Grants Management Intelligence

Your grants news library

Here's where you'll find back copies of Grants Management Intelligence, our e-newsletter for grantmakers and funders. There's stacks of practical knowledge in this library of content. Sign up now for your free copy!

March 2020: The audit edition

Grantmaking professionals can expect greater scrutiny in the coming month, with several state and territory government watchdogs planning fresh audits of grants programs. There's never been a better time to prepare by reading the latest edition of GMI. Also inside:

  • Event rescheduled: Virus delays Grantmaking in Australia conference
  • Sports scrutiny: Grants controversy triggers sector shakeup
  • Invitation only: $10m volunteer grants fund now funnelled through MPs
  • Special report: Nation's authorities flag more grants audits and oversight
  • Virus lessons: Grantmakers rush to ease bushfire crisis
  • Grants guidance: Ask yourself these questions in a step-by-step guide to effective disaster grantmaking
  • Measure better: Putting a dollar value on your social impact

December 2019: The good data edition

As we wind up an eventful year for grantmakers in Australia and New Zealand, we think it's the perfect time to look ahead, with an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of AI-assisted grants and other ways to do better in the latest edition, Also inside:

  • Conference preview: 2020 event to target grants profession
  • SmartyGrants rewind: A decade of developments
  • Capacity building: Fund’s $350,000 to help not-for-profits
  • Audit criticism: Regional jobs grants below standard
  • Philanthropic impact: Foundation fund targets big issues
  • Personal impact: Inclusion the key to connecting
  • Award winners: We profile social impact superstars
  • DSS focus: Department chief reveals impact strategy
  • Landmark address: Ex-PM urges fresh ‘customer’ focus

October 2019: The conference insights edition

As hosts of Grantmaking in Australia, the only national conference to cater specifically for grantmakers, we at the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM) are very pleased to share here some of the excellent insights we gathered at the two-day event in August. If you missed the conference, you might even find this edition almost as good as having been there in person! (There’s nothing quite like being in the room though.)

This bumper issue is packed with the wisdom of leading grants practitioners from local, state and federal government funders, and from the corporate and philanthropic sphere. Highlights include:

  • Conference wrap: Grantmakers fine-tune skills, nous, networks
  • Award winners: Top grantmakers reveal our funding future
  • Grants news: #GivingTuesday, best grants, hot topics, research
  • Squirrel Main: Not evaluating? It’ll cost you
  • Okaparinga’s innovation: Letting the community’s pitches win
  • Karen Sait: Power up with partnerships

Our grantmaking news digest also features the latest developments from Australia, the UK and Canada to help you stay up to date, and don’t miss the video interviews that accompany many of our stories – you’ll find top tips on how to tackle evaluation, among other grantmaking goodness.

July 2019: The 'target your funds' edition

As with every edition, we try to add a fresh layer of knowledge to your grantmaking. This 28-page edition is full of insights from across this region and the globe about:

  • Core funding
  • Increasing your competency
  • SmartyGrants deadlines analysed by our data scientists
  • Impact trends and the 'change economy'
  • Good communication in grantmaking, and much more

There's also details about how you can win $5000 in our Grantmaker of the Year search, and a fresh award for funders investing in social impact.

March 2019: The 'knowledge is power' edition

In this edition, we're delivering on our commitment to making grantmakers' jobs easier by sharing specialist knowledge from the field – and in the process, helping to prevent that blank look.

Our Community's executive director and self-confessed “grants nerd”, Kathy Richardson, opens this edition with an exploration of trending topics in grantmaking, from “micro focus” grants to charting professional failures. Her report sets the tone for an edition packed with useful content, all to enable you to:

  • discover the year's biggest buzzwords from “philanthropy wonk” Lucy Bernholz
  • avoid sapping the resources of your recipients when giving them money
  • take a grants health check
  • weigh up the value of social impact bonds
  • understand how machine learning could speed your processes
  • learn what to do when stakeholders are doing your head in
  • find out why grantmakers must become expert in impact and outcomes measurement.

December 2018: The social measurement edition

We know members of the Australian Institute of Grants Management want to know whether their funds are having the best effect. And that's what this edition is all about.

We've sought out the experts for these compelling articles. Here's what you'll find inside:

  • Kathy Richardson: Funders the key to evidence-based practice
  • Online help: Essential social measurement resources
  • Better insights: Ross Wyatt on ‘evaluation that kills people’
  • Our best measurers: Australia's social impact award winners
  • Prof Gary Banks: Whatever happened to evidence-based policy?
  • Social investor Alan Schwartz: Exchanging good with the Universal Commons
  • Satirist Vu Le: OMG, stop saying ‘there’s only so much funding to go around’!

November 2018: The innovation edition

In this edition, Our Community Executive Director and co-founder of the Australian Institute of Grantmakers Kathy Richardson looks to the horizons to see how far we've come as grants professionals and where we're going next.

We also bring you:

  • Highlights from the Grantmaking in Australian Conference
  • Rory Gallagher of the Behavioural Insights Team examines the link between evidence and action
  • Thought-provoking research about better grantmaking from Australia from the Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre
  • Overseas experts GrantsCraft provide insights into participatory grantmaking and the "pay for success" model
  • Confessions of two professional grantwriters
  • How to boost access to your grants with better social access programs
  • Insights into how we're crunching data for good with LGBTQI+ giving circle, The Channel
  • A satirical look a popularity-based grants

August 2018: The secrets of success in an $80-billion industry

Ask anyone involved in Australia’s massive grants industry what they’d most like to know, and grantseekers and grantmakers alike will ask: “Who is winning all the grants, and why?”

It’s the question at the heart of the latest Grants in Australia 2018 research report, in which we preview new benchmarks of grantmaking archetypes that we’ve dubbed “typical”, “winners”, “strugglers”, “high volume”, “big bucks” and the “super-successful 1%”.

And for the first time, we’ve produced a “sentiment analysis”, to compare grantseeker compliments and criticisms about grantmakers and garner the gist of their views. Also in this issue you’ll read:

  • Key findings from latest Grants in Australia research study
  • Great Barrier Reef grant not a gold-standard grant process
  • What a grantmaking fairy godmother should do
  • Grantmaking performance, the fundamentals
  • Digital civil society and the role of grantmakers, with Lucy Bernholz
  • Is there gender bias in grantmaking?
  • Grants with a handshake? Genevieve Timmons talks trust
  • DSS begins $217m family and children program revamp
  • If nonprofits were brutally honest with funders, part II

April 2018: How do you measure up?

Knowing whether your grantmaking really works matters to everyone: the funders, the recipients, the beneficiaries, the authorities, and your supporters.

And that's where evaluation comes in. While our last Grants in Australia survey reveals 60% of large not-for-profits say grantmakers are demanding increased outcomes measurement, reporting and evaluation, only 12% are winning funding for the purpose. Clearly, the grantmaking sector must respond. Inside this edition, you'll find:

Equip yourself: Rapid growth of social impact reporting tools
Better results: We reveal more about our 'Outcomes Engine'
Talent spotting: Who's evaluating the evaluators?
Fresh knowledge: Lessons from the Ian Potter Foundation
What logic? Our Thinker in Residence on measuring what matters
The big picture: Astrophysicist turns her mind to the grants universe
Rural number crunch: How FRRR is taking their grantmaking to the next level
Rise of the machines: The dangers of data on autopilot
Outcomes focus: The stunning results of The Geelong Project
Staff profile: Meet Gina, SmartyGrants trainer
Satire: Answers on grant proposals if nonprofits were brutally honest …
Sector trends: Grants survey and conference, charity grantmaking grows

November 2017: Community reports with clout

Prove it. That's the challenge that runs through every grant program.

When it comes to reporting, you as a grantmaker must prove that you have allocated money well, you must prove it has been properly spent, and you must decide where you'll spend money in future. It's a tough business, but community foundations - 36 locally based philanthropic groups distributing $21 million in grants each year in Australia - have shown us all a way forward.

That way is called Vital Signs, and is a special focus for this edition.

Also in this issue:

Powerful information: Inside the Vital Signs framework - what's different and who can use it?
Global effect: What impact has Vital Signs had in Fremantle, Melbourne, New Zealand and Canada?
Artificial intelligence: The disruption of distribution
Crunch time: Why local government is getting into grants data
The politics of change: Managing the vertigo of a post-Trump world
Technology solutions: Equip your grant recipients to help you measure impact

August 2017: Lessons from the Grants in Australia 2017 study

In this edition, we examine the results of our Grants in Australia 2017 study.

At last count, government grants to the country's 50,794 registered charities were worth $55.7 billion, up by $13.7 billlion on the year before. (Source: Australian Charities Report 2015). That doesn't include billions more in other government grants to not-for-profits that aren't charities, or funds distributed by corporate, philanthropic or private funds.

That's a massive movement of money. And we know you want to ensure that every grant dollar you allocate has the maximum benefit. We're here to help, and that's why this "survey says" edition brings you:

Exclusive research: With all the key findings from our grants research study
Grant experts' analysis: Feedback, deadlines, data and other lessons for funders
Local government impact: Will councils soon be paying more?
Grants as risky business: Why philanthropy points to the future
Think small: How to help groups grow with grants
Special report: What grantseekers really think about your program

Read on for ways here to make your work easier and more productive

June 2017: What grantmakers must do now

Ahead of the Grants in Australia 2017 survey of nearly 1300 grantseekers across the nation, and in a sneak preview for AIGM members, we distilled the top ten actions grantmakers should take now, and included them in this edition.

The recommendations we've included aren't easy fixes, but all point to significant grantmaking resources on the AIGM site. Appropriately, other topics in this edition further explore issues raised in that "to do" list. Each extend the "hot spot" discussions at our Grantmaking in Australia conference in March. And, of course, draw on the expertise of leading grantmakers. Topics in this edition cover:

Feedback: How the Army has turned defeat into victory
Final reports: How to think outside the box
Grant survey findings: Details about what actions you can take right now
Incomplete applications: What you can do to get them over the line
Core funding: The Community Broadcasting Foundation's solution
Data: How you can use our CLASSIE system
Multi-year funding: Consultant Kate Caldecott takes a closer look
Pre-application briefings: How to make the most of them

March 2017: Quick response grants

Hot on the heels of the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM)'s Grantmaking in Australia Conference, this edition has latest thinking on quick response grants, a tool increasingly used by funders wanting a quick impact with minimum fuss.We've spoken to several grantmakers with wildly different goals, yet all aiming to use swifter payments to improve the results of their grants practice.Among examples we've included are:> Regional Arts Australia, which is using quick turnaround techniques to send performers from the desert to the coast to play to sell-out crowds (among many other things);> the Queensland Government's online disaster response portal, which works to distribute emergency cash to victims, within as little as six hours; > the Moonee Valley Council's small grants program, which helps young athletes, small groups and others to thrive; and, > the Sidney Myer Fund, whose cash injection to a suburban breakdancing troupe L2R (pictured) helped both organisations reach out to a diverse and disadvantaged community. We've also thought carefully about the risks and rewards of using quick response grants with the help of our thinker-in-residence Chris Borthwick.


Working with the Australian Women Donors Network, we spoke with network chair Deanne Weir, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, Australian of the Year David Morrison, and others about gender-wise grantmaking.


Our special report into grants and the use of data. Inside:
- US expert Andrew Means' insights
- Data and the work of the US Robin Hood Foundation
- Our social change taxonomy project, CLASSIE.


Wisdom from from our 2016 Grantmaking in Australia Conference.
- Feedback and timelines
- Problems with applications
- Funding operational costs
- Highly political processes
- Grant program accessibility


The latest findings explain the:
- Lack of feedback from grantmakers
- Funding drop for multi-year grants
- The rise of online grants
- Briefing grantseekers


We're here to help with:
- Where to start when looking at your unsubmitted applications
- Expert tips, ideas and questions to ask about the issue.


Using SmartyGrants data, we examine best-practice assessment, covering:
- Benefits and drawbacks of options
- The gender split
- Timelines and processes


Insights on "preventative grantmaking", answering:
- How do you know if a preventative approach is going to prevent anything?
- How do you measure the success of preventative grantmaking if the aim is to try and have something NOT occur?


Our 2015 conference was built around the theme of "Knowledge is Power", with presenters exploring the many way grantmakers can benefit - and can improve their efforts - by turning data and information into real, useful knowledge.


Options for funders considering participatory grantmaking, including:
- Collective giving and giving circles
- Advisory councils
- Community consultation
- Live grantmaking & contests
- Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing

November 2014


Facts, stats and more covers:
- When grantmakers close rounds
- Grantseekers' submission habits
- Our best practice benchmarks
- Late application policies
- What to do after closing your round

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