3 Grantmaking Trends & Predictions in Australia 2024

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The world of grantmaking in Australia is changing quickly, and both government and philanthropic funders are looking at new and different ways to make a big impact with their grant programs.

Now in the second half of 2024, we’re expecting to see several important trends driving how grant programs are designed and assessed.

Let’s look at three key trends that we believe will shape Australian grantmaking in the coming year and how you as a grantmaker or recipient can use them in your grant management work.

Grantmaking Trend 1: Programs for Advancing Knowledge

A constant we expect to see is continued support for programs that grow our core knowledge and understanding, especially in areas that can have large benefits across society, like the economy, the environment or culture. While these programs may start locally, their lessons can be applied much more broadly.

In discussing trends with SurePact CEO Dan Pritchard, he remarks: “Programs that advance core knowledge and have significant impacts will see ongoing and increased support. Their utility goes far beyond just the local areas where they begin.”

By funding the growth of knowledge, grantmakers are investing in projects and ideas that can work across different contexts and settings, creating a ripple effect of positive change.

Grantmaking Trend 2: Programs that Foster Collaboration

“Grantmakers more and more realise the benefits of bringing different types of organisations together to work on problems because of the diversity of the viewpoints that fosters within the solution,” says Dan.

As challenges become more complex, grantmakers understand the power of collaboration. By funding projects that connect government, private companies, research groups, community organisations and others, diverse perspectives have a breeding ground to come together organically. This mix of ideas and experiences leads to better, multi-faceted, and undiscovered solutions.

Grantmaking Trend 3: Programs that Prioritise Innovation

“We will see an increase in the focus on innovation within our successfully grant-funded programs,” notes Dan. “With increased innovation comes increased risk but also significant potential for increased impact.”

Grantmakers are getting more eager to take smart risks by backing innovative ideas. While innovation can carry more uncertainty, it also opens up possible breakthrough solutions with large positive impacts that status quo approaches can’t achieve.

Three Actions for Grantmakers and Recipients to Take in 2025

To effectively incorporate these three trends into their 2025 planning, forward-thinking grantmakers and recipients need to adopt specific strategies:

  1. Improving Grant Application Experiences and Requirements: Grantmakers should take the opportunity to review their applicant experience and requirements to understand where there’s unnecessary red tape that can be cut, allowing more participation from diverse potential applicants.
  2. Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in the Recipient Pool: Consider setting KPIs to fund programs proposed by a more diverse range of applicants over the next year to bring in new ideas and unlock never-before-seen solutions. It can be challenging to add extra requirements to grant programs that attract high numbers of applicants. Grantmaking software that streamlines application eligibility and review time becomes vital.
  3. Aligning New Projects to Trending Priorities: For grant seekers, when planning projects that will require grant funding, consider aligning it to one of the three trends we’ve talked about. There will be more desire to see grant programs tackle locally relevant issues in ways that also contribute insights and solutions for wider contexts. By targeting national and global priority areas, you will naturally maximise the potential impact of your project and strengthen your grant proposal.

By thinking about how to improve requirements, prioritise diversity, and align to big-picture priorities, grant professionals are positioning themselves to be more effective in crafting their grant programs or grant proposals. While the road ahead contains uncertainties, one thing is certain – the grantmaking sector aims to drive positive, sustainable change for Australian communities and beyond.

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