Applications for Perpetual Funding Rounds Increase by 118% over Five Years

Perpetual’s philanthropy funding round was oversubscribed by a factor of 10 this year with some $90 million being requested by Australian Not for Profits, with only $9 million available for distribution.

New figures show that applications to Perpetual’s funding rounds have grown sharply in recent years, with the amount of funds requested rising 118 per cent since 2008 - from $41.5 million to $90.6 million - and the number of applications growing 63 per cent over the same time, from 745 to 1,214.

According to Andrew Thomas, Perpetual’s general manager, Philanthropy, the increase in applications and funds requested reflects Not for Profits becoming more professional in how they secure funding in a volatile market.

“Post-GFC economic conditions have been volatile and there has been a tightening of purse strings since 2008. In order to counter this funding uncertainty, NFPs are exploring all avenues to support their causes.”

Perpetual’s funding round allocates money from philanthropists’ charitable trusts.

“The application process is rigorous. To be successful, applicants must be able to articulate the achievements of their organisation through strategy, outcomes, capability and leadership,” Thomas said.

“The establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) will lead to reform and more stringent reporting in the sector this year,” he said.

“Governance and accountability are growing issues for NFPs, and our funding round applications and selection process has emphasised these aspects for a long time now. It’s a positive step for the sector to have the ACNC focus on it too.”

The recipients of grants from Perpetual’s annual funding round will be announced on 30 June, 2012. Last year, Perpetual’s funding round delivered $9.1 million in funding to 166 organisations across Australia, in areas such as arts and culture, health, conservation and environment, social welfare, education and medical research. 


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Comments

Corporatization of the community sector

What's wrong with the Perpetual picture? If the ratio of funds available to requests is 1:10, why is the organization not doing Expressions of Interest first? Small organizations delivering vital services where grant applications are done by volunteers are severely disadvantaged in the corporatization of the community sector. Andrew Thomas might think that the sector is becoming more professional - I think the philanthropy sector is using 'rigorous process' as an exclusion mechanism. I have no problem with accountability and stringent governance. What I do have a problem with is wasted effort. Why do they not offer a simple one-page Expression of Interest, short-list, and then demand the rigorous process? On the current figures, 90% of the effort and work goes to waste. And Andrew Thomas seems to take pride in that? Nobody will comment because nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds, but if we look at the whole philanthropy sector, that is, benefactors and recipients, as a system, then organizations like Perpetual could reduce costs in the whole system if it was more strategic in its processes.

Perpetual grants

As someone who has been writing grant submissions for NFPs for some years I read this with interest. I have to disagree with Perpetual's stance that we are becoming more "professional" in our applications. In fact we have to jump through hoops for many submissions, often repeating the same information about a proposed project in different words or formats (KPIs etc). As a volunteer I find it increasingly hard to find others willing to do submissions and I begrudge the many hours I myself spend writing lengthy applications. Sure we succeed with some but often these are the ones with short forms or EOIs. I can't believe that boards and trusts really want to read loads of pages, when they can probably tell very quickly whether the proposed project is a good fit for them. The current regime also discriminates against small NFPs who have limited numbers of people willing/able to spend the time required on submissions, and those who have ongoing operations that badly need funding but don't fit into the "New Project" concept that is so fashionable these days. Most organisations like Perpetual are receiving increasing numbers of submissions as there is increasing need. I encourage all to consider making the process quicker and simpler for all!

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