Speaking with Our Community
On the afternoon of Wednesday 6 May 2009, the SCF held its first community consultation forum, with nine community organisations from across Sydney who were invited to participate.
Kindly hosted by The University Of Technology Sydney, the aims of the consultation forum were:
- To help inform and guide the SCF's grant making program by gaining a better understanding of some of the critical issues facing small and medium community groups;
- To provide input and help shape the SCF's future programs and workshops by identifying gaps in knowledge and skills amongst smaller community organisations;
- To identify some of the major obstacles community organisations face when dealing with potential funders.
Knowing the many demands that are placed on the limited time of most of those taking part, it was extremely pleasing to see so many accept the invitation to attend and actively contribute to the discussion. Feedback at the conclusion of the event was very positive with many stating that they had learnt much through the open, frank discussion with the other organisations. One participant stated that often at such forums, the smaller groups tend to be overshadowed by the larger not for profits, and don't get a chance to voice their issues. The forum allowed these community groups to share similar experiences, concerns, ideas and solutions.
We will now take the learnings and ideas from the forum and use them to not only help inform our grantmaking and assistance program but also share this information when speaking to other funders and philanthropic bodies.
Given the success of this community consultation forum we will be holding another later in the year. If you are from a small community organisation and are interested in participating in the next forum or would like more information about the findings from this one, please contact Jo Hatton, Executive Director, either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 9251 1228.
Making training accessible: SCF provides scholarships to the Philanthropy Australia Grantseekers Workshop
As part of our program to help build capacity and improve skills amongst community organisations, the Sydney Community Foundation is covering the cost for a number of individuals to attend one of Philanthropy Australia's grantseekers workshops in Sydney this year. These half day workshops provide participants with information about how to research potential funding sources and how to write funding submissions in order to increase chances of success. An overview of Australian trusts and foundations is also covered at the workshops.
Representatives from the second group of community organisations selected to take part, Millers Point Youth and Employment Partnership, Northside Community Forum and Sutherland Early Support Service attended the workshop in August. The SCF recognises the value of the work done by all three of these not-for-profits in supporting their client groups and is proud to make this contribution to their work. All three attendees leapt at the invitation to take up this scholarship and welcomed the opportunity to learn more about how to increase their chances of success in seeking philanthropic funding.
Feedback from the participants has been very positive and the benefits gained extend beyond application writing. One attendee stated, "I really enjoyed the grantseekers workshop today. I learnt a lot of valuable tips for future funding opportunities and submissions. We're very grateful to SCF for funding our place at the workshop - many thanks."
The need for foundations and funders to assist with this kind of skills based development was raised as an area of concern at the recent community consultation forum SCF held. A number of places will again be funded by the SCF at the next grantseekers workshop to be held before the end of the year.
Carolyn Hodge, Policy Officer at COTA NSW, Vanessa Meachen, Research and Training Manager at Philanthropy Australia and Sam Alderton-Johnson, Project Officer at Glebe PCYC.
Huong Phan, Community Development Worker at South Sydney Community Aid Co-op.