Grants in Australia: the secrets of success

October 14, 2018 by in News

Who is winning grants and why?

It’s the question at the heart of the latest Grants in Australia 2018 research  – the biggest report since the inception of the series in 2006.  The report is an analysis of a national survey of Australian grantseekers.

Queensland respondents represent 15.8% of the total of 2012. Based on responses, the researchers estimate that around $80 billion is given away each year, the bulk of it from government, with that figure rising each year.

They’ve dubbed grantmaking archetypes as “typical”, “winners”, “struggler”, “high volume”, “big bucks” and the “super-successful”.

Also included is a cross-check of data across organisations to compare performance by size, sector and funding sources and a “sentiment analysis”.

Key facts:

  • Human services comprises the largest single grant-seeking group
  • State/territory governments are the most common primary source of funds
  • Grantseekers who struggle to win many grants or as much income, tend to have far less experience in the grant game
  • Size doesn’t matter when it comes to winning
  • Your grantseeking performance could simply be a sector trend
  • Philanthropic funding is the toughest to crack

It provides some interesting reading although it needs to be kept in mind that some of the results may not reflect all recipients of this newsletter. Results that Indigo Gold found interesting:

  • Small organisations are heavily represented, with 49% of respondents coming from organisations with annual revenue of less than $250,000
  • 8 out of 10 applicants are applying for grants of less than $5,000
  • 40% of organisations didn’t apply for a grant more than $10,000
  • Most of the respondents to the survey are paid to work at their NFP – whose who are volunteers are probably not responding to the survey (12% were a general volunteer)

How to spot a typical grantseeker

  • Median success rate: 50%
  • 40% of typical grantseekers bring in less than $10,000 per year, 33% collect $10,000–100,000
  • 62% lodge all the applications that they start
  • 65% include references or letters of support in their applications
  • 75% female
  • CEO (38%), staff member (24%), grant officer (24%) or volunteer (14%)
  • Aged 26–49 years old (45%) or 50–64 years old (39%)
  • Likely to have 10 years (26%) or 1–3 years (23%) of grantseeking experience
  • Organisation profile: Small (annual revenue less than $250,000); From the human services or community and economic development sector; Primary source of grants is state/territory government sources

How to spot a struggling grantseeker

  • Median success rate: 1% (typically zero from three)
  • 40% bring in less than $10,000 per year in grants
  • 40% lodge all their applications, compared to the 62% average
  • Applied for more grants than last year
  • Even less likely than typical grantseekers to hire external grantwriters (10% compared with 11%)
  • Only half include references or letters of support with their applications (compared with the typical rate of 65%)
  • Much more likely to be the CEO/executive directors of the organisation, and unlikely to be employed as a grants/fundraising officer
  • Half have less than 3 years of experience of grantseeking
  • 45% are 26–49 years old; 38% are 50–64 years old
  • Organisation profile: Small (annual revenue less than $250,000); From the human services, education or health sector
  • Draws primary funding from state/territory government

Download the report to read more.  It was produced by InnovationLab.

“For ‘winner’ grantseekers: It’s clear from our results that experience breeds a higher hit-rate, which suggests that if your organisation is short of time, you should recruit and learn from those with knowledge about the sector, processes, policies and practices.”