Private giving plays an important role in addressing the most pressing social, environmental, and economic challenges facing our world today. As approaches to giving continue to evolve, these key trends give rise to new opportunities for givers to achieve greater impact.
Engaged giving is about giving other support in addition to the important funding you provide to charities, from adopting the 5-Ts model (Time, Treasure, Talent, Ties and Testimony) to collaborating with other funders. Whether through joining a membership group, creating co-funding partnerships, or getting involved in Giving Circles, funders and charities alike see the benefits of engaged giving to expand reach and impact.
If you would like to expand your giving beyond funding, consider the following:
- Which of the 5 Ts could you step into? Do you have time or skills to impart? Could you share the work of the charity with your networks? Are you able to publicly speak about your giving?
- Would you like to pool your funds with others to maximise your impact? APS clients are part of a number of Giving Circles including the APS-run Bloom Giving Circle, involving givers who fund in the environmental space. Is there value for you in joining a network of like-minded funders, or a membership organisation of philanthropists? There are several groups which share knowledge, experience and funding opportunities, such as Philanthropy Australia, the Australian International Development Network, Australians Investing in Women, Jewish Funders Network, Nexus, and the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network.
New models for impact
Traditional charities are reliant on the generosity of donors and often governments to fund their work. New models are emerging that aim to diversify funding and create sustainability in revenue streams for social impact organisations.
Social enterprises are one such fast-growing area and are interlinked with a focus on supporting grassroots charities. In essence, social enterprises are businesses that are founded with a social, cultural or environmental purpose. Their social impact can vary widely, from providing employment pathways for disadvantaged individuals, through to developing wellbeing programs for schools or re-purposing technology to bridge the digital divide in disadvantaged communities. Social enterprises generate a proportion of their income through trade, but in almost all instances, any profit is reinvested back into the organisation and the public benefit or cause. Early-stage social enterprises often rely on philanthropy to demonstrate proof-of-concept, then support their work as they scale.
If you are interested in getting to know social enterprises working on your cause areas of interest, you can connect with your state Social Enterprise council or ask the APS team. Note that not all social enterprises are registered charities with DGR1 status and registered with the charities regulator, the ACNC, so not all will be eligible for direct funding.
Systems change & advocacy
Whereas once advocacy was seen as a space to avoid when it came to philanthropy, there is a growing appetite among givers to get involved. Funders are looking not just at band-aid solutions, but at working to change systems (including the economic, social and policy aspects) which entrench or perpetuate core social challenges.
This systems-level focus is applicable to any number of causes, be it the decision-making structures directing funding to schools, the power of lobbyists to stall progress on climate change, or social expectations around masculinity that are linked to domestic abuse.
Practical solutions may be to use your voice to advocate in your networks, to work with funder collaboratives who are like-minded and wish to advocate collectively for policy change, and to fund or provide pro-bono support for charities working in systems change through local communities and government at all levels.
Whilst givers continue to support the breadth of social and cultural issues in Australia and overseas, there are some causes that are rising in focus. Often attributed to changing interests among younger generations, causes gaining particular traction include mental health, climate change, domestic and family violence, inequity and identity.
With the rise in focus on these causes in particular, there is a growing understanding of the intersectional nature of social issues. These challenges are interconnected and addressing one issue often requires considering multiple underlying factors. For example, the focus on mental health acknowledges the connection between mental wellbeing and factors such as socio-economic status, discrimination, and access to resources. Similarly, the attention given to climate change recognises the disproportionate impact it has on marginalised communities and the need for environmental justice.
This shift in giving trends reflects a broader recognition of the complexities of social issues and a commitment to fostering holistic, inclusive and sustainable solutions that tackle multiple dimensions of social inequality and systemic problems.
Have you ever asked, ‘How do I ensure my money goes to programs and not to administration?’ Trust-based giving shifts power dynamics away from the funder and promotes collaboration, recognising that those closest to the issues are often best positioned to identify effective solutions. In essence, funders provide unrestricted, multi-year funding to charities, giving them the freedom to allocate resources where they are most needed.
Within the move to trust-based giving, Pay What It Takes is a movement driven by some of Australia’s leading philanthropic foundations that urges funders to fully understand the true costs of charitable work and provide funding that covers all necessary expenses, including administrative and infrastructure costs, rather than restricting funding to specific programs or activities.
As a funder, could you consider working with your trusted charity partners to remove limitations on your gifts?
If you would like assistance with your philanthropic giving, APS can help. Get in touch today.
Last updated July 2023