It’s no secret that grants are heavily influenced by the rise and fall of social trends, community needs, environmental changes, and political developments … plus so much more! Without question, these shifts in the grants landscape are something that every aspiring grant seeker should stay aware of.
Take it from Business Chicks member and founder of Grant’d, Janine Owen. We asked Janine to draw up a map to help us navigate the wild seas of the grant world.
Over to you Janine!
Keeping your fingers on the pulse of the grants landscape will make all the difference when it comes to efficiently incorporating a grants program into the strategies that will help drive your organisation through 2022. In other words, knowing when and where to best invest your time and grant seeking efforts. Being ready to act on emerging grant trends and opportunities. And understanding how best to position your cases for funding. Knowing all this will empower you to identify when and how best to take advantage of emerging grant opportunities, even as you avoid the mistake of changing your business model just to fit a grant opportunity.
As an example, we all know that mental health has been the biggest health challenge faced by our country across the past decade, especially when it comes to our young people. Not only that, COVID-19 has also impacted the percentage of the population experiencing mental health illnesses. Grant funding logic therefore dictates that there will be brand new grant opportunities specifically targeted at empowering greater reach and improved outcomes for mental health focused projects in the wake of COVID-19. So, for those of you with projects that fit the bill…it’s time to sit up, take notice, and get ready to act.
Here’s the thing though … the last two years have certainly made the grants landscape a complex creature to predict! To help you out, I’ve pulled together my top six predictions for the grants landscape across the next 12 months, and what each prediction might mean for you; a passionate community of change-makers.
Prediction 1: A greater socio-economic divide
Job, income and business revenue losses quickly became a recurring theme throughout the pandemic, with low-skilled workers losing out the most. The takeaway? Entire cohorts of Australians have fallen through economic gaps, with profound impacts on their housing, food, health, and income security.
What that means for grant seekers: Service-based organisations will see foundations placing increased priority on projects and programs that respond to the needs of disadvantaged community members, particularly as the government moves away from income support packages. Those of you with programs that help people gain or re-engage with employment, or businesses on a growth journey, will also benefit from the government’s renewed focus on jobs creation.
Prediction 2: Increased domestic travel amidst reduced lockdowns
Traveller confidence in international destinations is still on shaky ground even though our borders are now open. Yet many travellers are more than ready to begin getting back into the swing of things with domestic destinations featuring large on their itineraries.
What that means for grant seekers: Australian-based tourism, events and hospitality-based businesses will be the winners, with more grant funding focused on supporting events and initiatives that will act as drawcards for increased visitation particularly across regional Australia. For those of you who fit the bill, we recommend highlighting how your event or activity will boost (even if only temporarily) the host community in terms of increased tourism, trade, and local employment.
Prediction 3: Increase in regional population numbers
The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 sparked unprecedented migrations to regional areas, with rising metropolitan property prices and the advent of hybrid working models making this move even more desirable and feasible. This will lead to unprecedented community demand for regional infrastructure and services. Conversely, metropolitan areas will struggle to maintain their hustle and bustle amidst reduced populations and increased online spending.
What that means for grant seekers: The pool of available funding for regional infrastructure, jobs and community services will continue growing in line with growing community demand and needs. This will present as an excellent opportunity for those of you in regional hubs who can help meet these needs. Examples of projects could include specialised community health services, improved amenities such as community playgrounds, and the development of regional events that also serve as tourist drawcards. Conversely, those of you in metropolitan hubs will note increased availability of council-based grant funding targeted at the revitalisation or repurposing of CBD areas and driving increased community engagement.
Prediction 4: A boom in healthcare
The impacts of COVID-19 on our health system against the backdrop of a rapidly ageing population and a burgeoning mental health crisis has sparked some serious resourcing, capacity and staffing issues which are likely to continue post-pandemic. Health research will also continue to factor large, with long COVID and new variants giving rise to demand for more information and new treatments. One thing that’s for sure, our country’s need for innovative and quality healthcare certainly isn’t going anywhere fast.
What that means for grant seekers: If nothing else, the pandemic has highlighted a need for increased spending towards creating a stronger health system with better knowledge, education, resourcing and capacity. In addition to increased funding opportunities across all health sectors, including infrastructure, resourcing, staffing, research, and health education, we also predict heavy investment into health technology as we look to a future where rapid innovation and large-scale solutions will be key to resolving health problems in a way that is both effective and efficient.
Prediction 5: Increase in extreme weather events
The bushfire, drought and flooding crises that have come to define the last decade for many Australians have highlighted the accelerating climate change crisis that is now upon all of us, and the profound challenges faced by communities in not only facing and surviving these weather events, but in recovering and rebuilding.
What that means for grant seekers: Building sustainable community capacity and resilience will be the focus of grant makers as a means of reducing future recovery and rebuilding costs. Funding focused on environmental and climate change interventions will also continue increasing as a long-term mitigation strategy.
Prediction 6: Growing recognition of enterprising women
Fact: female-founded businesses have the potential to contribute a staggering $25b to the economy yet has historically lacked access to the funding needed to do so. For this reason, the government released the hotly contested Boosting Female Founders grant which has to date distributed $20+m amongst 90 female founded start-ups. However, this program has been plagued by controversies. Additionally, the advocacy of activists such as Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins alongside debatable responses from the government have created an even bigger spotlight on female issues.
What that means for grant seekers: Considering the impending election, we anticipate a significant overhaul of the BFF grant towards addressing its identified shortcomings. We also predict the emergence of even more grant opportunities that place priority on supporting women in achieving tangible progress towards their career or entrepreneurial goals.
In short, although economic packages directly targeted at addressing the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns are becoming increasingly difficult to come by, grant seekers can rest assured that there will be plenty of grant funding targeted at addressing the societal and environmental shifts that are now emerging. And of course, grant seekers, it will be intriguing to see how grant trends continue to unfold and evolve in the context of an impending federal election. Without question though, tracking these trends even as you consider how they might influence the grants landscape will be key to your capacity to plan and get ready for the grant opportunities that will prove key to powering your organisation’s mission.
Now wondering what to do when the perfect grant comes along? Download the Grant’d free guide – 6 Strategies to Get Grants! In the meantime, if you’d like to keep your fingers on the pulse of grant funding opportunities throughout 2022 in a way that is tailored to your organisation’s unique location and focus, I recommend joining our free Facebook group touching base with grant experts Janine Owen and Tamara Dowley, who have a combined 30+ years’ experience in all things grants and funding having raised millions upon millions for some of Australia’s best loved charities. Hop on over to the Grant’d website to find out more about our grant management, education and strategy solutions, all of which have elevated the grant and funding journeys of countless nonprofits, businesses and social enterprises across Australia.
A social impact and cause-driven strategist, Business Chicks member, Janine Owen has a passion for helping causes establish a clear competitive advantage and amplify their social impact towards becoming the change they seek in the world.
Become a member today to be part of a community of thousands who want the best for each other, and for the world, as well as perks like free access to online education through our Masterclass Online, a subscription to our member-mag Latte and discounted tickets to all of our events!