A Grant-Seeker’s Guide to Trusts & Foundations

Author: Vanessa Meachen

The word 'Philanthropy' is often used but many people find the world of philanthropy quite mysterious. There are many different meanings to the word, usually depending on who you ask. In the context of this guide, we will be using Philanthropy Australia's definition, which is:

The planned and structured giving of money, time, information, goods and services, voice and influence to improve the wellbeing of humanity and the community.

In practical terms, much of the philanthropy that happens in Australian involves gifts of money granted to not-for-profit entities by philanthropic trusts and foundations, collectively referred to as "foundations" or grant-makers throughout this publication. This guide is designed as a basic guide to these philanthropic trusts and foundations, how they operate, and how you can research them and apply to them for funding.

There is nothing that can guarantee your success in seeking funds from philanthropic trusts and foundations - no magic phrase or surefire tactics. This is one reason why you should not rely on philanthropy for your core funding - because you cannot rely on it. You can never be certain that any of your funding applications is going to succeed. But there are many ways to increase your chances, and this guide will help you with that.


What is the Grant-Seeker's Guide?

This manual will provide you with guidance on:

  • What is philanthropy? The language and terms often used by grant-makers and unfers.
  • How philanthropic trusts and foundations operate, common drivers and constraints
  • Projects, organisations & proposals that have the most chance of attracting funds from philanthropic trusts and foundations and those less likely to be funded
  • What funders will be looking for when they assess grant applications
  • What kind of information you need to provide to the foundations
  • What to include in your funding application (and what to leave out)
  • How to build & maintain a good relationship with the foundations, which enhances your chances of future success

Much of what is in this guide is common sense. You do have to put some work, thought and time into this. You also have to be realistic and understand where your idea might fit in with the priorities and needs of those who are giving the money. While it is not easy, it can be simpler than you might think, and it is always worth applying if you find a suitable foundation to approach.

Published: Nov. 2009

ISBN: 978-0-9750639-9-6

Price: Free

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