How Cairns Indigenous Art Fair uses SurePact to Bring Grant-funded Projects Together

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About Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) is Australia’s premier Indigenous art fair, showcasing the finest artworks, fashion designs and performances by Indigenous artists from Queensland. As a major not-for-profit organisation, CIAF is dedicated to promoting an ethical art marketplace, attracting national and international collectors and curators, commissioning new work, and providing professional development opportunities and pathways for emerging visual and performance artists.

Established by the Queensland Government in 2009 as a strategic initiative of the Backing Indigenous Arts program, CIAF has since transitioned to independent status. It continues to receive valued support from both Commonwealth and State Government grant funding. Additionally,  CIAF actively seeks philanthropic and sponsorship partnerships to expand its diverse program offerings and create new opportunities for Indigenous creatives.

The problem

As CIAF expanded with the introduction of the CIAF Evolution Project traineeship program and the welcoming of new team members, the need for a more streamlined way to track activities around grant-funded project delivery became apparent.

CIAF’s General Manager highlighted the organisation’s shift towards a “new way of doing things”, aiming to make processes accessible to everyone, including external contractors, artists, performers, and other stakeholders. 

Despite the team’s capability and work ethic, there was no unified software solution that had the right feature set for a non-profit organisation receiving grant funding to manage projects and streamline milestone reporting. This lack of centralisation made it difficult to track where each team member was at in the post-award grant management process and provide support when needed, revealing a significant gap that needed to be filled by manual check-ins and disparate task management.

The solution

Having learnt of SurePact software in a previous role, the General Manager recognised that it had all the features and capabilities the organisation was looking for. 

CIAF has begun using SurePact’s grant management software to manage all lifecycle stages of grant delivery post-award, centralising housing all contracts, documents, and information related to a grant with a robust audit trail. With intelligent and customisable workflows, built-in analytics, and real-time reporting dashboards, SurePact is helping CIAF streamline all project activities into one cohesive system.

Internally, all staff have access to SurePact and are also using it to track their projects on a day-to-day basis, helping to clarify roles and improve operations. The platform’s easy-to-use and feature-rich user experience, which includes an asset management register, continues to serve CIAF’s unique needs of remaining accountable to the Federal and State government agencies providing grant funding for their programs.

The results

“As an organisation, we rely on grants to facilitate everything we do,” says Megan O’Toole, CIAF’s Business & Compliance Manager.  “So inputting those grants into SurePact – having an overview of all the money coming into the organisation in one place, and a high-level understanding of which milestones need to be hit and when  – has been very beneficial.”

As an event approaches, CIAF’s PR and marketing teams will use SurePact to collaborate with artists, performers, event management, security and hundreds of external contractors. Key stakeholders, like the Cairns Convention Centre and Cairns Regional Council, will also be integrated into the platform.

“I would highly recommend it, especially if they’re currently operating off of multiple spreadsheets,” says Megan. “To have everyone working on the one platform, to enable that collaboration across the organisation – it’s just been such a game changer for us.”

CIAF is continuing to forge new pathways for artists and performers while implementing innovative and streamlined project management processes with SurePact’s software.

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