Collective giving through giving circles has been growing in Australia over the last four years. Since James Boyd introduced the Impact100 model to Western Australia in 2012, four more Impact100 groups have sprung up in Australia – Impact100 Melbourne (disclosure – this year I have joined the management and grantmaking committees), Impact100 SA, Impact100 Fremantle, and launched just this year, Impact100 Sydney. Women & Change in Queensland is also based on a similar model.
The basis for the idea is to gather 100 people together to each make a donation of $1,000 which will then be paid out as a high impact grant of $100,000 to a small not for profit charitable organisation – creating a transformational and significant change for both the community and the charity.
The Impact100 groups work closely with community foundations to administer their funds and comply with tax and legal requirements.
The democratic and participatory part of the Impact100 groups is that the members decide on a theme or focus for granting, and after a shortlisting process, every member votes as to where they want the funds to go.
This year’s focus areas are:
Impact100 WA – arts & culture, education, environment, family & community or health & wellness
Impact100 Fremantle – creating a culture of connection
Impact100 SA – strengthening families
Impact100 Melbourne – Melbourne – Diverse and Inclusive (including health/education/environment)
Impact100 Sydney – making a positive difference to the lives of Sydney’s young people
Women & Change -social welfare and/or education support.
If you are a grantseeker, check out the websites for information on deadlines, how to apply and grant guidelines.
If you are interested in becoming a member/donor, the websites have information on how you can get involved too.
So what do we really mean by impact? The launch of Impact100 Melbourne’s theme for 2016 was held recently. Bridget Allen, Big Impact for Women Project Manager at McAuley Community Services for Women, the recipient of the 2014 grant, spoke about how $100,000 made a significant difference to their organisation.
Funds from the 2014 grant went towards a homelessness program which provides accommodation and support for women who are homeless as a consequence of family violence or mental illness (the Big Impact for Women Project).
In 2015, McAuley Community Services for Women helped around 1,000 women and children to rebuild their lives, supporting them on their journey towards independence and safer futures.
McAuley House provides a safe place to stay, intensive case management support and support to develop independent living skills for a safe sustainable future beyond McAuley.
Big Impact for Women Project focused on enhancing internal operations and processes across the organisation. This was achieved by improving their case management processes, redesigning their skills development program, and being innovative in their approach using a model of analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation.
This resulted in a new best practice case management framework which is client focussed, streamlined, individually tailored and reduces duplication, new client assessment tools and new client driven goal planning tools. Funds from the grant were also applied to strengthening the suicide response procedure, new exit feedback procedures , a new practice manual, a peer / buddy support system and a paperless system.
All of this has led to the capacity for the organisation to have a broader reach and deeper organisational impact, greater staff capacity building, the ability to focus on projects and not be reactionary, the opportunity to reflect and grow, and the possibility to replicate and create a ripple effect from the success of the program.
McAuley Community Services for Women noted that “not many philanthropic trusts support sustainable projects that continue long after the grant has run out. Impact 100 does.“
Outcomes like this show that collective giving really can punch above its weight and that the fastest growing trend in philanthropy is not just a flash in the pan.
ozphilanthropy would love to share some of the other stories of the impact created through giving circles. What are your experiences thus far?