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‘Who is winning all the grants and why?’

A new report into grantseeking trends has identified the characteristics of the “winners” and “strugglers”

A recent report into trends in Australia’s grants industry set out to examine what makes some grantseekers more successful than others.

The Grants in Australia 2018 research report, commissioned by Our Community, is part of an ongoing research project that analyses trends in grantmaking from the grantseeking community’s perspective.

The report, the biggest since the inception of the series in 2006, aims to inspire and enable more successful grantseeking and better grantmaking. This year’s study looked at a “typical” grantseeker, and profiles the attributes of applicants who are “winners”, “strugglers”, “high volume”, “big bucks” and “super successful”.

The research found that the grantseeking sector is large, diverse and often reliant on small grants.It is estimated that around $80 billion is given away each year, with the majority coming from government. The grantseekers who took part in the study submitted more than 14,000 grant applications in the past year, with around eight out of 10 applying for grants worth less than $5,000. Around 40 per cent of the grantseekers relied on state and territory governments for their main grants income.

The study also found that the typical grantseeker is female and tech-savvy. The “winner” grantseeker has typically been working in the industry for more than five years and is often aged over 50. In comparison, “strugglers” were found to typically have less than three years of experience.

“Super-successful” grantseekers, those who boast an 80% hit rate, 10+ applications, and $100,000+ raised last year, comprised less than 1 per cent of the study. What they had in common was that they lodged every application they started, backed themselves with references, backed their own experience rather than that of outside experts, and used their large and well-established organisations to leverage larger funding pools from every sphere, including the harder-to-win philanthropic and federal funds. They tended to operate in the housing, disability, education and health sectors.

The report also found taht using a professional grantwriter didn’t increase your win rate and that philanthropic funding proved the toughest to crack. Another key finding showed that whilst organisations prefer financial assistance to operational support, organisations of all types agreed that their “lack of resources” was their biggest challenge when it came to winning grants, while the most common desire for non-financial help from grantmakers was for introductions to new funders and strategic fundraising help

Over 2,000 responses were analysed as part of the study, and the data was drawn from an online survey of not-for-profit groups across Australia. They were invited to share their experiences of grantseeking and their interactions with grantmakers and grantmaking systems.

The full 2018 report is available here.

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