Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

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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NancyVic Author: Nancy Vaughan

A Play List for the Philanthropy Australia Conference 2018

I was fortunate to be an attendee at the 2018 Philanthropy Australia conference held earlier this month. Keynote speakers, panel discussions and break-out sessions all provided rich and diverse content. Across the presentations, were threaded a set of strong and consistent messages that are applicable to both grant-seekers and grant-makers.  

I have enlisted the assistance of the best synthesisers ever 'To Cut a Long Story Short' (courtesy of Spandau Ballet) and capture these sparkling threads in an '80s Play List.... so throw on a puffy shirt, get your big hair happening and warm up those air-synthesiser moves!

Planet Earth - Duran Duran

Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, pulled us up to the space-shuttle view of philanthropy by declaring there are two over-arching priorities for philanthropy at the global scale: The decline of liberal democracy and climate change.

Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears

Maybe some of us do ... but conference presenters reminded us that we're all here for the same reason: to make the world a better place. Neither grant-maker nor grant-seeker is more important than the other. We must get past 'silo' thinking and get on with finding the people and organisations that are passionate about our mission and share our objectives and find a way to work together.

Together in Electric Dreams - The Human League

I went and saw Human League at the Palais in St Kilda in '83 but that's a story for another blog. We need to get much better at working together. Actually, it was the Hon Jeff Kennet AC who said something akin to this at the conference. He didn't mention the electric dreams part but you get the gist. Many presenters emphasised we need to work together to truly maximise impact and make the best use of the somewhat limited resources out there.

  • Respect, consult and involve your beneficiaries and the communities you work with in the work you do.
  • Work cooperatively and effectively with individuals and departments within your organisation.
  • Grant-seekers and grant-makers need to work more closely together - instead of treating each other as either ATMs or contractors.
  • Work with other organisations in your sector and region to harness real power and deliver maximum impact.

Blue Monday - New Order

A new order is in play. Presenters at the conference consistently declared how vital it is to collect and share information about the outcomes and impacts of both funded programs as well as funder's grant-making programs. What difference did your project or program make?  What difference are you making as a funder?  Are you achieving your objectives and delivering on your promises?  If you don't have a rock-solid monitoring and evaluation framework in place and if you aren't measuring your outcomes then you need to start. Now.

Video Killed the Radio Star - Buggles

Don't become a dinosaur (or a radio star). In a world of lightning-fast global 'news' delivery, pre-pubescent social media-influencers, and an increasingly cynical and cranky public, it is more important than ever to ensure the work of your organisation is transparent and that it is demonstrably aligned with your mission and objectives. Steve Spurr, CEO of Edelman Australia, reported that only 49% of people (down from 58% in 2017) surveyed in the '2018 Edelman Trust Barometer' stated they trust NGOs. Yikes! 



And for your musical pleasure.....YouTube links to the above Play List

To Cut a Long Story Short - Spandau Ballet: 

Planet Earth - Duran Duran

Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears

Together in Electric Dreams - The Human League  

Blue Monday - New Order

Video Killed the Radio Star - Buggles