BIG Small Grants Evaluation: Study Description

Funded by: Big Lottery Fund


June 2008 to December 2008

PSI researchers:

Deborah Smeaton

Kathryn Ray

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 .