Large organisations are winning small grants as well as big ones, pressure is building on local government grants budgets, and a huge amount of effort is being wasted on grant applications that are started and never finished.
They're just three of the findings from the latest Grants in Australia report (see bottom), part of a decade-long research project produced by Our Community's Innovation Lab that charts the field of grantmaking from the not-for-profit sector's perspective.
Picture: Yelloader, Peter Rosjberg via Flickr
More than 1200 individuals, all of whom were involved in applying for or receiving a grant in the previous 12 months, took part in the 2017 survey. Findings included:
Analysis of this year's results, as well as comparison with previous years' results, has produced a wealth of lessons for grantmakers and grantseekers. Both groups can download a tailored action list designed to translate survey insights into real-world actions.
Not-for-profits can also compare their grantseeking habits against their peers via a benchmarking tool that's also being released today.
"We try to make sure the research we do is not just interesting, but useful," said Our Community executive director and "chaos controller" Kathy Richardson.
"Billions are distributed across Australia in grants each year by local councils, state and federal government agencies, philanthropic trusts, family foundations, community foundations and corporate foundations - a mass movement of money mainly to social causes.
"But good outcomes are not guaranteed. We want to play a part in ensuring that every precious grant dollar is used to produce the maximum benefit for Australian society. This study forms an important part of that aim."
The Grants in Australia study builds on a string of surveys conducted by Our Community since 2006. This year's data analysis was overseen by Our Community's data scientist Joost van der Linden, with subject matter expertise contributed by Our Community's Funding Centre, Australian Institute of Grants Management and SmartyGrants staff.
Leading grantmaker Jon King from the Community Broadcasting Foundation previewed the study, and was shocked to learn that 38% of grantseekers failed to meet grant deadlines. "What a waste of time. This is time you could have used for your cause, or to cold-call potential sponsors," he said.
The full report, as well as the benchmarking tool and actions lists for grantmakers and grantseekers, are available at www.ourcommunity.com.au/grants2017.
The 2018 Grantmaking in Australia Conference will connect you with the people who have stared down the challenges and give you the confidence you need to take one small step for your organisation, towards one giant leap for humankind.
Prepare for impact: Suit up, strap and count down for better grantmaking. Save the date for our conference now.
There are some big players in the world of social impact reporting, with think tanks and technology companies vying to solve one of the toughest problems we face: how can organisations measure their social worth?
This is a new data-driven era, and if you claim that your grants programs have had an impact, you have to back those claims with data. Anecdotes aren't good enough.
How our SmartyGrants trainer can "save your (grantmaking) life".