Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Department of Social Services funding news

JoAuthor: Jo Garner

The Federal Department of Social Services has released information, both on its website and at funding information sessions around the country, on post-Budget changes to its funding programs. Here are the key messages, as we see them.

(Aged care funding reforms were not covered by the session we attended. Aged care providers should register to attend separate information sessions.)

  1. Grant rounds for five-year funding arrangements will open on 19 June and close on 23 July.

  2. The Families and Communities funding program represents the bulk of grants and has a strong focus on early intervention and prevention. There are seven grant activities under this stream.

  3. Under the new arrangements, a fund holder receiving multiple grants from the Department may have all of these covered by a single Service Agreement.

  4. Collaboration, rapid response, and identification of service priorities by multiple organisations working together are crucial. 

    Collaboration is a critical component of service delivery, resulting in the development of strong referral pathways, so that the best outcomes are achieved for people and families in need. Working in a silo is no longer accepted.

    For organisations who apply for multiple grants, look to capitalise on synergies across services!

  5. The department is developing new data-reporting systems and will provide successful fund holders with the option of providing additional data beyond the minimum reporting requirements, which will result in sector-wide reports (a very positive thing, in our view!). 

    Interestingly, though, when we asked if they would be providing funding as part of grant budgets for organisations to make necessary enhancements to their internal reporting systems, Departmental representatives were not able to answer.

    (That and most other questions not answered at the briefing sessions were taken on notice and should be addressed on the website. Let's hope they take into account the need for some infrastructure development funding!)

Our message for prospective applicants

Collaborate! If you are a smaller organisation, go to the larger ones with a proposal of what you can offer to them, as a prospective fund holder, in a referral pathway model. Working or applying in isolation is not an option if you want to access this funding.

And while the guidelines aren't available until 19 June, start work NOW! You will have only five weeks from the round's opening date to prepare five-year service delivery models and budgets, possibly with new partners.

All the details that are currently available are on the Department's website. If you are not able to attend a briefing session, the presentation is available online.

Final funding guidelines are not available until the rounds open on 19 June.