In a new survey from Philanthropy Australia, 88% of funders who responded have changed how they support the community and charitable sector.
As many charities face an uncertain and challenging future with revenue dropping and demand for their services rising, the survey from Australian funders’ peak body offers some good news.
Conducted in late April, 101 grantmakers responded to the survey with the majority indicating that they had moved swiftly to make changes by increasing flexibility (72%), untying restricted funding (48%), increasing financial grant support (42%), and establishing dedicated COVID-19 grant programs (32%).
Of the trusts and foundations that responded, 40% have opened up new grant opportunities to support communities and organisations needing immediate relief and recovery funding, and 60% are offering grants to new partners.
Many philanthropists are also planning to increasing their giving despite the fact that 84% noted a decrease in the value of their corpus. Some 38% of respondents are increasing their distribution this financial year (by an average of 20%), only 7% intend to decrease their giving, and just over 54% are planning to maintain current giving levels.
In the next financial year 22% of respondents intend to further increase their giving, with 15% intending to decrease their giving, 31% planning to maintain the same grant amounts, and 32% yet to decide.
As well as changing their approach to partners, respondents had also taken other actions to address the disruption caused by the pandemic. These include paying for key staff and additional resources to build digital capability; supporting advocacy work for vulnerable groups; increased public and government advocacy work; agreeing to reallocate funding to areas of more pressing need; providing expertise and mentoring; and capturing learnings from the effects of the pandemic.
Philanthropy Australia CEO Sarah Davies hailed the contribution of the community of funders who have built their collective expertise, tools and practice to become outstanding operators.
“The Australian philanthropic community works closely together, and the collaboration and collective response is extraordinary. If we can encourage more philanthropy and giving, and see it channelled in this way, our communities will be so much the better for it.”
Find out more about the membership benefits of joining Philanthropy Australia here.
You might also like to read our story, Four ways COVID-19 philanthropy is helping to navigate the crisis. Or head to our COVID-19 hub.