Guide to grantmaking

This step-by-step guide can help you or your foundation focus your intentions and give you the tools to develop a program of environmental giving.

Step 6. What approaches are needed to catalyse the solutions?

You now need to decide what approaches you think need to be funded to catalyse the solutions you have identified.

The big question here is ‘how does change happen?’ There is no one ‘right’ approach or silver bullet here. You might decide that before you can really have an impact on an issue, more scientific research is required, or the capacity of community groups to address the issue needs to be enhanced. Sometimes approaches need to be funded at particular times in the life of an issue.

Alternatively, you could specialise in a particular funding approach. For example, you might decide that advocacy is the most important way of addressing environmental issues, or that you would like to deal with dual issues by funding Indigenous land and sea management.

You will need to put together your thoughts after talking to many people and of course with guidance from the community you are considering funding. You can have your staff do this research or consider employing a consultant to help you.

You may want to fund an NGO to do some thinking and planning about your issues of concern, or you could call for expressions of interest from NGOs to see what the broader sector is thinking and planning (this is a great way of inspiring new thinking or catalysing action).

Approaches that could be fundedDefinition
Capacity buildingEnsuring efficient and effective grantees are able to effectively achieve program outcomes. You could fund capacity building in:  

– leadership
– development
– governance
– fundraising and resource development
– financial management
– strategic planning
– evaluation
– messaging and communications
– public engagement and mobilisation
– technology
– collaborations and partnerships
    General or core fundingGeneral support of an organisation that usually goes towards day-to-day operations, salaries, rent and so on. It is especially important for small groups.
    Advocacy – public policy input and analysis, lobbying, government relationsImportant in environmental work because much of how the environment is managed and used is ruled or guided by legislation and policy. Can be about establishing and managing national parks, public environmental funding, legislation, policy, and regulation.
    Legal workUsing existing policy or legislation to protect the environment or to test legislative capacity and meaning. Can be used in tandem with advocacy.
    Communications, public education and awarenessRaising community awareness and telling people about an issue can often be fundamental to achieving long-term environmental goals. This could be part of an advocacy or behavioural campaign.
    Community developmentEmpowering individuals and groups so they have the skills to effect change in their own communities. Grassroots community action can be very empowering.
    Indigenous land and sea managementEstablishment and management of Indigenous protected areas and Indigenous participation in land and sea management. Currently around 23 per cent of Australia is in the Indigenous estate.
    Private land management including the acquisition and management of private protected areasCan include land acquisition, private land conservation management, and people working directly on land or sea management – for example, tree planting, fencing and weed eradication.
    Economic instrumentsUsing economic instruments like purchasing fishing quotas can be very useful. Other examples of economic instruments are emissions trading schemes, environmental levies and auctions.
    ResearchResearch can be essential in understanding issues, threats, pressures, solutions and priorities.
    Monitoring and evaluationUnderstanding what is happening in the environment and evaluating action to protect it is important in ensuring funds are effectively and efficiently distributed.

    Ask yourself

    1. What do you think are the best approaches to address the issues you are concerned about within a specific time frame?

    Record your answer in the worksheet (pdf)

    Join a funder group

    Connect with the issues, connect with members, and connect with members around the issues. Find a funder group that is right for you.