There has never been a better time to take a deep dive into the world of Private Ancillary Funds or PAFs.  

Twenty-one years ago, the Australian Government introduced this then-new form of philanthropy, which is modelled on the American independent family foundation. 

Today, there are approximately 2,000 PAFs, with a capital base of $10 billion. 

“I don’t think anyone could predict with much certainty how much philanthropy would grow and change because of PAFs,” Krystian Seibert, Policy & Regulatory Specialist at Philanthropy Australia, told Pro Bono news. 

“Since then, there’s been steady growth in donations into PAFs and grants out of PAFs. We’ve got over 2,000 PAFs now and just a bit over $7.3 billion in assets under management.” 

Krystian recently chaired the webinar ‘Celebrating the 21st birthday of PAFs’, hosted by The Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Research (ANZTSR) and Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS).  

Joined by panelists Rupert Myer AO, President of The Myer Foundation, and Dr Elizabeth Cham, former CEO of Philanthropy Australia, their discussion offered insight into why individuals and families establish PAFs and why this new form of philanthropy is important for the not-for-profit / for-purpose sector. You can watch the recording here. 

PAF best practices 

As Rupert, known for creating one of the first PAFs, pointed out on the webinar, mass mailouts are simply not a good approach. It takes work to develop relationships with PAFs. And yes—while PAFs are ‘the long game’, the reward is worth the time investment.  

Indeed, in our work with hundreds of for-purpose organisations across Australia, we know that the ‘cold approach’ to any major donor, including PAFs, is unlikely to be effective.  

The principles of best practice fundraising dictate that building relationships with your donors who have some affinity with your mission, and engaging them in a meaningful partnership, is a much stronger strategy. Quite simply, look for those donors who want to achieve the same objectives with their philanthropy, that you are delivering through your work. 

Accessing PAFs 

So, how does one access PAF funding? If you aren’t sure where to even begin, Strategic Grants’ Grants Expertise Management System (GEMS) is a great place to start. GEMS contains all publicly available PAFs, (and PuAFs), including contact details and funding guidelines where available. It’s important to note that not all PAF information is publicly available, but if you’re looking for one grants database that gives you PAF information and reports PLUS all other available funding opportunities from trusts and foundations, health and medical research funders, corporate foundations, local, state and federal government grants and tenders, and international funders that give to Australian charities, GEMS is it. Arrange a free demo with our team today.  

Of course, your approach to accessing PAFs should be well thought out and planned. For best-practice advice on developing your organisation’s tailored funding proposals, please reach out to our team of experts at Strategic Grants. And remember—do your research before contacting any funders and ensure your grant applications leave no unanswered questions in the funder’s mind!