VFFF's COVID-19 granting principles
The outbreak of COVID-19 has been a call to action for many Foundations. Across Australian philanthropy there is a recognition of the need to accelerate giving and to think and act creatively to support charities.
VFFF’s first priority was to contact the 60 or so organisations in current VFFF funding. These phone calls sought to communicate a supportive VFFF message to each organisation as they dealt with their rapidly changing circumstances. It also helped us understand the immediate and potential longer term impacts they were anticipating.
It quickly became apparent that the wider impacts of COVID-19 will continue for many months, with numerous charities facing significant revenue constraints and increased demand on their services.
This helped inform our thinking about how to strike the right balance between ‘business as usual’ granting and thoughtfully shifting our granting and processes. We recognise the need to keep listening to our grantees and to consider their circumstances on a case by case basis.
To help guide us, we have developed the following principles to inform our work over the next twelve months:
PROVIDE CORE OPERATIONS FUNDING FOR CURRENT GRANTEES TO SUPPORT:
- Business continuity challenges
- Service delivery shifts and adaptation opportunities
- Highly vulnerable groups (especially those unable to access government support)
MORE FLEXIBLE FUNDING
- Untying existing grants to enable funds to be repurposed
- Bringing forward future funding commitments
- Proactively communicate with all grantees and keep asking what they need
- Streamline application and reporting processes
- Extend grant reporting periods
STAY TRUE TO HOW VFFF FUNDS
- New grants are aligned with current VFFF priorities and guidelines
- Core operations and capacity building focus
- Rural and regional focus
- Hold steady as circumstances shift.
Over the last few months we have been impressed and inspired by the quick and creative action of many organisations responding to COVID-19. We have increased support towards the core operations of these organisations, and we will continue to think carefully about the best role we can play, balancing the needs of current grantees with new funding requests.