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Grants Management Intelligence

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Insights for grantmakers

Grants Management Intelligence is Australia's first and best publication aimed at boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of grantmakers and funders.

With in-depth studies of grantmaking issues using our own experts and research, by speaking to the best in the field, and with exclusive access to SmartyGrants data, Grants Management Intelligence focuses on practical ways to improve your grants program to help you make best practice, standard practice.

From the basics to expert-level commentary, we've covered:

  • Grants round closing times and trends - including best days and times to close
  • Grants assessment panels - with data on assessment panel size, gender make-up, time taken and processes
  • Unsubmitted grants applications - including data on submissions and best practice recommendations
  • Preventative and Participatory grantmaking
  • Results from our annual Grants In Australia Survey
  • Big data and how you can use it properly

Grants Management Intelligence is must read material for federal, state and local grantmakers, funders and policymakers; local councillors and community development workers; philanthropic workers; grantmakers in the corporate world; and financial and legal advisors.

The quarterly publication is just one of the benefits of membership of the Australian Institute of Grants Management. Learn more and sign up here.

A taste of recent editions

Inside the evaluation edition

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.

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 edition: Lessons from the Grants in Australia 2017 research study.

In this issue of Grants Management Intelligence, we examine the results of our Grants in Australia 2017 study.

As you may know, the size of Australia's grants industry is astonishing.

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

Exclusive research: June 2017 edition reveals 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

Act fast: March 2017 edition features 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.

More editions: Still not sure? Click here for more detail about our past editions.

About our previous editions



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.


August, 2016


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.


Grants in Australia 2010 survey


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

MAY 2016
Grants in Australia 2009 survey


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


Grants in Australia 2007 survey


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.


Grants in Australia 2007 survey


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

Grants in Australia survey 2006


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?
JUNE 2015
Grants in Australia 2012 survey


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.

APRIL 2015
Grants in Australia 2012 survey


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

Grants in Australia 2012 survey


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