Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Are you Perpetually Prepared?

Charlotte Melbourne Author: Charlotte Francis

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? Go ahead and add a grant goal for 2019. Not to add to your to-do list, and risk feeling overwhelmed - just the opposite!

Start preparing now for your biggest grant asks, no matter how late in the year they fall!

So much of achieving success in the grants space is around forward planning to avoid the last-minute rush towards a deadline, compromising not only the quality of your application but also presenting poorly to funders. And, as you will know, some funders and funding applications require more rigour than others. One of those funders is Perpetual. If you are not familiar with Perpetual, here’s a snapshot.

- Perpetual’s IMPACT Philanthropy Program usually opens end October each year with a deadline of early December

- Perpetual Investment Trustees manage over 200 trusts and distribute approximately $25 million each year via this annual funding round, offering grants up to $200,000 averaging at $80,000

- They fund across ALL sectors and ALL program types including infrastructure, capacity-building and capital.

Perpetual are looking for organisations that are delivering on their mission and have strong and measurable outcomes. The key things they are looking for are evidence of strength in: Strategy, Leadership, Outcomes and Capability.

Measuring your performance

They want to know that you are measuring your performance as an organisation – how efficient are you in using your resources and how effective are you in delivering on your mission and strategic plan. And, this is why you need to prepare and should start NOW.

Simply put, efficiency measures are your inputs versus your outputs (think: resources, time and people) and include financial performance figures e.g. increase or decrease in income and expenditure (e.g. operational or fundraising), diversification and growth of revenue streams, staff and/or volunteer retention, number of occasions of service delivery and so on.

Effectiveness measures ares more outcomes related, often captured by qualitative AND quantitative data. That is, how are you measuring the changes your organisation is affecting? These may include things like: Increased participation and awareness, percentage rate of client satisfaction, changes in behavior, wellbeing, understanding and attitudes.

Benchmarking

They key is to show how you are performing against your KPIs. To do that you need previous years’  data to benchmark against and show how you’re tracking over time. For example, a revenue increase from what? A percentage increase from what? In what space of time? If you have not performed well on your KPIs, give explanations why not. They are not judging your performance, they just want evidence you are measuring it. Is your organisation capturing this kind of data? If not, there’s a take-away action for you right there!

Other key sections of the Perpetual form require you to document external challenges faced by your organisation – and they don’t want to hear about lack of funding; that’s a risk shared by every applicant. What they are looking for is sector-specific changes such as the NDIS or Royal Commission into aged care. They also ask you to detail not just risks to the project, but risks to your organisation as a whole, and how you mitigate these. 

These are my actionable hot tips for the year:

  1. Start to plan your Perpetual now by gathering data on your KPIs (or setting them if you don’t already have organisational efficiency and effectiveness KPIs in place!).
  2. Seek opportunities to chat to Perpetual well ahead of the closing date (once the funding round opens, they generally do not answer enquiries).

I hope you add this to your New Year’s Resolution list, and we wish you the best of luck with those, whether they be crossing things off your bucket list, creating a better work life balance, taking up a new hobby or becoming the grants superhero of your organisation.

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If you need support in pre-planning your Perpetual, formulating KPIs or writing the application when underway, Strategic Grants is well placed to help. We have many years of collective experience of preparing and writing successful applications to Perpetual. Just contact us on 07 3892 1150 or info@strategicgrants.com.au