Fundraising, Management & leadership, Trusts and foundations

Modern Grantmaking

Giving away money for a living - what could be better? But doing it well comes with difficult decision-making and enormous responsibility. So how do you get modern grantmaking right?

Modern Grantmaking is a practical guide for all professional grantmakers full of sensible advice on real-world grantmaking questions. It addresses the most important issues for funders including:

  • How do I know if I’m getting the basics right?
  • How do I formulate a funding strategy?
  • How should I use research?
  • How can I improve the experience of grantseekers and grantees?
  • How to manage both upwards and downwards?
  • How should I deal with power and privilege?

As well as being a fundamentally practical book, it is also unashamedly aspirational. It aims to be a focal point for reforming grantmakers who believe that ‘better is possible’. It is timely work for those who care deeply about the important business of funding a better world.

Who is this book for?

Anyone involved in the curious world of grantmaking whether you work for a private foundation, a government funder, or a corporate donor. It will be useful for fundraisers who want to understand more about what makes grantmakers tick.

‘What an absolute triumph of a book! I blew through it cover to cover, and enjoyed every moment. Reading it has given me the bandwidth I needed to unlock a way forward on a few things I have been grappling with at my foundation.’

Sufina Ahmad MBE, Director, John Ellerman Foundation


‘This is the book I wish I had when I started grantmaking. When I first started I felt a bit lost at sea. Training provided was about the nuts and bolts of day to day work but didn’t provide the context or critical analysis to help me explore the why or how of the work. This book provides a solid foundation to help make the sector better for grantmakers and grant seekers. It helps us to challenge ourselves and the way we do things so that we can best support the communities we aim to serve.’

Hannah Paterson, Senior Portfolio Manager, The National Lottery Community Fund

About the authors

Gemma Bull

Gemma was England Director and Funding Strategy Director for the UK’s largest community funder, The National Lottery Community Fund, which awards £600 million annually. Her responsibilities included building teams, leading hundreds of people and driving a major redesign of the whole organisation’s grantmaking. Previously she was Managing Director for Innovation and Enterprise at Leonard Cheshire Disability and Head of Innovation at Save the Children. She now specialises in supporting organisations to innovate, improve and collaborate.

Tom Steinberg

Tom is a nonprofit CEO turned grantmaker. He founded civic tech pioneers mySociety and developed data and technology policy for the UK government before becoming a senior executive at two of the UK’s largest institutional funders. Tom is an Ashoka Fellow, a board member at the International Consortium of International Journalists, and the co-founder of an open access education project run out of the Harvard Kennedy  School.




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