Melanie May, 29th January 2020
Match Trading, a type of grant funding that matches an increase in income from trading pound-for-pound, is providing a financial boost for charities, according to the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
Match Trading grants were created by The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), and incentivise social organisations to develop their trading base by rewarding sales growth. Launched in 2017, so far they have been awarded to 500 voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations as part of SSE learning programmes. Match Trading is being developed by the Match Trading Task Force, whose members represent 20+ leading organisations from the social and private sectors.
Research based on 143 voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations that each took part in one of two national learning programmes run by the SSE show that they typically increased their income from trading by £17,000 – an uplift of 64% – compared with their income from trading in the previous year (calculated by the median). They were incentivised by a Match Trading grant capped at either £4,000 or £10,000, and a learning programme from the SSE.
The organisations outperformed a control group of 30 community businesses that received a traditional grant of £10,000, as well as a learning programme, increasing their income from trading at 2.5 times the pace of those supported by a traditional grant. The control group typically increased their trading income by £6,453 – or 21% – compared to the previous year.
Overall, the combined increase in income from trading among the 143 organisations was £5.5 million over a one-year period.
The organisations either took part in the Community Business Trade Up Programme, run in partnership with Power to Change; or the Lloyds Bank & Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. The programmes were delivered across the UK by the SSE’s network of regional schools and give students access to a learning programme, a grant and a peer-to-peer support network.
Community Business Trade Up Programme
The Community Business Trade Up Programme is a nine-month learning programme accompanied by a grant or Match Trading grant of up to £10,000 for early-stage community businesses that are planning to grow. The programme has supported over 200 community businesses so far and is now in its fifth year. It includes 12 learning days, a mentor and support from a network of peers. It re-opens for applications in autumn 2020.
Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme
The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme is a 12-month learning programme run in partnership with SSE and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. It has three levels at Start Up, Trade Up and Scale Up. At Trade Up and Scale Up level it is accompanied by a Match Trading grant of up to £4,000 or £7,000 for social enterprises looking to increase their trading and impact, or to scale.
The programme provides an action-based, 12-month learning programme, delivered through SSE’s network of schools in England and Scotland, a grant, and a mentor from Lloyds Banking Group. Launched in 2012, the programme will run for 10 years, and has supported almost 2,000 social entrepreneurs. This programme will re-open for applications in March 2020.
Carol Mack, CEO of the Association of Charitable Foundations and chair of the Match Trading Task Force said:
“These latest figures are incredibly encouraging for the future potential of Match Trading grants. Our aim is to help support stronger and more viable voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, capable of achieving truly sustained impact.”
Alastair Wilson, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, added:
“Match Trading grants work best when they form part of a learning programme. The supportive environment helps develop the entrepreneur’s skills, confidence and an entrepreneurial mind-set, whilst the Match Trading grant empowers and incentivises the organisation to upscale their trading potential.
“The Match Trading grant is not a magic bullet and should be viewed as one way of helping organisations become less grant dependent. Social enterprises need a range of income sources, from funding to trading, depending on their business model, stage of growth and sustainability plan.”
The SSE is keen to partner more other private, public and charitable organisations interested in trying Match Trading grants for the organisations they support, and invites them to email firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected.