Greetings from Kirsten Taylor, Manager, Philanthropy Services
Kia Ora and welcome to the second edition of Giving for Good. You have received this as someone who has already met with or received a grant from us, or because we think you may be interested in learning more about our work in the philanthropy sector.
Having recognised the community’s need for more relationship-based, connected philanthropy, Perpetual Guardian - on behalf of its generous donors – began moving towards more meaningful grant-making practices in line with the publication of Julia Unwin’s The Grant Making Tango.
Trustees, typically prudent and always with legal responsibility and integrity in mind, have historically maintained a largely transactional style of giving. This has considerable advantages in ensuring that good work continues, and the wishes of settlors/donors are fulfilled. For applicants, this approach means that work of proven value will be supported without the need for reinvention, because funders are backing existing success. This is often low risk and provides funders with the means to identify a direct return on its grant – so funders and Trustees are assured that they have honoured the heart’s intentions of their donors to the highest degree.
However, there are drawbacks to this approach. Applicants may lack security and the ability to plan future work because of the ad hoc, one-off nature of the grants. New and emerging organisations and innovations find funding hard to secure, and funders may have much more difficulty assessing impact.
With changing systems and organisational capacity in mind, we asked our grant recipients: Would you welcome access to larger and more long-term grants, even if that meant fewer grants were made? The answer was a clear and resounding YES!
We’ve learned from our colleagues in the national and global sectors that transformational grant-making requires significant long-term financial investment, which has considerable pros and cons. Substantial time would need to be spent in the development, shaping and monitoring of the work, which would mean spending more time on a few proposals versus multiple isolated pitches.
Today, we’re well and truly dedicated to making transformational grant-making a part of our journey. We’re working hard to fund systemic change and capacity-building initiatives, and we’re using multi-year grants and other techniques as we develop. You can read about these in our news and events sections.
Along the way we’ve had some false starts. What started out seeming to be transformational grant-making was in fact our transactional comfort zone. Some of the smaller Trusts we manage aren’t conducive to high-engagement models, mainly due to value, and it can be challenging to embark on long-term relationships without being able to identify any particular solution in advance. But we’ll push forward, because without this shift, the world will remain largely as it is today: with lots of individual projects, and not enough meaningful, fundamental change.
We are continuing to evolve and test our grant-making boundaries, always with our clients’ intentions at the centre, and we are seeing outcomes that make our hearts and minds sing.
Transactional or transformational? We do both. Is grant-making getting smarter? It positively is.
Should you have any feedback on anything you read in our newsletter, or ideas for upcoming editions, I would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manager, Philanthropy Services