Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Bianca BNE  Author: Bianca Williams

Strategic Grants and Social Money Solutions have worked closely for many years – aligned in their mission to help build capacity in the nonprofit sector.

Social Money Solutions helps nonprofit organisations raise the revenue needed to fulfil their mission and partners with corporations to meet their social responsibility objectives.

Managing Director of Social Money Solutions, Tanya Hundloe, founded the company in 2007 following a career in strategic fundraising roles in the nonprofit sector. We asked Tanya to provide insight into the current state of play in Corporate Social Responsibility, and how nonprofits can benefit.

What is your definition of Corporate Social Responsibility?

Essentially, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means that corporations have a degree of responsibility not only for the economic consequences of their activities, but also for any social and environmental implications. Also referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’ approach that considers the economic, social and environmental aspects of corporate activity. Large companies are recognising CSR is not just something they must report on, but it is also good for, or imperative to, business success. I also see corporate responsibility and social impact are becoming synonymous. It’s no longer just about ‘do no harm’, it’s about ‘how do we make a positive impact?’

What changes have you identified within Corporate Australia and delivering on CSR over recent years?

Companies are experiencing escalating social activism by investors, stakeholders, NGO’s, and policymakers on issues of climate risk, economic inequality, and societal well-being. They are increasingly being outed on social media or called to face public investigations. As a result, a company’s social license to operate is becoming a management and boardroom consideration more than ever before. Corporate sustainability and CSR functions, which have previously been on the sidelines, are now slowly becoming integrated into mainstream business activity. Progressive companies are more actively engaged in addressing environmental and societal issues and even considering how shared value (business strategy which delivers on purpose and profit simultaneously) can be part of their product mix.

From your experience, how does a nonprofit approach a Corporate partnership to ensure both parties are benefiting from the partnership / arrangement?

The first step a nonprofit should take is, know yourself well. Often I see NGO’s put together a proposal with arbitrary price points for levels of sponsorship in a silo and they haven’t thought about it in the context of who they are, what they want/need to achieve and how much it will cost – or shared this knowledge and approach internally. This is a sure-fire way to achieve partnerships that don’t add value. Take the time to understand your organisation’s needs, your values, key audiences, assets and costs. Think about what opportunities you can provide to engage the corporates, providing experiences that add value to your cause and for the corporate employees or clients personally and professionally. Then look for partners that are mission and value aligned.SocialMoney BlogImage

Given your extensive experience working with both Corporates and nonprofits, what are the key elements of a successful partnership?

The most successful long-term and transformational partnerships are those that are codesigned to achieve mutual objectives for the nonprofit and the corporate. As the partnership moves into implementation phase it features structured and informal communication and engagement across all areas and people of both organisations. When this happens, trust is developed, and you can create positive impact together.

What is a Social Responsibility Plan?

Successful social responsibility plans/programs tell a company’s story, implement customer feedback, position a company as a leader on social issues, and determine how community investment dollars will be spent and evaluate impact. When a corporate develops a social responsibility plan the key things they typically consider are:

* Employee’s views on important areas to address;

* Company's culture and core values;

* Nature of the business – what it trades in;

* The region the company operates in, and;

* Alignment with community needs.

If they don't, there will be a disconnect, and customers, shareholders and employees will notice.

Do you have an affirmation /saying that you use for inspiration?

Businesses cannot be successful when the society around them fails. Society expects business to do good, not just do well and NGO’s can help them get there.

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Alissa Author: Alissa Bermingham

Strategic Grants’ Research and Administration Officer, Alissa, will provide valuable insight into how the team at Strategic Grants maintain and update the unique online grants management system, GEMS (Grants Expertise Management System). Today’s blog launches the Grants Research Blog Series.

Grants Research Blog Series #1 – Introducing…#Team Research

Grants research takes a lot of time. Time that a lot of grant-seekers don’t have. The process of trawling the depths of the internet to locate grant opportunities, decipher funding guidelines, track closing dates and work out whether the opportunity is even relevant for the organisation is arduous and time consuming.

In 2012, Strategic Grants identified the need for an online grants management system that provided a customised list of just the grants that are relevant to the individual organisation and their funding needs – resulting in the development of GEMS (Grant Expertise Management Systems) GEMS is maintained and updated by our very own team of research analysts…..affectionately called #Team Research.

Team Research are the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, at least 80 hours per week, to ensure that the information in the GEMS database is up to date and accurate.

While the team are spread across Australia, New Zealand and Europe, distance does not prevent them from staying connected to always finding new ways to streamline internal research processes, ensuring our nonprofit partners are receiving the most accurate, up to date grants data through the regular alerts and their customised, always up to date 12 month Grants Calendar.

Why our Grants Research is of the highest qualityTeamResearchBlog Image1

Our Research Analysts are in the GEM Portal system, doing specialised grants research over 80 hours every week. While the human resource aspect of #TeamResearch and the time we are able to spend immersed in data is a huge benefit to GEM subscribers, another strength the team brings to your nonprofit is their in-depth understanding and knowledge of the Australian and New Zealand grants landscape, knowing exactly what to look for when researching and speaking directly with the funders.

Eligibility requirements, guidelines, funding arrangements, average grant amounts and information on past recipients is presented differently by each funding body. Working solely in the grants research space (in between undergraduate and post graduate studies), our team have built an informed understanding of grant-related language and jargon. Our goal is to ensure our nonprofit partners have access to the most current and relevant grant and funder information. The data we collate, analyse and enter presents the key details so grant-seekers have all their most relevant prospects’ details at their fingertips, in GEMS.

Team Research are an awesome team of expert grant researchers who are passionate about nonprofits and most importantly, accurate and timely grants research.

The Grants Research Blog Series

Throughout the series, I’ll outline Strategic Grants’ rigorous research process, including:

* Our data sources and how we ensure its currency and accuracy (funder websites don’t always contain the most up to date information)

* The importance of research – why the diamonds are in the details (and how our Research Analysts ensure they don’t miss them)

* How the Grant-Matching Process works

So stay tuned…..