Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Jo BNE Author: Jo Garner

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Strategic Grants is delighted to announce we are sponsoring Pro Bono Grants, with Pro Bono Australia, the “go to” media service for news and resources for Australia’s social economy, to highlight funding opportunities in the social sector.

Pro Bono Grants will allow Pro Bono Australia’s audience of over one million annual users and 60,000 subscribers to browse key upcoming grant listings, as well as gain access to capacity building resources, such as grant application tips. The new grants listings will also allow funders to post their upcoming grant opportunities for no charge.

"It’s well known that grants and donations make up over 25% of revenue for most of Australia's small to medium-sized charitable organisations. Since not for profits and social enterprises comprise more than 70% of Pro Bono Australia’s audience and news subscribers it makes sense for Pro Bono Australia to partner with Strategic Grants to deliver our readership granting information," said Karen Mahlab AM, founder and CEO of Pro Bono Australia

Both organisations are excited and proud to bring their expertise and experience together to further support purpose-driven organisations and help them grow their impact.

“We’re delighted to be able to share the grants knowledge and expertise we’ve gained through our years of working with nonprofits of all sizes, with funders, FIA and Philanthropy Australia. We’re an organisation with a culture of constant learning, so it’s wonderful to get to share those learnings with Pro Bono’s readers through this great partnership,” said Strategic Grants’ Director Jo Garner.

Visit the Pro Bono Australia’s grants portal here:

KarleenQLD  Author: Karleen Gwinner

Not for Profits’ (NfP) are increasingly finding themselves seeking funding from alternative sources for program activities and interventions. If you haven’t already considered private ancillary funds (PAF) as a source of revenue for your program activities, then you maybe should.

PAFs are growing in Australia at a rate of 8% per annum. Commonly, a PAF will give around $25,000 per annum over a three-year period. At last count, PAFs now distribute $457 million a year to Australian charities and that distribution has tripled in the space of six years. Basically, PAFs are now the most popular form of structured giving for affluent Australians.

On the downside they remain mysterious and elusive. Each PAF is distinctive and they are often hard to approach, specifying directives such as, “We don’t accept unsolicited applications ”.

The task of seeking financial support from these mysterious donors may well be daunting and leave you huffing rather than PAFing!! So, I hear you ask, what is THE SECRET? How do we empower the law of attraction which will have PAFs giving to us?Huffing or PAFing Karleen Blog image


#SECRET =101 grantsmanship

Well really, it’s no secret. Gaining support from PAFs is all about the basics, the 101, of a well-honed grantsmanship. Ten points to you if you know this. The 101 of all funder grantsmanship is the cultivation of relationships and this has extra significance in the law of attraction with PAFs.

Firstly, though, PAFs are not to be treated like traditional grant applications. Most PAFs don’t have staff running the foundation. While some PAFs have formal funding rounds, most don’t. Often decisions are made based on a concise summary of a NfP’s needs, directly by the PAF founder or immediate family members. Rapport is important. Foundational! PAFs are about people.


Prior to approaching a PAF do your prospect research. Make sure your organisation is eligible to apply for PAFs. Learn about the individual or family’s motivations for giving and their funding principles. People give through PAFs because they are looking for a good experience. People who give through PAFs are generally seeking a clear vision of what they want to achieve through the provision of funds, rather than being reactive to applications they receive. They want to enjoy their giving; they want to feel they are making a difference.


NfP’s are at the heart of making a difference.

Don’t underrate the value your organisation has to nurture and cultivate change in our communities. Equally, don’t underestimate the role that passion and personal experience play in PAF decision-making for giving. Make sure you know and sing the achievements of your NfP and the strength of your governance.


101 basics- be prepared with strong narrative about your organisation.

There are several documents and tools which are essential for all funder grantsmanship. Knowing your Key Messages and how they align to the PAFs motivation to make a difference is imperative. Also have your Wish-list at the ready. If you don’t already have a Key Messages document or a Wish-list prepared check out how we can help via one of our Podcasts.


The key to approaching PAFs for support

Support from PAFs, in most cases, involves long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. Habitually this is built through respective connections and not unsolicited emails or phone calls. The key to approaching PAFs for support is to look for a link between your organisation and the fund. Use GEMS to identify good prospects. Find out what they have funded previously and who the key people and directors are.


Design a strategy for cultivating a relationship. Is there a connection between your NfP and the PAF? Appeal to the PAF’s motivation for giving. How does your organisations mission meet their passion for making a difference? PAFs are driven by and large, by personal passions and serendipitous alignments.

Talk to your board, your CEO, see if there’s some connect with the PAF founder or trustee through their business or community interests, a family member. At events seek out opportunities to introduce yourself. Ask another of your funder friends to introduce you! If you can’t find some connection, perhaps redirect your time and energy until an opportunity presents itself.

Don’t overlook the basics. Gaining support from PAFs is all about the basics -b e strategic and develop strong relationships.