NFPs Applying for Fewer Grants
9 June 2016 at 10:00 am
Grantseekers are applying for smaller numbers of grants, and have called on funders for greater support through both multi-year grants and grants covering core operational costs, according to the latest research report from the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM).
The survey is said to be Australia’s biggest study of grantseeker behaviour and attitudes, with more than 1,350 people responding to the 2015 survey.
The survey found that more than 61 per cent of grantseekers applied for five grants or fewer during 2015. The finding continues a trend from recent surveys – the 2013/14 survey found that 54 per cent of grantseekers applied for between one and five grants in the preceding 12 months. In 2012, that figure was 45 per cent.
And while many grantseekers said they had maintained (42 per cent) or marginally increased (41 per cent) the number of grants they had applied for in the past 12 months, it appeared that most were working from a very low base, or are only new to the grantseeking process.
In addition, many grantseekers said that the two prime factors stopping them from applying for more grants were a lack of resources/staff (63.9 per cent) or a lack of time (55.8 per cent).
“These findings, and anecdotal evidence the AIGM has gathered, indicate that new grantseekers start out applying for a smaller number of grants before quickly realising they don’t have the capability to expand that number too far,” the report said.
“So they maintain (or slightly increase) the number of grants they apply for, becoming more selective and targeted in their application methods in the hope of experiencing greater levels of success.”
Grantseekers have also used the 2015 Grants in Australia Survey to express concerns over what they see as a fall in grants which cover groups’ core operational costs, and in multi-year grants.
Nearly 42 per cent felt there were fewer grants available for core operating costs than 12 months ago, compared to just 4.6 per cent who felt there had been an increase.
Meanwhile almost 30 per cent said there had been a fall in multi-year grants on offer over the past 12 months; only 6 per cent thought more were on offer.
Grantseekers have long felt funders need to improve in this area. More than 60 per cent of respondents to the 2012 survey said funders didn’t provide sufficient support for core or operating costs, while 77 per cent of 2012 survey respondents agreed that funders should provide more financial support for core costs.
“A lack of multi-year funding, combined with a lack of grants towards core operational costs, can stifle groups’ attempts at medium or long-term planning and can force them to take a shorter-term, hand-to-mouth approach,” the 2015 report said.
“If grantmakers are serious about working in partnership with grantseekers and truly taking account of their wisdom, they’ll act to arrest this concerning trend.”
Almost half (46 per cent) of grantseekers who responded to the 2015 Survey described grantmakers efforts at providing “useful, relevant” feedback on unsuccessful applications as “bad”. Only 11 per cent said these efforts were “good”.
In addition, when funders ask grantseekers for feedback on how to improve their efforts, a significant portion of grantseekers (around 40 per cent) felt funders “never” or “rarely” took note of that feedback.
Of those who had sought help from a funder in completing their grant application in the past 12 months, nearly 90 per cent described the experience as “generally satisfactory”. Meanwhile, 90 per cent of grantseekers felt that funders were “sometimes” or “always” approachable and accessible.
Other findings from the 2015 Survey included:
- Grantseekers love pre-application briefings or grant information sessions.
- Online applications are the norm, and the vast majority of grantseekers prefer them – though they note some issues with completing online applications.
- Around 75 per cent of grantseekers told the 2015 survey that some level of government – local, state or federal – was the primary source of their grants funding.
Download the report here.