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ including:

  • Knowing when to apply

We now send reminders prior to application deadlines and publish these clearly on our website as well as social media and other charity newsletters

  • Attaching documentation

We have reduced the additional documentation required to only those documents not publicly available and necessary for assessing a grant application.  We have provided various methods for submitting the documents.

  • How you were given a decision

Whilst it isn’t possible to support every application, and it can be very disappointing for applicants who are unsuccessful, we aim to make sure that constructive feedback is given for those applications that are unsuccessful and are open to conversations to discus potential future improvements.  We have also introduced a two-stage application process to reduce the number of ineligible applications (a process backed by IVAR research and feedback).

  • Time taken to provide a decision

As a small team working with high levels of demand for our funds this can be a challenge at peak times. We have worked to spread our grant programmes as much as possible and also publish timelines for decisions for all of our grant programmes on our website.  In times of urgent need, we run rolling grants programmes with an express grants panel to enable us to provide decisions within 2-5 weeks.

Application Forms

Whilst 74% of survey respondents thought our application forms were ‘just the right length’, 26% felt they were either ‘too long’ (19%) or ‘far too long’ (6%)

Whilst the majority of respondents found the application process OK, Easy or Very Easy, 17% found it quite difficult which indicates a barrier (especially if potential applicants find the form so difficult that they don’t proceed)

I think some groups would need support in understanding how to meet the criteria.”

“An ‘any other information’ box might be helpful – as often there are things I want to add in but not sure quite where they fit.”

I think the questions on your application form are clear and ensure it is as easy as possible to know what information to provide and where. The only reason I have put easy rather than very easy is because it can always be a challenge to meet word counts!”

We have conducted a review of all of our application forms to remove any questions that are not used as part of our assessment process and have also worked to ensure that application forms are more proportionate to the grant-size available for the programme.  We have also provided annotation within the application forms to provide additional guidance about the types of information to include in each section. We have also provided an optional text box to include any other information that applicants wish to provide.

Communicating with GCF

74% of applicants made contact with GCF prior to making an application – this was either by email (43%), telephone (28%), or attendance at an event (3%)

Applicants were asked to score GCF on ‘Being Approachable’, ‘Being Helpful’, ‘Being Knowledgeable’, ‘Being Professional’ and ‘Resolving Queries’

More than 90% of applicants rated GCF as ‘Excellent’, ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’ across all of the categories.

“My telephone conversation gave me hope for the future”

“I think it’s the staff that help ease the process so it becomes less intimidating.”

“I’d also like to add ‘being empathic’ on this list – knowledge/professional is nothing without empathy. and I would say yes, they are excellent at being empathic.”

“Sarah the Grant Manager is patient toward applicants, she always responds to queries, and she is very helpful.”

“I haven’t’ needed to be in touch very much, but when I have things have been quickly and helpfully dealt with”

Communication was noted as a barrier for applying to GCF with 18% of respondents stating that knowing how to contact GCF was a barrier.

We have ensured that our contact details are available in various locations within our updated website as well as in our grants criteria.  A next step will be to provide accessible communication methods such as bookable online meetings and adding a Text-Relay phone number to our website.

Sometimes people just want to say thank you.  Whilst not guiding us towards change, these comments also mean a lot to our small team and really help to motivate us in supporting people and organisations in our county:

“I would like to thank Sarah Sharma for her help with the application and for always answering any queries in a timely manner” Fairford Skate Park

“YMCA is grateful for the continued support of Gloucester Community Foundation – who make a significant impact across so many local charities and our communities.” YMCA

“Excellent process. Thank you for supporting Together In Matson to the benefit of the community.” Together in Matson

“These grants are always very welcome as they understand our local community and how relatively small investments can have wide reaching benefit. The process is all very user friendly” ArtShape

“I have been SO grateful for the support from Sarah Sharma. She made funding accessible and understandable. She gave me her personal time and patience. When there were glitches (not quite sure if this was computer, or me!) she was patient and extended assistance. Of all the grant managers I interacted with last year, Sarah was my best experience. Thank you! It means so much to feel that funders care about us, understand the mountains we face and help us to climb them.” Listening Post