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Our impact on the third sector

'Wherever there is money there is influence'
Exploring the Big Lottery Fund's impact on the third sector
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The Big Lottery Fund is a major funder of the voluntary and community sector. But our influence on the sector goes beyond simply investing funds in organisations – it includes the way that we fund and the requirements we place on applicants and grant-holders.

The Third Sector Research Centre has explored the wider effect that the Big Lottery Fund and our predecessor organisations have had on the sector over the last fifteen years, noting how our relationship with the sector has evolved over time.

The study found a range of impacts and perceptions. Beyond the direct influence of funding decisions and our relationship with grant-holders, our size and approach has helped the sector to move more towards focusing on outcomes and to promoting the principle of full-cost recovery. At the same time, we have had to balance a wide range of stakeholder priorities. The report identifies five specific areas that we, and our many stakeholders, might usefully consider further:

  • How could we do more to widen and deepen our engagement with the sector?
  • How could we and the groups we deal with be more transparent in the ways we deal with each other?
  • How can we work further towards becoming a truly intelligent funder?
  • What can we do to reinforce our independence from government, while acknowledging the limits of that independence?
  • Should we take a more active and strategic role in influencing the sector, and if so how?


Please contact us if you have any comments or questions.