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How to connect with under-represented communities

Tailoring your communication style is critical if you want to connect with groups that are under-represented in your grants program, according to the Sunshine Coast Council's community connections team leader, Maggie Cattanach.

Speaking at the 2018 Grantmaking in Australia Conference, Ms Cattanach offered advice from her team's experience connecting with the First Nations community (defined as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) in their local government area.

The council's March 2016 major grants and events rounds attracted no applications from First Nations groups and no applications for projects relating to First Nations people, even though this demographic represents 1.9% of the Sunshine Coast's population.

"That was quite a shock," Ms Cattanach said.

"Nothing was going to change until we were proactive and actually made them a priority."

Between March 2016 and March 2018, grant submissions for projects from or relating to First Nations people rose from 0% to 8.1%.


Sunshine Coast Council's community connections team leader, Maggie Cattanach, spoke at the Local Government Tribal Gathering at the 2018 Grantmaking in Australia Conference.

From this experience, the community connections team learned the importance of strategic planning, relationship building, cultural capability, targeted program design and targeted promotion.

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