How to Select Charities

There are thousands of highly effective charities in the UK and so we’ve tried to make the Giving is Great search engine efficient for finding them. When it comes to selecting charities that we wish to support financially through the EQ Foundation, we try to follow a series of guidelines that reflect our preferences.

First, we like to see support from highly respected grant makers. That is an indication that the charity has satisfied their due diligence procedures and been identified as a leader in their field. Since most grant makers exclude very small charities, this can mean missing some of the smallest and youngest causes. We try to compensate by tracking organisations that specifically target small charities, such as The Funding Network and The Bulldog Trust (through its The Fore programme).

Our preferred size range is for annual spending to be in the range of £500,000-£4 million; not too big and not too small. However, we do stretch that sometimes when we are short of suitable candidates in one of our target sectors.

Quality of management is an absolutely essential requirement. Running a charity is incredibly difficult and requires more than just dedication.

We usually like to see a record of growth; if that’s not been happening then we need to understand why. We are not saying that growth is necessarily an indicator of quality – a charity might have a very effective fundraising team despite having a poor programme. Lack of growth, though, might indicate a general lack of momentum and drive.

We don’t regard overhead costs as being a key indicator of professionalism. Management should always have a better idea of what’s necessary than us, so we don’t want to think that we might know better. We are much more interested in Impact. Can it be measured? If so, are there any trends or comparables with similar programmes?

We are attracted by Early Intervention programmes and especially those targeting Early Years – the first 1,000 days after conception are critical. It’s cheaper and more effective to build a fence at the top of a cliff than provide an ambulance to deal with those who fall off.

We tend to be wary of high profile disaster appeals. Not because we doubt the real need for help but the in the grand scale of human deprivation disasters are relatively unimportant. More than 15,000 children under 5 die EVERY DAY from malnutrition and preventable diseases.

Our current list of selected charities can be found here.

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