Small Green Shoots

Small Green Shoots

Laying strong foundations – Small Green Shoots

Who are Small Green Shoots?

Small Green Shoots was founded in 2009 with the aim of giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to engage with music and the arts, using these experiences as a springboard for their future.

Before A5cend’s involvement

In 2013, they were awarded funding from Arts Council England’s Catalyst Grant to help develop the organisation and build its fundraising capacity.

At the time, Small Green Shoots was one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, so received a 3-year grant (around £40k/year), as well as receiving smaller one-off grants from music industry trusts, local authorities and London-based trusts, whilst earning additional income from consultancy work, e.g. community events sponsored by businesses. However, it did not have any large multi-year funding, so was keen to develop fundraising with trusts and foundations.

How A5cend helped

Small Green Shoots contracted A5cend to carry out some fundraising and general development work.

A5cend first helped them to complete an organisational health check, a self-assessment checklist which identified its strengths, weaknesses, gaps and areas for development. Based on this, A5cend advised Small Green Shoots to register as a charity, to help with the organisation’s development and ensure it was better placed to access larger-scale funding from trusts and foundations.

A5cend also assisted Small Green Shoots with its organisational strategy. This identified areas for development, such as: putting in place certain policies and procedures; refreshing/expanding the board of trustees; developing a trustee training programme; expanding the management team (there was only one manger, which was identified as a risk); and changing the financial year-end to March to align with key funders’ year-end, making reporting and bid-writing much less complicated.

Services delivered:

Charity registration

Policy review

 Budgeting support

Charity financial compliance support

Fundraising strategy

Funding bids revenue and core

 Fundraising training


 Business planning

Narrative development

Theory of change

“It takes time to develop trusts and foundations fundraising. We had to do a lot of work to get our organisation into shape before we could begin fundraising. We needed to make sure our structures, policies and processes were fit for purpose before we even met the criteria for many funders.”

“A5cend supported us a lot with becoming a charity. They really helped us get the wording of our Articles of Association and Charitable Objects right so that they weren’t too specific and guided us through the whole process of registering with the Charity Commission.”

The ongoing partnership and financial outcomes

Small Green Shoots decided to continue working with A5cend, paying for the additional contracts out of its own funds. It took a while for the development work to filter through, but they have now started to see financial returns on this investment. It laid the foundations for them to be able to successfully apply for much larger and longer-term grants, most notably two substantial multi-year grants from recognised public funders.

“Had we not become a charity and done all the development work, I don’t think we would have been eligible to apply for Children in Need or Comic Relief. Other funders, such as Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, have also increased their funding to Small Green Shoots, which has helped us to grow.”

For more information about Small Green Shoots, visit their website: