Celebrating 55 years of The Directory of Grant Making Trusts

To celebrate the new edition of The Directory of Grant Making Trusts, Gabriella Poznansky, DSC’s Digital Content Officer, chats with author and DSC Researcher Jessica Threlfall.

DSC has been publishing books since 1975 so it’s safe to say that we have a long-standing legacy of creating and producing publications for the charity sector. Incredibly, over those 48 years, we’ve published over 700 different titles and sold a whopping half a million copies, helping charities all over the world. 

One title that has stuck with us through thick and thin is The Directory of Grant Making Trusts(DGMT). First published in 1968 by the Charities Aid Foundation, DSC took over publishing this staple title in 2001 and since then we haven’t looked back. The lead author for the 28th edition, which was just published in September, is my wonderful colleague Jessica Threlfall, who is part of the DSC Research Team. To celebrate this vital guide, and to learn a bit more about it, I put Jess in the hot seat and asked her a few questions. 

Jess, The Directory of Grant Making Trusts 2024/25 (DGMT) is now in its 28th edition and was originally published back in 1968. What makes it so durable and is it really still useful in the modern age? 

I believe DGMT’s durability can be attributed to a number of factors. For one, the guide is a unique resource that offers high-quality and comprehensive information on grant making. Over the years, our Research Team accumulated a wealth of knowledge on grant making charities in the UK and we consolidate this data into each edition of DGMT. The team puts in hours of work to include the most relevant and up to date information for over 2,000 grant-makers. For the 28th edition, our team invested approximately 1,900 hours collating this information. I think this approach has led DGMT to gain a reputation as a crucial source for fundraisers who need reliable and accurate information. 

As well as this, DGMT will always be relevant as the demand for charities and grant-making support remains strong. DGMT has seen the sector through several world challenges, COVID-19 and the Cost-of-Living Crisis being the latest. The guide has been a constant source of support throughout, bridging the gap between the organisations doing great things and the grant-makers seeking to fund them. 

I believe DGMT is absolutely still useful in the modern age. The guide is such a valuable offline reference in an increasingly technological world. Not everyone has constant access fast internet, and some people still prefer to use to offline resources. DGMT offers that option. Having a fully indexed physical guide could save a significant amount of time for an organisation with fewer resources, instead of spending hours sifting through the internet to identify potential funders.  

So, what makes DGMT different from other guides such as The Guide to Major Trusts? 

Unlike some of DSC’s other guides, DGMT does not provide independent analysis or further comment on funder’s activities, like you may find in the Guide to Major Trusts. Instead, DGMT was specifically designed to be a concise, straight-to-the-point guide on grant-makers in the UK. Each funder has a record with summarised information on details such as where and what grants are made for, application processes, grant total, contact details and more. This information is presented concisely in directory format. 

What are the challenges of researching DGMT? 

Thanks to the internet, researching DGMT has come a long way from the days of trudging down to the Charity Commission office. However, we do still face a number of challenges during our research. 

One of the major challenges is navigating the vast landscape of grant-makers out there. Our team thoroughly researches around 2,400 grant-makers overall (as well as searching for new ones) to ensure we include those that are most useful and relevant for our readers. This is very time-consuming process. Another challenge is condensing the sheer volume of information into concise and easy-to-read records. During our research, we spend hours reading through pages of annual reports and accounts, guidelines and websites and it takes a lot of time and care to ensure we capture the most important points. 

Lack of information can also pose a challenge. Whilst many grant makers are very open about their grant-making activities on their websites and reports, some are less so. Not all grant-makers have websites, some may not even have accounts if their income is below £25,000. This can make it more challenging to get a full picture of what an organisation is trying to achieve. For the cases where we have less to work with, we use all the available information on the relevant regulatory body (such as the Charity Commission Record). We hope to see more and more funder’s utilising online platforms to promote their grant-making activities, application process and so on, as this is beneficial not just for us but also for those looking for funding. 

Tell us more about this new edition, how many grant-making charities are new to the guide? 

For each edition of DGMT, we also look for new grant-makers to include that have never been featured in the guide before. In some cases, this is because the grant maker is relatively new. Many have even featured in one of the recent editions of The Guide to New Trusts. In other cases, the organisation may not have previously met our criteria for inclusion (i.e., have the capacity to give grants of over £50,000 annually.) Some funders even reach out to be included as they know what a valuable source DGMT is for connecting grant makers and organisations seeking funding. There are around 120 grant makers new to DGMT in the 28th edition. 

If you’re looking to fund your charity or community organisation, this new edition of The Directory of Grant Making Trusts can certainly help. Find out more here.