Grants Administrator – AIM

Job Title: Grants Administrator
Salary: £11,920
Hours: 0.6 FTE / 22.2 hours per week
Term: Fixed-term 18 months with intention to make permanent
Location: AIM at National Waterways Museum, Cheshire
Closing date: 11:59 pm 8 November 2021


The Association of Independent Museums is a membership organisation, established in 1977 to represent the interests of a booming independent museums sector. In the 1970s and 1980s new, thematic museums began to spring up, driven by the enthusiasm of individuals and communities fascinated by the history on their doorstep, who decided to take things into their own hands and save it, resulting in an extraordinary blossoming of a new type of museum – the Independents.

Independent museums are long-standing, successful social enterprises, run in a business-like way. They play a valuable role in their communities, contributing to a sense of place and making up an important part of the tourism economy. Independent museums and galleries are more numerous than all other types of museum, making up more than half of all museums in the UK.

Forty years on, AIM is now widely recognised as a significant strategic heritage organisation, with a national profile across the four home nations of the UK. It has a growing membership of over 1,200, including over 1,000 museums. Whilst the majority of AIM membership are small museums (62%), often run with only a few staff and/or volunteers and annual visitor attendance of fewer than 20,000, the diversity and scale of membership is remarkable, and includes some of the largest and most visited museums in the UK, many holding designated collections. The range of collections and the associated stories these independent museums tell is wonderful and represents our deep-seated interest in history and how it has shaped the lives we live today and the places in which we live.

According to research undertaken by AIM in 2019, independent museums in the UK support 8,900 local jobs, provide volunteering opportunities for 34,000 people, attract 24 million visitors each year, and have an annual overall gross economic contribution of £730m. AIM provides a wide range of services for its members including delivering an annual two-day conference and trade show, distributing small grants, training and advice, producing a suite of Success Guides, the bi-monthly bulletin and a rich resource through its website.

Increasingly, AIM is also at the forefront of influencing national policy decisions affecting our members. AIM is supported by a number of external funders including Arts Council England, the Welsh Government, The Pilgrim Trust, and Biffa Award.

Our Strategic Purpose & Governance Structure
AIM exists to support its membership. This support helps independent museums to prosper and provide better services for their visitors – primarily the advancement of the public’s understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of a relevant, safe-guarded history and heritage. This is the ‘public benefit’ which, as a registered charity, AIM seeks to achieve.

AIM is established as an independent charitable trust (No. 1082215) and a limited company (No. 1350939). It is governed by a Board of Trustees, drawn from and appointed by the voting membership of the Association. The current Chair is Andrew Lovett, who is also the Chief Executive of the Black Country Living Museum.

Specifically, as a charity, the Board works to ensure compliance with its legal duties to: (i) act in the interests of the charity and its beneficiaries; (ii) protect and safeguard the assets of the charity; (iii) act with reasonable care and skill and (iv) ensure the charity is accountable.

Our latest Annual Report & Accounts is a good place to check out recent successes, developments, and our response to COVID-19.

Our People
AIM is a relatively small organisation with seven paid roles including two currently being recruited for. AIM has an office base at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port. During the pandemic, all staff have worked from home, with one working from home as standard. Staff are now continuing to work flexibly, enjoying the benefits of working from home combined with the benefits of collaboration from being together in the office. The postholder will be expected to work from the office at least one day a week.

Staff are engaged with a range of duties in support of the membership, including communications, marketing, grant administration, conference organisation, membership services, training and development, web management, advocacy, and assisting the Director.

Our Finances
For the financial year ending 31 December 2019, AIM had income of £961k (including membership fees of c£110k), of which £381k was restricted external grants.

In April 2018 AIM secured a five-year investment programme from Arts Council England of £300k pa, as one of its Sector Support Organisations. This enables AIM to maintain a high level of activity in support of its membership, substantially above the level which could be funded from membership fees alone. AIM is awaiting to hear arrangements for applying again in the Arts Council’s forthcoming funding round (April 2023 onwards).

The main areas of cost for AIM are staffing, grant payments, the Bulletin magazine, annual conference, and administration.

More details on our current financial position are contained in our latest Annual Report & Accounts.

Our Programmes
AIM has an active and very popular grant programme, funded through external funders including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Biffa Award, The Pilgrim Trust, Arts Council England, and the Welsh Government. AIM typically makes around a hundred grants annually totalling over £500,000. AIM sees its grant programme as an important part of its work for members and wants to increase its scale, reach and impact, while maintaining high standards of grant delivery including ensuring that we are meeting the requirements of funders.

AIM runs a popular annual conference aimed at appealing to museum trustees, leaders, and professionals. In 2022 this conference will take place in June in Port Sunlight and the AIM Board has decided to emphasise the return of in-person interaction. AIM wants to continually review and improve the conference and introduce other types of events providing opportunities for networking, learning, and building community amongst independent museums and heritage sites regionally and nationally. We are currently running several leadership programmes virtually, recently launching one for rising leaders and experienced leaders in Wales and one focusing on resilience in difficult times for museum leaders in England.

During the covid-19 lockdowns AIM introduced Hallmarks at Home, a series of online learning and development sessions relating to the Hallmarks of Prospering Museums. These have seen positive take-up and this year we have added a paid course for new trustees. AIM wishes to explore expanding these opportunities for members and others in the sector to learn from experts, focusing on pragmatic advice helping with the day-to-day business of running an organisation, and in particular will be piloting more chargeable offers: we need to understand what works well and what our member appetite is for this.

One of AIM’s strengths is in supporting governance, working with the majority of our members which have independent charitable boards. The principal current offer is supporting trustees and museums to access bespoke consultancy on whatever issues they are facing, through microconsultancies and our Prospering Boards programme. We are interested in expanding this work, but need to ensure we have a valuable offer to members and are not duplicating services provided by other organisations .

AIM commissions research and Success Guides focusing on different elements of running independent cultural institutions, and produces other resources as needed. We also have offers through our partnerships, such as free membership of the Charity Finance Group and phone consultations for assistance with HR, tax and business rates.

The Future
Working with the Board, the recently-appointed Director is focusing on how to benefit our members, and, ultimately, their visitors. In this context, there is a focus on: (i) increasing the impact of our advocacy, (ii) being more proactive about shaping policy impacting our members, (iii) using the AIM brand, reputation and the values its stands for to engage directly with the public alongside the museums sector, (iv) increasing our resources, (v) marking AIM out from other membership and / or sector support organisations, (vi) increasing the impact of our grants programmes, and (vii) ensuring our members increase their relevance to a broad and diverse audience. Our goal is to position AIM membership as indispensable – an astute, strategic business decision. We have strength in numbers.

Job Profile for Post of Grants Administrator

Responsible to: Head of Programmes
Direct Reports: None
Other Staff: Director; Programmes and Events Officer; Head of Communications; Marketing Officer; Membership Administrator

Job Purpose
The purpose of this role is to support the Programmes team by administering AIM’s grant schemes. The role involves processing paperwork for applications, awards and payments; preparing information for reporting to funding bodies according to their requirements; co-ordinating and administering grants panels; and providing other admin support for AIM’s programmes.

What we want you to achieve (Success Criteria)

  • Timely and accurate grants administration ensuring that:
    • grants applications processes are well-organised and give applicants a fair chance
    • we understand how projects are progressing
    • museums get their payments when they request them
    • we have well-maintained records
    • funders get the information they need to be confident we are spending their money well
  • Help with other programmes to ensure they run smoothly, for example scheduling online learning sessions and ensuring contractors are paid.

Summary of the Role

  • Plan and administer end-to-end grant processes, including creating information packs for applicants, tracking incoming applications, organising grant panels of 4-8 people to make decisions, taking notes at grant panel meetings, communicating with applicants about decisions, gathering information from successful applicants, collecting information from ongoing projects, assessing drawdown requests and processing payments, and collecting final reports and managing closedowns.
  • Supporting the Programmes team and Director with development of programmes, including assisting with funding applications, drawing on insights from working with members who apply for and receive our grants.
  • Supporting other elements of programmes as required, for example supporting event planning, maintaining records of members accessing programmes, and administering bookings and payments.

What you’ll need (Experience, Knowledge & Personal Qualities)

  • An interest in museums and heritage and an understanding of the needs and context of the independent part of the sector and small museums is desirable
  • Experience of working in a small team and contributing with minimal supervision
  • Experience of general administration and maintaining financial records
  • Experience of working with customers
  • Good IT, written communication, and knowledge management skills
  • Well-organised, flexible, and able to manage different priorities

Main Terms & Conditions
This post is offered initially as an 18-month fixed term contract. This is due to the need to secure ongoing revenue funding for the organisation during 2022. This should be known by autumn 2022 at which point the post will be made permanent if possible.

The post of Grants Administrator is 0.6 Full Time Equivalent or 22.2 hours per week (22 hours and 12 minutes), with a maximum salary of £11,920 pro rata (£19,866 full time rate). AIM has an office base at Ellesmere Port (National Waterways Museum), Cheshire, CH65 4FW, at which the postholder will be required to work at least one day per week.

The working pattern will be agreed with the line manager, with flexible working available. The 22.2 hours can be split across three, four, or five days.

There is an annual holiday allowance of 15 days pro rata (25 full time rate), plus 8 statutory public holidays. AIM operates an auto-enrolment pension scheme at 4%.

A six-month probationary period will apply, supervised by the Head of Programmes and overseen by the Director.

Application & Selection Process

We welcome job applications from all sections of the community and will only consider applicants on the basis of their relevant experience, qualifications, skills and abilities. You are invited to apply in confidence by submitting your Curriculum Vitae together with a covering letter to Your covering letter should set out clearly why you are interested in the role, what you will bring to it, and how your experience and skills meet the points in the ‘what you’ll need’ section. Your cover letter should be no more than three sides and your CV no more than two sides. If you would like an initial confidential discussion, please email on the same address with your contact details.

Closing date: 11.59pm Monday 8 November 2021.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application.

Final Interviews are expected to take place in week commencing 22 November.

Please complete the separate Selection Monitoring Questionnaire to enable us to monitor the effectiveness of our recruitment policy and processes, so that we can ensure selection is carried out fairly. The information you provide will also help us identify any barriers to selection. The information you provide in the Selection Monitoring Questionnaire is purely for statistical monitoring purposes and will be treated in the strictest confidence. Your completed form will not be seen by those responsible for short-listing and will not, therefore, form part of the selection process.

Click here to download the Selection Monitoring Questionnaire>>

If you have a disability and require any adjustment to be made to either the application or interview process, in order for you to participate, please contact

AIM’s Equal Opportunities Statement
This policy statement sets out AIM’s commitment to being an equal opportunities employer and is an integral part of every aspect of our activities. It is based on the most recent legislation and represents the AIM’s commitment to tackling inequality, discrimination and disadvantage.

Our goal is equality of opportunity for everyone who uses, visits, works in and works for the independent museum sector, and we will provide services and develop employment practices accordingly. We are committed to making sure that prospective and present employees are afforded equal and fair treatment in relation to recruitment, selection, terms and conditions of employment, training and promotion.

AIM works to actively combat discrimination and make sure that prospective or present employees are not treated less favourably on the grounds of: Gender, Marital Status, Employment Status, Responsibility for Children or Dependents, Race, Colour, Religion, Ethnic or National Origin, Age, Disability, Class, Sexual Orientation, Gender Reassignment or by association with anyone with a protected characteristic or are disadvantaged by the application of any other conditions or requirements, which cannot be shown to be justified.

The Guiding Principle of AIM’s Tackling Inequality Hallmark is that our work must be informed by a wider range of voices and perspectives from diverse backgrounds at Board level, in the staff team, and through the grant panels and contractors we work with. New voices will provide us with strategic challenge, informed advice, and a change in how we work and how we view the world that we work in.

Data Protection Act 1998 and Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.

The information that you provide as part of your application will be used in the selection process. All information about you will be securely held, with access restricted to only those involved in dealing with your application. Unless you are appointed, your data will be kept for 12 months and then destroyed.

By submitting your application and Selection Monitoring Questionnaire, you are giving your consent to your data being stored and processed for the purposes of the selection process.

In order to comply with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 it may be necessary to see proof of your right to live and work in the United Kingdom. If proof is required, we will request it once an offer of employment has been made but before you take up employment.