Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

2019 Collins & Co Conference - Wrap Up

Charlotte Melbourne Author: Charlotte Francis

The fifth annual Collins & Co. Not-for-Profit Conference was held earlier this month, during which I was thrilled to attend and present at. The theme of the conference was ‘Empowerment through Knowledge’ which proved to deliver not only empowerment, but also inspiration.  

The day started with an uplifting and emotionally compelling introduction by National Treasure, pharmacist and motivational speaker, Walter Mikac (Walt) - founder of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

23 years ago Walt’s two daughters and wife were killed in the horrific massacre at the historic site of Port Arthur in Tasmania.  Walt spoke about ‘Resilience for Life’ and ‘how he used the immense grief and challenge he faced to write a letter to then Prime Minister John Howard which served to help shape national uniform gun policy in Australia.

One of Walt’s fundraising tips was to design a program that enables you to offer and sell your Intellectual Property such as the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s e-Smart program for schools and parents on how to tackle bullying and cyber bullying.

Bianca Crocker of Fish Community Solutions – talked about creating a compelling Case for Support.

Ultimately, organisations need a savvy messaging strategy – the Case for Support document sits at the centre of your fundraising plan – why should people support you? A Case for Support document collates the crucial information and brings consistency to your story; in fact, it can be the foundation of a philanthropic grants program. Some key tips when preparing your Case for Support:

* Distinguish between internal Case for Support and external one – the external to be used on website, newsletters etc

* Present the problem AND the solution

* You can use smaller, more succinct Case for Support documents for different programs.

* Write in present tense.

If you need some help, the team at Strategic Grants can help your organisation prepare a Case for Support - check out our website for further details.

Gary Johns at Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)  spoke of his plans to build a search function on the ACNC so donors can search for charities in a sector they are interested in – at the moment you have to know the charity’s name. This function will make it easier for donors to find various charities delivering a service in the community they wish to support; it will also capture descriptions of organisations’ programs – using taxonomy of charitable causes. 

One of the highlights of the conference, was Master Storyteller, Simon Oats, who shared with delegates the relationship between story-telling and brain chemistry….the neuroscience of storytelling.CollinsCoBlog2019 Image1

Simon spoke of the importance of ‘story-telling’ to nonprofits because it‘s a fundamental cognitive structure we, as humans, use to create memory. It’s important to tell stories in images not concepts.  Research has been done by the likes of Paul Zak on changing behaviour by changing brain chemistry  (it can be measured) using a combination of both distress (= cortisol) and empathy (= oxytocin)…..a good story needs both!

All up, a fantastic event to connect with nonprofit partners and share learnings in the sector.