Categories: guest post, knowledgebank, recommended reading, research & information
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This post written by David Hardie, Project Manager of the Foundation Project from November 2011 to April 2012.
An issue attracting increasing attention amongst grantmakers is how their application and reporting processes impact on grantseekers. In recent years, high profile initiatives such as the US Project Streamline have highlighted how grantmakers can develop more efficient processes. Now a group of Australian Trusts and Foundations have come together to see what they can do to reduce the administrative burden on grantseekers.
The Foundation Project is an initiative sponsored by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation on behalf of the following organisations:
• Helen Macpherson Smith Trust
• The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund
• The Ian Potter Foundation
• The RE Ross Trust
• Philanthropy Australia
• Queensland University of Technology – Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies.
The purpose of the project is to support the work of the Australian not for profit sector by examining opportunities for coordinating the application and reporting processes for small grants (<$25,000) of philanthropic organisations.
The key outputs from The Foundation Project are a set of core principles for grant application and reporting information and a common application form and acquittal report for small grants.
I led the project from November 2011 to April 2012 and really enjoyed being part of a real life example of collaboration in philanthropy. One of my favourite aspects of the project was how a number of our leading Trusts and Foundations came together to take a look at their own processes and use their extensive collective knowledge to develop some new grantmaking tools.
The initial focus of the project was to see what could be learnt from related initiatives such as Project Streamline. The current grant application and reporting processes of the participating Trusts and Foundations were also analysed and this identified many common attributes in current small grants application and reporting processes. It also highlighted the opportunity that exists to develop common forms for small grants, as well as the barriers to their widespread adoption. Also identified was the need to establish a set of core principles to guide ongoing decisions on the information required for grants application and reporting. We felt that it was important that a set of principles was developed to provide ongoing guidance for grantmakers on how, why and what information should be requested from grantseekers.
The participating Trusts and Foundations endorsed the following core principles for grant application and reporting information:
Philanthropy acknowledges that its contribution to the community is primarily through the work of the not for profit sector and we will strive to minimise the administrative burden of grantmaking on not for profit and related organisations. Accordingly:
• Information will be requested only if it will be used
• The effort expended in application and reporting processes will be proportional to the size and risk of the grant
• Duplicate information requests will be minimised
• Terminology will be defined and standardised in order to limit the variability in information requested
• Joint reporting will be established for projects that are collaboratively co-funded.
These principles then informed the subsequent development of the common small grants application form and common small grants acquittal report. The forms were reviewed by community sector organisations, fundraising consultancies and other philanthropic organisations prior to their endorsement by the project team.
The common forms can be found here: http://www.philanthropy.org.au/tools/
It’s important to remember that the development of the forms is a step in an ongoing process. There will never be a perfect form and we’re very keen for grantmakers to pilot the common forms and provide feedback on how they are being used by grantseekers and grantmaking staff. We also hope that new players in philanthropy will benefit from this work. We think that what we’ve developed will be of real value to a variety of grantmakers, especially those new grantmakers who are yet to establish their own grantmaking systems.
The project team intends to periodically review the impact of the principles and the common forms. Further enhancements to the common forms should be anticipated as they are piloted from April to September 2012 and as their ongoing impact is assessed.
Grantmakers are encouraged to trial the common forms and to provide feedback on them to Philanthropy Australia. Master copies of the forms will continue to be available on the Philanthropy Australia website.
The Summary Report for the Foundation Project can be found here (PDF format). A more detailed project research paper has also been prepared as a Queensland University of Technology – Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies Working Paper and will shortly be available on the QUT ACPNS website.
David Hardie is a 2010 graduate of the QUT Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies). He was the recipient of the 2010 Myer Foundation Internship and was the Project Manager of the Foundation Project from November 2011 to April 2012.
Categories: What's New, knowledgebank, recommended reading, library, general
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Philanthropy Australia is pleased to announce the launch of An Introductory Guide to Grantmaking.
This free downloadable Guide is written expressly for people who are new to grantmaking and will be involved directly with the process of assessing applications and making grants. It provides an overview of areas such as the role of grantmakers, working practices and cycles, assessing applications and communication tools. Information on further resources is also provided.
Download the Introductory Guide to Grantmaking here (PDF, 4.2MB)
The Introductory Guide to Grantmaking has been generously funded by the Westpac Foundation.
Categories: directory2008, knowledgebank, library, philanthropy australia website
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The print edition of The Australian Directory of Philanthropy has now officially sold out, with no new hardcopy editions to be printed. The Directory is now only available online, being continually updated as new information comes to us.
If you are a grant making organisation and wish to update or add a listing in the Directory, you can do so by contacting us to obtain a Directory Entry Form; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your organisation is a Full Member of Philanthropy Australia and is listed in the Directory you can login to check your entry here.
Listing is free - see an example entry on our website here.
Annual subscriptions to the online Directory for grant seekers are available through our website here. Full Members and Associate Members of Philanthropy Australia automatically have access to the Directory online.
Categories: knowledgebank, What's New, IT, philanthropy australia website, research & information, news, general
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Philanthropy Australia is delighted to announced that our Projects Pool is now live!
Designed as a tool for our Full Members to share information about projects, the Project Pool is a reservoir of recommended projects for which non-profits are currently seeking funding. Each project listed has been recommended by a Philanthropy Australia Full Member - usually one which a Member has received an application for, and assessed as outstanding, but cannot themselves fund.
Using the Projects Pool Members can:
- Recommend projects for funding
- Seek out projects which come recommended by other funders, having had initial due diligence undertaken.
The Projects Pool offers a convenient, discreet and secure way for our Members to share project recommendations.
We are looking forward to filling the Pool with great projects, furthering collaboration and growing philanthropy.
Categories: knowledgebank, topical issues, recommended reading, research & information, general
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The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies has released two new reports examining issues pertaining to bequests in Australia, both supported by Perpetual.
Keeping Giving Going: Charitable bequests and Australians seeks to examine how Australians think about charitable bequests and to better understand the motivations, barriers and triggers affecting those who make charitable bequests or who might do so.
Keeping Giving Going provides valuable empirical evidence to support and extend the anecdotal knowledge of those working with donors in the sector, and suggests ten key recommendations for charities flowing from the study. The project is the work of Dr Kym Madden and Dr Wendy Scaife.
Every Player Wins a Prize? Family Provision Applications and Bequests to Charity deals with the interaction of family provision law and charitable bequests in wills, including qualitative research relating to practical issues which may arise with legal practitioners and with charities’ bequest officers. It comes in the context of an increase in challenges to charitable bequests by testators’ family members over recent years in Australia.
The report concludes that the increase in family provision applications stems from a number of causes, including: changes in the concept of ‘family’; changes in expectations and values; changes in the legal environment; and changes in levels of wealth. It includes some suggestions for charities that wish to put themselves in the best position with a donor before the donor dies, or in the best position when a family provision claim is notified. The project is the work of Frances Hannah and Professor Myles McGregor-Lowndes.
Both reports can be downloaded from the CPNS Wiki at https://wiki.qut.edu.au/display/CPNS/Planned+Giving+-+Bequests; executive summaries and other relevant information are also available.
Categories: What's New, knowledgebank, philanthropy australia website, news, research & information
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Last week Sydney and Melbourne we held our annual end-of-year get-togethers for Philanthropy Australia Members. We also took this opportunity to launch the major knowledge management and ICT project we’ve been working on for the past two years - the PhilanthropyWiki.
The Macquarie Group Foundation funded the development of the Wiki (and in fact, the entirety of the Knowledge Bank project, of which the Wiki is a component), and also most generously hosted the events in both Sydney and Melbourne. Julie White, Head of the Macquarie Group Foundation, officially launched the Wiki, speaking alongside Philanthropy Australia’s Bruce Bonyhady (our President) and Gina Anderson (our CEO).
Both events had an excellent turnout, and feedback from Members on both nights indicated not only a good deal of excitement about the Wiki, but enthusiasm with regards to contributing to and shaping the Wiki. This was great feedback, as enthusiasm is a key factor required as we move into the next, crucial stage in the Wiki’s evolution - out of development and into operation!
We’re also planning on running some information and possibly tutorial sessions in 2008 for Members who wish to contribute, or even just need some pointers on how to best use the PhilanthropyWiki. We’re planning on gearing those sessions for a variety of skill levels and needs.
As a part of the Resource Centre team who developed the PhilanthropyWiki, I’m sure I speak for everyone at Philanthropy Australia when I say I’m immensely proud of this project, and having the opportunity to present it to our Members in a launch was wonderful. Working on the PhilanthropyWiki has taught us not only a lot about the knowledge it will contain and how our constituents wish to access and share it, but a lot about how we, as a not-for-profit, use technology.
Macquarie Group Foundation’s support of the entire Knowledge Bank project gives us great confidence in our ability to help build capacity in the not-for-profit sector using ICT. Even as I type this we are discussing in the office with great relish the potentials the PhilanthropyWiki has opened up not only for us, but for the entire philanthropic sector in how we use technology, shares knowledge and accesses information.
We’re very much looking forward to working on populating the PhilanthropyWiki now with our Members, and beginning work on the next components of the Knowledge Bank in 2008 with renewed confidence.
If you’d like to read the official press release for the PhilanthropyWiki launch, you can download it here.
- Emily Turner, Web & Communications Administrator, Philanthropy Australia
Categories: knowledgebank, IT, news, research & information
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I’ve just got back from 2 weeks in the United States, attending 2 conferences in my capacity as Manager, Communications & Knowledge at Philanthropy Australia, and generally steeping myself in philanthropy’s homeland. First up, in San Francisco, was the TAG (Technology Affinity Group) Conference. There were about 120 delegates at the TAG Conference, nearly all from foundations, but including people from the Council on Foundations and the Foundation Center. Most were dedicated IT staff (W.K. Kellogg Foundation has 15 people in their IT department!).
Following that was a fabulous WINGS (Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support) Peer Learning Event in Boston, held at Associated Grant Makers (AGM) in Boston, MA. There were 15 invited participants meeting on the theme of Communications Strategies for Grantmaker Associations, from the US and Canada, Brazil, Bermuda, Jamaica, the Philippines and Latvia. The discussions - exploring issues such as knowledge management and the use of technology for communications - were focused and intense, and very rewarding in terms of sharing knowledge and forging peer networks.
The 3 key learnings I took away from these meetings were:
1. Collaboration tools are big, and social networking tools are a part, but only one part, of the picture.
Some foundations, particularly community foundations, are looking to restructure their grant-making as their new donors, generally younger people, don’t relate to the old models of giving, and want more control over their philanthropy and more active involvement. A more collaborative and flexible approach is needed.
However, transition is can be problematic and meet with considerable resistance as grantseekers are so used to being competitive rather than collaborative when it comes to grantseeking from foundations.
Online collaboration tools are most useful for very specific and focused groups who are already working well together and have clear shared goals and an expressed need to share resources. For Philanthropy Australia, as a grantmaker support organisation, we have found some collaboration tools, such as our PhilanthropyOz Blog and the PhilanthropyWiki to be very successful, but they are not necessary tools that our Members all need to adopt wholesale for themselves.
The key purpose of social networking technologies (also known as Web 2.0 - eg. blogs, Facebook, MySpace etc.) is to get people engaged and active. They should be seen as an online enhancements to personal communications rather than as organisational tools. Web 2.0 technologies, in the philanthropy context, are really only useful where they address specific problems which an organisation is focusing on.
2. Data is all important!
We need to collect, analyse and publish data which shows what is happening now in philanthropy in order to obtain maximum support, influence and credibility. In doing so we need to be explicit, transparent and link to strategy.
We can’t rely on asking our users what they want. Henry Ford said “if I’d asked my customers what they wanted they’d have asked for a faster horse”! Rather learn from your users by what they do – monitor their behaviour, track websites statistics, track how many subscribers actually open the e-newsletter.
3. Knowledge Management underpins everything we do.
KM is not a project, but a practice which needs to be built into the culture and infrastructure of the organisation.
KM is traditionally thought of as ‘collecting and connecting’ tasks. Most of us in grantmaker support organisations spend too much time accumulating the knowledge asset, and not enough effort connecting it to others, and others together. In reality most of our members would spend 90% of their time connecting, rather than searching for knowledge. This challenges our assumptions about our role.
Pushing information out to our stakeholders is not enough. We need to adopt a ’You tell us’ strategy. Instead of us publishing what we think our Members and others want or need to hear, and hoping it will be read, we should ask our stakeholders to tell us their view, to engage in dialogue, and in the process two-way learning occurs.
Both these events proved to be valuable, targeted and practical professional development, reinvigorating my work energy, fuelling my ideas bank and networks. It’s always great to meet new colleagues with whom you share challenges and can exchange stories of what worked and what failed, tips and tricks, and useful resources. I look forward to putting some of my new insights into practice. If you would like to see a copy of my trip report please contact me at email@example.com
Categories: knowledgebank, news, admin
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At Philanthropy Australia we have been working on developing on a standardised ‘common language’ for philanthropy. We’re delighted to publish a new tool for grantmakers - The Grants Classification System. Designed to help trusts and foundations to classify, describe and report on their grantmaking activities, the Classification System provides a pre-determined, controlled vocabulary from which foundations can select those terms which best suit their needs.
The Classification System encompasses six facets:
1. Type of support
2. Organisation Type
3. Program Areas
4. Population Groups
5. Geographic Areas
6. Time Frame of Grant
Foundations can select terms from each facet, using the level of detail which best suits them, and customise it by adding in a further level of detail for their own internal use if required.
The intention is to standarise the terms used across the Australian philanthropic sector as far as practical, so that grantmaking can be documented and useful statistics on philanthropy collected which in ways that contribute to shared understandings.
Most foundations use some kind of pre-determined language to classify their grants, for the purposes of recording grant applications, describing the grants they make and reporting to stakeholders on their activities. By classifying grants and the projects they support, and archiving this information, an enormous amount of data can be retrieved, researched, collated and where appropriate, shared, thereby building the sector’s knowledge base.
The Grants Classification System represents a first step in producing a standardised grantmaking language, which we will build upon over time. The System will be reviewed annually, and we are very keen to gather feedback from our Members as to how useful they find this tool, and any new terms which could be added to better describe their work. Members are welcome to submit comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Grants Classification System is available as a free download on the new “Grantmaker Tools” page on our Website.
Categories: knowledgebank, philanthropy australia website, news, research & information, general
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Philanthropy Australia is delighted to announce that the highly anticipated PhilanthropyWiki is now live!
The PhilanthropyWiki is an online encyclopaedia and archive of knowledge on philanthropy in Australia, which now provides a ‘first-port-of-call’ to the philanthropy and not-for-profit sectors, nationally and internationally, on philanthropic giving, charitable trusts, philanthropic foundations and the charity sector in Australia.
The development of the Wiki has been most generously supported by Macquarie Bank Foundation.
Visit the Philanthropy Wiki at www.philanthropywiki.org.au
The types of information contained within the PhilanthropyWiki include:
Philanthropedia (the Who, Where & How Much of philanthropy) - documenting historically significant people, organisations, statistics, issues and events that have occurred in Australian philanthropy.
Structures & Models - (the What of philanthropy) - categorising and explaining specific types of philanthropic bodies.
Practices - (the How of philanthropic giving) - Covering the practical information relevant to those in the sector.
Theories & Debates - (the Why we do what we do the way we do it) - encompassing information and/or opinions that are by nature analytical and/or theoretical.
Program Areas - Collating information relevant to funders on different areas of funding, such as Health, Social Justice or the Environment.
Web users will be familiar with the wiki model through sites such as Wikipedia, which is famous as a vastly extensive, multi-authored encyclopedia that is accessed and edited online in real time. The PhilanthropyWiki utilizes the wiki model in its own unique way. Philanthropy Australia’s Members (grantmaking trusts and foundations), invited academics and other philanthropy specialists are able to edit existing, and create new, pages. All contributions are constantly monitored by our administration team to ensure the veracity and clarity of information contributed.
The PhilanthropyWiki is a key component of Philanthropy Australia’s KnowledgeBank, a culmination of several years’ work on encouraging and embodying effective knowledge management in the sector. Throughout this process, we have come to understand the immense value of making use of the information technology at hand, recognising that supporting the effective use of IT in the not-for-profit sector is crucial to the sector’s progression towards effective knowledge management.
Other KnowledgeBank components include the Philanthropy Australia Website, The Australian Directory of Philanthropy Online, and the Philanthropy Australia Library Catalogue. Components that are still pending include the KnowledgeBank Search, the Grants Database & the Projects in the Pipeline Database.
For more information contact us at email@example.com or on (03) 9620 0200.
Categories: knowledgebank, IT, philanthropy australia website
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Over the past few years, Philanthropy Australia has been developing a model to bring together our information services to make them as extensive and accessible as possible.
Throughout this process, we have come to understand the immense value of making use of the information technology at hand. The resulting model is what we have called our “KnowledgeBank”.
The KnowledgeBank will be an extensive and user-friendly information service, created and maintained by Philanthropy Australia and made accessible to our Members, the nonprofit community and the general public through the internet.
It will expand the community sector’s knowledge base on philanthropy, promote and facilitate understanding and partnerships between funders and grantseekers, and provide a user-friendly and accessible ‘first port of call’ for anyone seeking information on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.
The KnowledgeBank project has been most generously supported by Macquarie Bank Foundation, which has enabled us to take a holistic and inclusive approach to our knowledge management and information management across the board.
The KnowledgeBank encompasses several components of Philanthropy Australia’s online information services:
- KnowledgeBank Search
- Philanthropy Australia Website
- Philanthropy Australia Library Catalogue
- The Australian Directory of Philanthropy Online
- Philanthropic Grants Database
- Projects in the Pipeline Database
These components are in various stages of development, refinement and completion. We’ve set up a page on our Website where you can find out more about each of these components, as well as keep track of our progress on the KnowledgeBank project.
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