Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

KSBNE Author: Kate Sunners

Gladstone Regional Council has been working with Strategic Grants to centralise and streamline their grant-seeking.

We pulled the wonderful Tegan McDonald away from her two roles as Acting Manager Development Assessment and ‘Strategic Grants Specialist’ for a Q & A about Council’s experience of working with Strategic Grants and using our GEM Portal system.

Q: What were the pain points you wanted to solve by engaging Strategic Grants?

Gladstone Regional Council had undergone a significant organisational restructure which (amongst many other outcomes) sought to centralise and make more efficient our external grants strategy. Council wished to establish a database for our grants seeking as well as identify upcoming grants programs and prospect matching. This needed to be supported by an overhaul to the way in which Council undertook all grant funding projects. We did not have the resource in house to be able to easily begin this journey and so sought external assistance.

Q: Tell us about your experiences with the services you've use

Organisational Grants Program Review Workshop

This was paramount in beginning the GRC centralized grants strategy. This got all the effected parties together so that all elements of the grant process could be considered, and we could better move from previous methods, to a centralized system of grant seeking.

Customised Grants Calendar and GEM Portal

Consolidating our current grants into one location has been pivotal in ensuring we are meeting our funding requirements and deadlines. Without this, there was potential for these to be missed, impacting on funder relationships.

Provision of a grants strategy document to guide processes and implementation of new strategy

Whilst in the early stages, the grants strategy will ultimately assist in the streamlining of our prospect matching, grants writing and application management. The implementation plan will ensure the strategy outcomes are rolled out appropriately.

Q: What features sold you on GEM Portal?  

The centralisation of all Grants project management across all stages from ‘wishlisting’ potential projects to final acquittals. The exportability was a big selling point for GRC to assist with reporting and distributing grants information. The forward planning calendar capability was also a key factor in GRC’s consideration of the Portal. No other service provider offered all these elements, as well as the added benefit of the technical expertise from Strategic Grants.

Q: Can you tell us about any benefits you’ve seen from using our services?

Our Grants seeking process is far more streamlined, with data centralised and so much easier to access. Monthly and quarterly reports that used to take many hours to collate and format are now far more efficiently created. We can pull a snapshot of our grants landscape in ‘real time’ within minutes.

Q:  Can you tell us about anything that has exceeded your expectations since working with us?

The ongoing support in taking GRC through our Grants Strategy and processes has been extremely beneficial. Whilst providing the Portal service is one element, the ability to touch base with the team at any time to clarify any issues or provide additional support has been over and above our original expectations.GladstoneCityCouncil Image1

The team at Strategic Grants works with Local Councils across New Zealand and Australia to grow their external grants revenue and build the capacity of local community organisations, enabling them to identify and successfully apply for grant funding.  

For more details – check out the Local Councils information page here



KSBNE Author: Kate Sunners

The Australian Financial Review has once again released their Philanthropy Top 50 list, compiled by John McLeod, co-founder of the JBWere Philanthropic Services Division.

How does one make it onto the Australian Financial Review’s Philanthropy Top 50 List you ask? Philanthropists had to have donated a minimum of $3.6 million in the 2017/2018 financial year to make it to the list.

Donated $3 million and thought you’d make the top 50? Sorry! The minimum donation to make the cut rose 20% on the previous financial year.

Who’s giving what?

Taking out first place with significant donations totalling $85.8 million was The Paul Ramsay Foundation; the next most generous was the Minderoo Foundation with $60.4 million; and third, the Ian Potter Foundation with donations of $25.8 million (moving down from second place in 2018). 

The Lowy Foundation donated $22 million whilst Graham and Louise Tuckwell gave $20 million through their PAF. New names to be included on the list were Andrew and Paula Liveris ($13.5 million), Cory Charitable Foundation ($5.2 million – main donation made through the Foundation’s one-off 25th Anniversary $5 million Grant in November 2017) and Blackmores chairman Marcus Blackmore ($5 million).

Overall, the total amount of money donated by those included on the Top 50 listed was $533 million – 21% higher than the 2016/2017 financial year.

Popular causes

The main causes to receive funding from the Top 50 were universities, arts and culture, medical research and the environment. Top50 blogImage

Openly discussing, celebrating and growing

As reported by the Financial Review, John McLeod’s research shows trends toward larger donations, and an increasing tendency for philanthropists to talk openly about their giving, which is a sure-fire way to get others involved in philanthropy.

This is one of Philanthropy Australia’s strategic objectives, to grow philanthropic practice by ensuring recognition of philanthropic leaders and by making the case for philanthropy through leadership and advocacy.

One great way to celebrate philanthropy (at least, in QLD) is to get involved Queensland Community Foundation’s Philanthropy Week in June, which recognises Philanthropists through the QCF Philanthropist of the Year Awards and Philanthropy in Focus photo challenge. You can see some of the fantastic photos up on the QCF Facebook page now!

Why is it important to know who’s on the list?

If you’ve never heard us tell you to run the names of funder trustees by members of your board, and by your existing funders to see if there’s any connection, well you’ve heard it now!

Those in your organisation who are connected with philanthropists, high net worth individuals and corporate sponsors need to get their eyes on this list, work out who is connected to whom, and start leveraging those contacts!

You also need to look for an alignment with their interest areas. Luckily the list includes key areas of interest for those philanthropists on the Top 50!

For the full report, check out the AFR website

Reference: Australian Financial Review, Australia’s 50 biggest givers