ACF is the membership body for foundations and grant-making charities and is the only organisation that brings them together across the UK. We provide insights, guidance and learning, and facilitate networking to support foundations to be ambitious and effective in the way they use their resources for social good.
More than 400 organisations are proud to be part of the ACF community. Our membership is inclusive and welcomes family trusts, corporate foundations, livery companies, broadcasting appeals and other grant-makers. Our members range in size from small and local grant-makers to some of the world’s largest foundations.
Find out how your organisation can become a member here.
Benefits of ACF membership
Information and guidance
We keep our members informed of the issues that affect them through:
• our digital newsletter – Funders News, summarising key information UK foundations need to know about changes in charity regulation and within the sector;
• our magazine – Trust and Foundation News, packed with sector news and shared member experiences, published three times a year;
• briefings on key policy issues affecting trusts and foundations, such as safeguarding, governance and fraud guidance;
• annual members surveys including a salary & benefits survey from 2021
• free copies of our publications which provide vital reference material or summarise current thinking.
Events and networking
(*Where possible all our events are currently being run online and recorded)
We connect trustees and foundation professionals by providing a safe space, in person*, online and in print for the sharing of knowledge, experience and best practice. Our members benefit from:
• discounted fees for professional development and learning events;
• significant discount to attend our ACF Annual Conference – delivered as a virtual conference in 2020, the biggest trust and foundation sector event of the year;
• exclusive access to member-led peer networks on areas of funding interest or grant-making practice. These networks meet at least twice per year and each have a dedicated digital space for members to connect between meetings;
• an annual reception for foundation Chairs and special events for foundation leaders, such as roundtables on advocacy and place-based funding;
• the Social Impact Investors Group (SIIG) – a network for Foundations interested in starting or currently undertaking social impact investing. SIIG runs some free events for ACF members;
• support from a dedicated staff team to answer queries and put members directly in touch with their peers.
Policy and Advocacy
We strive to increase public understanding of the work and role of UK trusts and foundations, and for an enabling policy and operating environment for charitable foundations. Our sustained engagement with governments, policy makers and charity regulators provides a platform for members to voice their perspectives, resulting in greater collective influence on legislation and decision-makers.Through our policy work we represent members and the wider sector foundations by:
• defending the independence of foundations so they can operate flexibly and in a way that is most aligned to their individual missions;
• engaging with officials within the charity regulators and government departments to influence legislation, policies and guidance, such as the government's Civil Society Strategy in England & HMRC's guidance on Common Reporting Standard;
• working collaboratively with sector partners to promote the value of the voluntary sector and civil society.
• regional and international collaboration on behalf of members through DAFNE and individual country/regional forums
ACF members can get directly involved with our policy and advocacy work in a range of ways, including:
• helping ACF strengthen the evidence-base and promote the contribution of UK foundations through engagement with initiatives such as Stronger Foundations and Foundation Giving Trends
• engaging directly with ACF policy and policy-makers in government through the Members Policy Forum
• receiving regular updates on ACF’s involvement with sector-wide initiatives, including the Funder Commitment on Climate Change and the Funders’ Collaborative Hub.