The Todd Foundation is changing to a more pro-active, collaborative funding approach in 2018. Our goal is to support long-term social impact more effectively. As part of this change we are no longer running open application rounds.
Last year, we undertook a strategic review of our funding processes. Over the past decade the number of applications we receive has increased ten-fold – but the chances of an application being successful have dropped from over 50% to under 15%. We’re very mindful of the work that goes into every unsuccessful application, so we decided it was time to look at what we could do differently.
We wanted our funding processes to support real change in communities, reduce compliance costs for organisations, and promote collaboration rather than competition. So we talked to local funders and funding experts, looked at overseas models and worked with our community partners to develop something new. Our new approach will provide funding for:
- Change Initiatives in key focus areas, where we can support collaborative, strategic initiatives creating sustainable, long-term change (this will be the majority of our funding).
- Collaboration with other funders to providing co-ordinated funding and share learnings.
- Capability funding for key organisations which support and strengthen the whole community sector.
Our last funding round for the General Fund closed on 15 August, 2017. Our scholarship and awards funding will remain in place for next year, when it will be reviewed. Our Partnership Funding and Special Focus fund have also closed – but we will, of course, be meeting the funding commitments we’ve made under our current systems.
The change will see staff move from processing hundreds of applications a year to spending more time networking, engaging, and building relationships. This will allow us to work more closely with communities to understand the underlying issues that are affecting them and the strategies and initiatives that are most effective in making change. We’ll be aiming to identify, develop and support co-ordinated community responses, to achieve systemic change.
We have existing funding commitments over the next few years, which will allow us to phase in the new approach during that time. Moving from processing paper to working deeply with communities is a big change for us, but we’re confident our team has the skills to do this. Our experiences over the past eight years with Partnership Funding, and more recently with our Youth Employment initiatives show the potential of giving time to building collaborative relationships and supporting long term change. We’ll be as interested as ever in whether things are working – and under our new approach we can learn and change as we go.
The first focus area we’ll be exploring is ‘equitable opportunities for children and families’. We’ll be starting a process of research and discussion to deepen our understanding of this area in early 2018. In the first instance we’ll be looking to listen and learn, before we engage with communities on collective funding approaches – so we won’t be accepting proposals or pitches from individual organisations.
(Updated November 2017)