Benefolk advocates for improved design of government funding criteria
Benefolk submitted input to the Independent Review of Commonwealth Disaster Funding (the Colvin Review) advocating for improving the design of government funding criteria to support the social sector workforce’s wellbeing.
The review called for input on how Commonwealth funding could support communities to reduce their disaster risk. An excerpt from our response is below;
Government can design funding criteria to strengthen not-for-profits by providing:
- More equitable funding - especially for small to medium sized organisations in regional and rural areas to redress the skew that 10% of charities receive 94% of donations1
- Secure funding - multi-year funding so funding outcomes can continue, benefits be ongoing and talent retained beyond 12-month contracts. The Northern Rivers Flood Grant Forum on August 1 reiterated this with many groups saying “we have had 1 year of support but the demand is still there. What do we do now?”.
- Flexible funding - adequate funding for ‘indirect, untied or core costs’ such as fundraising, HR, finance and management, rather than predominantly to direct costs (projects / programs) to allow not-for-profits to put funding where it’s most needed. This approach can be accountable via using payment by outcomes (currently being trialled by the Department of Social Services).
- Lean funding - minimising lengthy grant writing and reporting processes.
- Capacity building funding - strengthening organisational function, professional development and leadership capability (e.g. fundraising, strategy, IT, evaluation - which we provide through our social enterprise Benefolk).
- Capacity building for workplace wellbeing and resilience - for example through supporting our charity arm Benefolk Foundation to keep running and promoting the free online new Social Sector Wellbeing and Resilience Hub, The Community Well
Strengthening not-for-profits via improved funding design will allow them to go beyond survival. It will allow them to build capacity in areas such as staff wellbeing and prevention of trauma. This will enable them in areas of disaster preparedness and risk reduction, with a strengthened workforce to face future challenges.
1. McLeod, J (2016) The Support Report, JBWere.