Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Top tips from the NACRO Conference 2018 - it's not just about recycling!

Bianca BNE Author: Bianca Williams


Earlier this month, NACRO (National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations) held its annual Conference, which I attended and presented at. This year's theme ‘The Future of Recycling’ was proficiently addressed through the variety and expertise of speakers. Industry professionals, NFP Leaders in the charitable recycling sector and Government joined to share their experience, insight and knowledge.

NACRO is a member-based organisation that ‘enables charities to maximise their financial returns from their recycling operations, in order to uphold their charitable mission and purpose’.

The Strategic Grants team was asked to present on how to win government grants and the steps an organisation needs to take to get ‘tender-ready’. Our presentation outlined the different expectations which funders have - whether they be Government, Corporate or Philanthropic. To summarise the difference; Government look for accountable, best-practice organisations’ with proven track records, to deliver services in areas it has identified as a priority need.

I also had the pleasure of facilitating a panel to discuss the key components of becoming Grant Ready in regard to Government Grants and Tenders. Three experienced and passionate individuals within their field shared their expertise; John Hillier, Business Development Manager of Lifeline Retail; Louise Kennett, Submission Writing Manager at Lifeline Darling Downs; and Bianca Gray, Manager at the Department of Environment and Science.

Each of the panellists shared ‘nuggets of gold’ within their responses;

·       Tips on how to establish and manage stakeholder relationships, and the importance of connecting Funders to those who will benefit from the project

·       How to manage the internal process of preparing a grant application; have open communication lines with the relevant departments and people in your organisation to ensure up to date information and data is being included in grant applications.

·       Be open to getting a few knock backs! It is competitive out there, be prepared for some unsuccessful applications – particularly if you are establishing a Grants Program within your organisation - it takes time to set up the internal processes. Be persistent.

·       Get feedback from Funders whenever possible; particularly with unsuccessful applications

·       The importance of having project monitoring and evaluation strategies in place is crucial; to ensure the program is achieving its deliverables.

·       Evaluation data will provide the evidence you need to back up your claim of delivering optimal programs to the community; or inform your organisation of how the program can improve

NACRO CEO, Omer Soker, concluded the conference with an enthusiastic and positive message; outlining the important role that the recycling charity sector has in not only improving the recycling culture in Australia, but also expanding the awareness with consumers, councils and commercial business to undertake more responsible recycling behaviour.

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