Comment heard a few days ago … (paraphrased) “I’ve built up a good relationship with my funder so it’s easier for me to get funded.”

My first thought was – yay, this is good, more money for good projects, going to a good person. This is what third sector organisations should be doing, building good relationships with funders, earning their trust, getting funded.

But then, in light of our government spending lots of money with companies that seems to have the only qualification of being good buddies with a minister, I questioned the comment and my reaction.

When and where is the line drawn? When does that ease of funding become a little too easy? When does a project get funded based more on the relationship between organisation and funder than the value of the project?

To be clear, I’m not necessarily meaning anything corrupt is happening, I’m thinking about perhaps Project A isn’t quite as good as Project C, perhaps not as many people will benefit, perhaps the figures aren’t quite right, but the person bidding for money for Project A – well, they’re great, we know them, they’ve done good stuff in the past, let’s give them the money even though Project C is possibly a better use of our money.

When, if at all, does the relationship influence success more than the facts & figures?