BIG Small Grants Evaluation: Study Description

Funded by: Big Lottery Fund


June 2008 to December 2008

Research project leader(s) at PSI

Deborah Smeaton

Background, summary and aims

PSI has been commissioned to review and evaluate Big Lottery Fund (BIG) programmes that support projects and initiatives up to a value of £50,000. Results from this research will inform decisions about future small grants funding policy and programmes within BIG.

The research will consist of seven phases which together provide a systematic evaluation of the BIG programme of small grants funding across the UK:

Phase I

Desk research and analysis of the Merlin dataset

Phase II

Key informant interviews with experts on third sector small-grant funding.

Phase III

A large scale postal survey of projects funded through BIG small grants programmes.

Phase IV

Telephone survey of other organisations providing small grant funding to the third sector.

Phase V

Interviews with BIG staff who administer small grants funding.

Phase VI

Case studies of a range of organisations that have received a small grant funding from BIG (current and legacy programmes).

Phase VII

Expert stakeholder workshops to explore best practice.

The research phases will address the core objectives of the evaluation: to assess the purpose, benefit and potential of BIG small grants; to ascertain the distinct features of small grants; to provide guidance on future directions for the small grants model of funding for BIG. In a synthesis of the evidence and in Phase VII, particular attention will be given to assessing the value added by the small grants model of funding, and identifying good practice .