Our grantmaking reform agenda
SmartyGrants is about a lot more than software. It's about delivering grantmaking reform as widely and deeply as possible.
SmartyGrants is overseen by one of Australia's most prominent social enterprises, Our Community - we're also a highly-rated accredited B Corporation. We're not about business for business' sake; we're about creating social value.
As the profession (some would say craft) of grantmaking matures, we're always thinking of new ways to deliver greater value. All of this work is designed to make grantmakers' and grantseekers' lives easier, and grantmaking outcomes better. Some of our key current initiatives are outlined below.
- CLASSIE: a common language for grantmakers and grantees
- The Outcomes Engine / Centre for What Works
- Data Science
- The Gender Agenda
- Our Values
A common language
CLASSIE is a set of common terms that describe Australian social sector initiatives and entities. When used collectively and systematically, the terms articulated and described in CLASSIE help grantmakers (and others) to make better sense of what's being funded and who's benefiting from that funding.
CLASSIE was developed by Our Community (the custodian of SmartyGrants). It's based on the United States-based Foundation Center's Philanthropy Classification System (PCS).
The first two sections of CLASSIE - describing 'Subjects' (e.g. arts; education; sport and recreation) and 'Beneficiaries' (e.g. young people; people with disabilities; asylum seekers) were released in May 2016 and embedded in SmartyGrants through a series of Standard Fields in November 2016.
The rollout of CLASSIE underpins efforts to shift the field of grantmaking more solidly towards evidence-based practice. You can't make proper comparisons if everyone is using different terms to describe the same things. CLASSIE brings order to the chaos.
The use of CLASSIE will allow grantmakers to benefit from a range of new tools, including dashboards, data overlays, benchmarking tools and open data and data-sharing initiatives.
You can read more about this project here.
The Outcomes Engine / Centre for What Works
The Outcomes Engine is the tool that SmartyGrants will use to crunch through all of the data created by SmartyGrants standard fields, particularly those relating to:
- Activities and
in order to
- Create an outcomes taxonomy/matrix that systematises collection and analysis of all of the above and then
- Create insights about which activities seem to lead to which outcomes, which leads to
- Predictive abilities that would
- Feed into the logic models (strategies, funding patterns, etc.) of grantmakers and grantees via the "Centre for What Works".
The Centre for What Works will also store tools and plans associated with particular interventions that may prevent wasteful duplication of effort.
This work is in its early stages but we're excited by our progress, and its potential!
Our Community is creating a central repository of information related to not-for-profit organisations, a bank of data and official documents - incorporation and insurance certificates, fundraising licences, etc. - that organisations need to call on regularly when interacting with grantmakers, regulators and service-providers. It's like a filing cabinet in the cloud (like Dropbox, but designed especially for not-for-profits).
Our Community platforms collect a range of information from not-for-profits for a variety of purposes:
- Thousands of not-for-profits have a profile in the Community Directory, listing their organisation's name, website and other contact details, along with other information.
- Organisations that have created a Good Jobs profile have supplied a logo, contact details, and information about their mission and purpose.
- Thousands more are listed on GiveNow, Our Community's free donations platform. In order to be listed, they've shared their incorporation certificate, fundraising authorisation, DGR verification (if applicable) and bank account verification.
- Any organisation that has used SmartyGrants to apply for a grant will have supplied details about the organisation's mission and aims, geographic and focus areas, and uploaded some key documents (an insurance certificate, and annual report, for example).
Project Streamline brings all of these pieces of information together, allowing not-for-profits to quickly locate the data they need and reuse it as often as they like - "supply once, use often".
In early 2016, we kicked off our data science program to help us turn the masses of data flowing through our systems into sense and meaning.
Our Innovation Lab is working to ensure that any data outputs are not merely interesting but useful.
A range of data science initiatives are now under way. You can read more about them at https://www.ourcommunity.com.au/innovationlab.
The gender lens
The SmartyGrants management team has been working with the Australian Women Donors Network to create greater gender awareness in the awarding of grants.
Gender-wise grantmaking occurs when grantees are encouraged to consider the social disadvantage women and girls face when designing and delivering grants-funded projects and programs, and where grantmakers themselves consider gender when setting and reviewing funding priorities.
Awareness-raising is never enough for us. We want to create the tools that will turn awareness into action. As such, three new Gender Lens standard fields were introduced to SmartyGrants in November 2016. We will monitor the use of these fields as part of our efforts to ensure this important work can stick and spread.
- Grantmaking is an absolutely central element in the Australian economic system.
Not one dollar should be wasted on poorly designed, poorly articulated, poorly evaluated, or inefficient grants programs and systems. Grantmakers should maximise resources by sharing lessons, and seeking and learning from lessons shared by others.
- Australia needs more and better professional grantmakers.
The job of grantmaking should be afforded appropriate professional status, training and recompense.
- Grantmakers should listen to the communities they serve.
Grantmakers should be driven by outcomes, not process. They should trust and respect their grantees and offer programs, systems and processes appropriate to their needs and capacities.
- Grantmakers should be efficient.
Wastage is indefensible. Skimping on systems, technology and professional staff is equally wicked.
- Grantmakers should be ethical.
Grantmakers should ensure that the process of grantmaking is fair, unbiased, and transparent.
You can read more about the grantmaking values that underpin our work at www.aigm.com.au/aigm/values/.