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A New Take on Philanthropic Partnerships

1 December 2011 at 10:24 am
Staff Reporter
Why the change to long term philanthropic partnerships as opposed to one-off donations? Simon Lewis, the Head of Strategic Partnerships, Communications & Community at The Trust Company explains.

Staff Reporter | 1 December 2011 at 10:24 am


A New Take on Philanthropic Partnerships
1 December 2011 at 10:24 am

In response to an increasing number of grant applications, a growing emphasis on reporting against outcomes and in line with its continuing improvement towards its vision to be the regions pre-eminent trustee, The Trust Company is looking to invest more in long term philanthropic partnerships.

The Trust Company has, over 126 years, assumed the privilege and responsibility of managing a portfolio of over 350 charitable trusts here in Australia. We have significant or total discretion in the distributions from a number of these charitable trusts. As part of a recent strategic review, The Trust Company set itself the goal of maximising the social impact of this discretionary trust portfolio.

In workshops with past beneficiaries held earlier this year, we heard that online forms typically associated with funding rounds limited the applicant’s ability to effectively communicate their vision, strategy and project. Neither do online forms allow the trustee adequate assessment of the calibre and passion of organisational leadership – key drivers of social impact over time.

The objective to maximising discernible social impact has led The Trust Company towards an ‘Engaged Philanthropy’ approach, an important aspect of which involves investing in a smaller group of multi-year partnerships from selected program areas.

This more strategic approach allows our Philanthropy team to focus on building closer relationships with a selected group of Not for Profit partners and to develop a greater understanding of our program areas. In doing so, we build our internal capability and perspective to make better decisions towards better outcomes.

We can also enhance our service to these selected partners by providing additional support beyond the funding. For example, we are working with Melbourne Business School (MBS) – Asia Pacific Social Impact Leadership Centre to develop a methodology of social impact over time for our discretionary portfolio. MBS will also assist The Trust Company to facilitate the collaboration within each Program Area and to coordinate biannual workshops between our Strategic Partners.

Over time, The Trust Company will be in a position to develop and promote thought leadership in these program areas, and our team managing the Strategic Partnership model will learn the art of social impact assessment.


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