pexels-photo-1170412Federal, state and local levels of government are the primary source for grantmaking in Australia. Some public and private foundations also offer a limited number of grants and endowments to help nonprofits address a variety of social ills.

Are Current Grantmaking Policies Shortchanging the Future?

Economic constraints and budget cuts in both the public and private arena has led to a reduction in grant funding. In this environment, competition for a reduced number of funding opportunities has dramatically increased. Now, more than ever, there is a greater push for nonprofits and their boards to be more accountable for how they spend grant monies and other funds. There is incredible pressure for nonprofits to provide as much value as possible to the public in exchange for grants and other forms of public funding.

As part of this trend, NFPs are encouraged to spend the bulk of their funding on programs and services. Many grantmakers refuse to allow their monies to be spent on overheads or restrict it to 20 per cent or less of the total grant. Everywhere that one looks, nonprofits are touting their “low overhead” as they aim to reduce the amount of funding spent on it, whether their existing funding has been restricted or not.

To Grow Your Capacity and Increase Stability You Must Fund it

What many misunderstand about overhead is that it isn’t just paying for the lights, rents and salaries. It’s the cost to upgrade your IT department, your software and hardware, and all your other necessary equipment so that your people can work efficiently and effectively. It’s also the cost to find, hire, train and retain the best people for the job.

When we fail to invest in developing our people, and our facilities, we reduce our capacity to thrive and grow at a sustainable level in the future. In effect, we reduce our ability to serve our communities, and often contribute to some of the very social issues that the sector seeks to redress!

Help for Boards Seeking Grants

Two upcoming conferences can help NFPs gain the insight that they need to address these concerns and secure the grants that they need to fund capacity building and services. The first, How to Win Grants and Influence People is scheduled for Thursday, August 23 at 9 AM – 12:30 PM UTC+10, at Melbourne’s RACV Club. Participants will learn helpful tips on such diverse topics as how to find multiple grants and apply for them faster, how to build relationships with decision makers, and how to use data to back up your proposals, and budget projections. Each of these topics contains information especially helpful for those nonprofits that seek to make a case for funding the development of their people, facilities and overall capacity to serve.

A second conference will be held on Friday, September 14 at 9 AM – 5 PM UTC+10 at the Moonee Valley Racing Club in Victoria. The Community Directors Conference 2018, offers NFP directors and board members a chance to connect with their peers and share helpful strategies for confronting the challenges facing NFPs as they seek to win grants and other funding to support their operations and programs. Other topics that will be discussed include how to use metrics and other data from measurement platforms to illustrate the real impact made by your organisation, and what steps to take during lean times to ensure you have the funding that you need to make a difference!

The very nature of grantmaking is changing in Australia and elsewhere, but conferences and other training can be just the investment that your NFP needs to stay up-to-speed on the latest proposal and budget-writing techniques so that you can win grantmakers over!