NHS Tayside Charitable Foundation

How NHS Tayside Charitable Foundation Nearly 10X’d Their Grant Applications Since Switching to Beacon

In the heart of Dundee, Scotland, the NHS Tayside Charitable Foundation plays a vital role in supporting local healthcare initiatives. They exist to help people in Tayside live better for longer, and do this through a new funding programme distributing funds to NHS Tayside services and throughout the community of Tayside. They also fundraise to increase the impact of the charity and wraparound support offering partnership opportunities, advice and collaboration.

The Foundation's previous grant application process was a logistical nightmare, where applicants braced themselves for an obstacle course of back-and-forth emails, printed forms and Word documents, with no visibility of their application’s progress. This often caused delays and the manual nature of everything left the team open to potential errors. Internally, the lack of a centralised system meant data was scattered across spreadsheets and paper files, hindering any kind of visibility and reporting. A literal flood even damaged some of their historical records (thankfully sparing everything from recent years) - just another reason to move to a cloud-based way of managing data!

Recognising the need for change, the Foundation found Beacon and transformed how they manage their grants programme. They immediately overhauled their application process, setting up a Beacon form to handle all applications through their website. That first step eliminated the need for physical paperwork, and simplified the submission process for applicants to no end. One single form now sits on the website for everyone, regardless of the fund they were applying for, simple!

Internally, Beacon provided a single view of applications for the team to review and filter based on the project, the fund it’s linked to, the stage of the application, the amount applied for, whatever the team needed to see at a given time. A unified view of all applications enabled real-time tracking, collaboration, and comprehensive reporting, with the whole team finally on the same page. From being unable to report on campaign progress previously, the team now runs both annual and quarterly reports for trustees with ease.

For the first time, they had full oversight of exactly what was happening across the organisation. This helped them highlight to trustees just how in-demand their services really are, and they were able to hire two new team members to help meet that demand.

How the Foundation leveraged Beacon was nothing short of remarkable. Their November 2023 relaunch saw an unprecedented surge in applications. They were previously dealing with 15-20 applications but the new launch saw over 120, totalling over £13 million in application value for a £1.5 million fund.

"I don't know what we'd have done after the relaunch if we hadn't had Beacon. It would have been carnage!".

This overwhelming response not only demonstrated how easy applicants found the new process to navigate, but it’s also a testament to the team’s ability to promote the charity and spread the word.

Needless to say their new tools have been put to good use. Previously, the Foundation was able to distribute £700,000 in a year. With the new application process, making it easier to apply for both restricted and unrestricted funding, they’ll be able to distribute £3 million this year. That injection of funding to healthcare projects will be invaluable to local services and the wellbeing of the wider community as a whole.

Having never had an online system before, Shelley was initially concerned about how the team would adapt to it. But once they saw how easy it made their lives, they jumped in head-first! They’re now regular attendees at Beacon’s free Lighthouse events, where Luke, Beacon’s resident Lighthouse Keeper, teaches users how to squeeze every bit of value from Beacon. 

They’re also big fans of Beacon’s customer Facebook group, a private group for customers to come together, bounce new ideas off each other, share nuggets of wisdom, and ask questions so that everyone benefits from each other’s experience. 

NHS Tayside Charitable Foundation has transformed its grant management from a jumble of paperwork to a streamlined, data-driven process. By simplifying applications, empowering staff, and enhancing visibility, the Foundation is now better equipped to fulfil its mission of supporting local healthcare initiatives and improving the lives of those they serve. 

Curious to see how Beacon could transform your charity? Get in touch or sign up for a free 14 day trial.

Discover what’s possible with a modern charity CRM.