The challenge  

Vision Australia support people who are blind or have low vision to live the life they choose. They are a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services in Australia, supporting more than 25,500 people of all ages and life stages, and circumstances. 

While the organisation receives funding from a range of sources, including Commonwealth and State Governments, departments, and programs, as well as philanthropic donations from the community, the enormity of their service delivery meant that their fundraising team didn’t – and couldn’t – rely on these fundraising streams alone. 

But when it came to building an approach to grant-seeking that was both time effective and streamlined their application and reporting process, the team weren’t quite sure where to begin.  

Vision Australia

Our solution 

While the Vision Australia fundraising team were active grant-seekers before reaching out to Strategic Grants, we identified that the team could benefit from a more streamlined approach that not only saved time when searching for the right grants, but also kept the team organised when it came to keeping on top of application deadlines and acquitting grant funder reports. 

We proposed: 

A customised grants calendar (Grants Expertise Management System - GEMS) to easily identify grant opportunities relevant to Vision Australia’s wide range of services. 

Their subscription to GEMS, and access to a grants calendar unique to Vision Australia’s funding needs solved their grant-seeking challenges by providing: 

  • Time efficiencies in grants research by providing details on all the philanthropic and government grant opportunities available to them in one, easy to search and filter system 
  • The ability to track upcoming application deadlines and set up email alerts for anyone in their team in one system  
  • A central place to record funder reporting requirements and set alerts for acquittal deadlines – a must when nurturing funder relationships! 

We were also pleased to provide feedback and coaching, through our advisory services, on grant applications that their fundraising team had already prepared and submitted. This ensures that the entire team is across best-practice approaches when it comes to writing a high-quality application. 

“Since we began using GEMS in 2017, we haven’t looked back.” 

Katherine, Manager Philanthropic Grants – Fundraising for Vision Australia

Their impact 

Four years since receiving their first customised grants calendar, the team is still thrilled with the value GEMS has brought to the fundraising team, especially when it comes to saving them time researching grant opportunities that they can allocate elsewhere.  

Some of their funding success includes funding for professional development opportunities for Children Services staff, funding for Adaptive Technology Equipment and funding for a new Feelix Children’s Library.  

“Since we began using GEMS in 2017, we haven’t looked back,” said Katherine, Manager Philantropic Grants. 

“Not only has it helped us to streamline our grant application and reporting process, but it also ensures we don’t miss important deadlines. GEMS has also provided us with some new opportunities that have been successful which has helped to boost our program.  

“We ultimately chose GEMS to support our grant seeking activities to save us precious time. The hours we would normally spend sourcing grant opportunities means that we can use our time more effectively to support this arm of our Fundraising Program. 

“Access to a wide range of funding opportunities means that we can use GEMS to filter our grant selection to ensure that we can best meet the guidelines of the funder with applications that are relevant for our client cohort. Additionally, the portal is great to record information that we can look at in a snapshot or a more detailed brief by exporting to an Excel file.” 

People using adaptive technologies to help with reading.