Dialog Box


What Foundations Expect


This section provides a summary of things to think about when approaching, building and maintaining relationships in the philanthropic sector.

Foundations receive many applications for funding from a broad cross-section of charities and individuals working directly and indirectly with communities. It is a competitive field, and to stand out your approach and follow through needs to make an impression, just as your project aims to make an impact.

  • Keep these points in mind.
  • Think through the issues.
  • Show drive and initiative.
  • Think outside the square.
  • Be resourceful and make new connections with like minded people.
  • Have a vision for educational outreach and a solid plan.
  • Collect endorsements for your project.
  • Send clippings for support of your project to provide a proven record of achievement.
  • Create a professional application.
  • Be modest, you may get more than you ask.
  • Send a thank you note after the meeting.
  • Send another note after you receive the grant.
  • Send invitations to screenings.
  • Send copies of the finished film.
  • Make proper acknowledgement at every stage and confirm if you need logo in publicity, website, credits etc.
  • Write a professional letter to introduce yourself and always personalise it.
  • Reply immediately if contacted.
  • Make hand written responses rather than group emails.

It's a small world with strong networks and affinity groups. People talk to each other and like following success. It offers security for several foundations to jointly support a project.

Foundations are keen to give to organisations for more than one year. Increasingly foundations, and the charities they support, are working over a three-year plan or more, with the aims of building relationships and supporting all phases of a project. This approach increases the effectiveness of their donations.

Examples of Projects that Have Effectively Used Partnerships


An example illustrates a partnership in a project that came together around like-minded ideas working through The Education Foundation as the tax exempt body.

That Was Me

Category: Education



That Was Me is not just a program about some of Australias most prominent and successful people going back to school. It is a moving and often untold story about the richness of relationships between teachers and students. It tells the story of a group of every day teachers across Australia who inspired their students to shine and be the best they could be.

These students now live extraordinary lives ranging from becoming Australia's fastest hurdler and Indigenous Ambassador (Kyle Vander-Kuyp); to Justice of the Australian High Court (Justice Michael Kirby); Australia's most generous philanthropist and esteemed entrepreneur (John Ilhan); professional athlete and Hockeyroos captain (Nikki Hudson), TV personality and veterinarian (Dr Katrina Warren); international entertainer (David Campbell); and renowned international business woman (Qantas Chairman - Margaret Jackson). They all have one thing in common - a profound respect for their public school roots and the teachers who inspired them.

That Was Me was inspired by the annual national program, Back To School Day. Created by the Education Foundation. The Back To School Day program provides public education students with inspirational role models in the form of former students, while establishing vital alumni networks between the former students, their school and the community. More than 500 schools and thousands of past and present students and teachers around the country participated in the 2006 program. It aired nationally on Channel Seven.



The documentary is the result of an alliance between non-profit, union, philanthropic and corporate organisations and has been funded by the Education Foundation, Australian Education Union, Trust Company of Australia (As Trustee for Trust Foundation), Qantas, Crazy Johns, Paper Mate, The Shark Island Documentary Fund and the Macquarie Bank Foundation.

The next example shows how a community television show grew out of the need to speak about disability and to share views. Philanthropic funding and volunteer involvement supported the series.


No Limits

Category: Disability



No Limits is a community television show that looks at living life to the fullest with a disability. It has been on air on C31 in Melbourne since June 2003 and is now also broadcast in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane. The show is a panel chat show and includes location stories from around Australia. It is presented by people with disabilities for the enjoyment of anyone who wants to know more about disability. There are also many people with disabilities involved in the production of No Limits and more are being trained all the time.


Statement by Sarah Barton, Producer

"In 2003 I began producing a community television show about disability called No Limits. Although I am no longer the series producer of this show (after two and a half years I was totally burnt out), it is still on air and more than 80 episodes have been produced funded entirely by the philanthropic sector and Department of Human Services (Victoria) grants. The show is produced on a shoestring budget ($5000 an episode) with a combination of paid and volunteer staff. Having secured more than $200,000 in philanthropic grants for No Limits I know my way around the sector pretty well and I know which funds are more likely to be sympathetic. At present they all require DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status so the money must be paid into a registered charity. No Limits affiliated itself with such an organisation and they held our funds for us and paid our bills. The relationship we had with Action for Community Living (the charity that supported us) was very much a two-way relationship and was a valuable resource for the TV show in more ways than just financial management. They brought insight and connection to the community so that the disability community felt a genuine ownership of the show and felt that it was truly representative of their views. No Limits became a project of Action for Community Living and that brought benefits as well as some difficulties in terms of being able to attract funds.

The relationship between the charity and the project (in this case a television production) needs to be more than just a financial one. The charity needs to provide genuine support and involvement in the project and have a genuine connection and interest. This can take time and resources away from other core business that they may have and for this they charge the project an auspice fee, which can range from 3-20% of the projects budget. This fee may be used to pay additional staff to manage the relationship with the project and to provide accounting services. Auspice fees are common language but the term must be avoided at all costs in funding applications (the term project administration fee seems to work well)." Sarah Barton (Producer,No Limits)

NEXT: How to Apply for Funding





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