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This is what a strong end of year report looks like

Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

In recent months, we have provided some top tips for writing a great end of year report and produced a short animated video on setting outcomes and activities effectively.

While we hope these have been useful, we appreciate that it often takes seeing a real-life example to bring these tips to life. With this in mind, one of our current funded organisations has kindly agreed to us sharing their 1st year grant report publicly as an example of best practice.

The organisation's report landed on our desks in January and really stood out. Above all, it highlighted that, while we appreciate reporting to funders will never be the most exciting part of your job, it does provide a great opportunity for reflection and learning. 
The PDF we have provided also shows the report exactly as we see it. While we have anonymised it by removing the organisation's name and some of the names and locations mentioned in the content, the key details, what makes it such a strong example, are all included. 

So, what does the charity do?

This charity delivers targeted and intensive personal development programmes for vulnerable young people, designed to develop their life skills and confidence. The Robertson Trust awarded the charity a three-year grant of £20,000 per annum, towards the costs of delivering a programme of support to marginalised young people, aged 16-25. These are the furthest removed from the labour market and the organisation's work aims to build confidence, raise aspirations and improve employability. 

Some points to take note of...

...the report is fairly long. However, this is a result of the size of the grant (£60,000) being at the higher end of the scale. We do not expect the same level of information from smaller awards. Also, the charity was able to include findings from an external evaluation. We would not expect all grant holders, particularly smaller organisations or those with small grants, to undertake external evaluations. 

We will be sharing more strong reports throughout the year from organisations of all sizes. If you are a current grant holder, you will receive these via our new grant holder emails which will be launching shortly. Alternatively, you can sign up for our mailing list here

What we like about the report (download the report here)

First of all, the report provides comment on each of their agreed activities in turn, stating whether or not they were delivered, what they did and target numbers achieved. We liked this because it made it easy to see whether they were able to do what they’d set out to. (view report snippet)

The organisation is honest about things which didn’t quite go to plan in their project delivery and provide reasons why. We appreciate that this can be the case during the funding period and we want grant holders to be open with us when things don’t go as well as expected - after all, our funded organisations are the best source of sector knowledge we have, so this kind of information can help us with prioritising future support, particularly if we begin to see common trends. 

As well as activities, the organisation also reports on each of their agreed outcomes in turn, highlighting the differences made for participants with a mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence. The figures provided give us a sense of the collective differences participants experienced across the programme and the case studies add depth to this, giving us a real feel for the impact of the work.  

The organisation shows that they’re learning from their work and how they wish to improve their programme going forward. We thought this was positive as it showed they’re making changes based on what they’ve done so far, so that the programme is reaching the young people who would most benefit and to ensure that those young people have the best chance of achieving their goals.

A (very) small suggestion for improvement...

....some of the reporting on activities is a little target/numbers focused (although this is likely due to the nature of the activities agreed). We also like to see some softer detail - examples of what the personal development and goal setting sessions involved, for example. 


Many thanks to the funded organisation for allowing us to share their excellent report and we hope it provides a useful example for other organisations. Remember, if you have any questions about reporting, please feel free to contact our Giving Team. You can also read our reporting guidance here