Insights & Learning
Older People & Housing: Request for Proposal into Loneliness

The Mercers’ Company wishes to commission an independent consultant to review the existing grantee evaluation information and to advise on the most effective way of grantee reporting going forward, to ensure proportionality for the grantee and to build up a better understanding of the grantee older people loneliness portfolio.  


As part of its new strategy – signed off in 2017 - the Mercers’ Company designated older people and housing as one of its philanthropic priorities. In 2019 its funding committee took a further decision to focus its work in this area on addressing loneliness and social isolation.

Two years of funding loneliness initiatives has provided a sizeable library of monitoring and evaluation returns from grantees with considerable learning potential. This has not been independently analysed or assessed to date.

Furthermore, in April 2023, the new Philanthropy strategy will be launched so it is imperative that we understand the key lessons from the current and past grantees to influence our thinking for the new strategy.

About the Mercers’ grants

Older People and Housing is one of three grant giving priorities for the Mercers’ Company, alongside Young People and Education and Church and Communities. Within the Older People and Housing Committee, 85% of the grants awarded focus on combatting loneliness. Most of these grants are for delivery organisations working directly with older people to provide meaningful connections and activities. Although there are a wide range of activities, including the provision of befriending, advocacy, creative and physical activities, there is a common goal around improving connections.

Most grants are multi-year and are between £30,000 to £150,000 in total. They typically cover salary and delivery costs, with some grants now unrestricted to support organisational development. Grantees are asked to report annually, with reflective questions and progress against initial outcomes. Many of these outcomes have changed due to Covid-19. For the majority of grantees, the Mercers’ Company grant will form part of the project costs or a minority of total organisational costs.

Aims of the research

The overall aims of the evaluation are to:

  • Analyse the current bank of grantee qualitative and quantitative data, drawing out key themes and learnings;
  • Advise on how the Mercers’ Company might record data going forward to be able to better aggregate across the portfolio;
  • Advise on the design of monitoring form(s) for the new strategy.


The evaluator should produce a short report (no more than 10 pages) summarising key learning themes. The primary audience for the report would be the Mercers’ Company including staff and Committees.

The report should:

  • Highlight key themes and lessons emerging from the analysis of the grantee reports;
  • Offer examples of effective monitoring and evaluation practice;
  • Suggest options for more effective reporting to be implemented in the new strategy.

Contractors will also be asked to provide summaries of their work suitable for presentation via PowerPoint and should expect to be asked to present their work to a meeting of grant holders.

Data available

The Mercers’ Company will share data with the contractor around the size and nature of grant holders’ agreements, and the projects for which they are funded. It is important to note that Mercer’s funding often represents a contribution to, rather than the total cost, of projects undertaken by grant holders, and many grants cover core costs.

Grant holders submit a range of data to the Mercers’ Company at the point of application and provide annual monitoring reports, in which they report back on outcome measures agreed individually with the Mercers’ Company at the point of award. The Mercers’ Company does not require grant holders to collect data on any specific measures – as such grant holders measure outcomes using a range of qualitative and quantitative data.

Contractors will have access to grant holders’ annual monitoring reports, where these have been submitted. The Mercers’ Company will also be able to share a range of more informal information regarding grant holders’ activities – including case studies, and notes from regular check-ins with the Grants Programme Manager.

Timelines and budget

The budget for this project is a maximum of £15,000 including VAT.

It is expected that the project will start in January 2022 and conclude by the end of June 2022.

To tender for this opportunity

Bidders should submit a short proposal outlining their understanding of the brief; their proposed approach and methods; how they will deal with constraints (including the range and variety of data available, the lack of existing evidence in this area, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic); the relevant experience of the team who will undertake the work; and their proposed timescales and costings.

Proposals should be sent to David Terrace ( by 5pm Wednesday 8th December.