Grantmaking in the wake of a disaster

Posted on 06 Feb 2020

Australia is in the midst of an unprecedented bushfire crisis, but how should grantmakers respond?

As of mid-January 2020, fires have burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares of bushland. Thirty people have lost their lives and the fires have destroyed around 6000 buildings, including approximately 2700 homes. Native wildlife populations have also been severely affected, with fears that some endangered species will be driven to extinction.

In times of crisis, there is often a rush to get money out the door, but it's also important for grantmakers to maximise the impact of their grants in these situations.

AIGM articles for grantmakers, how to use this resources page

The Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM) has compiled the following resources relating to grantmaking in the wake of a disaster in response to the 2020 bushfire emergency.

Please bookmark this site as a useful reference, as we continue to refine and expand these resources. Tap on the headlines to be directed to articles and resources.

Disaster Grantmaking Helpsheet

The AGIM has compiled this detailed and practical helpsheet as a step-by-step guide through some key questions (and answers) to help you to decide on the right disaster grantmaking approach for your organisation. We take you from whether your response grant should exist at all, measures of success, speed of delivery and timelines, structure, collaboration, focus, and decision-making processes.

Disaster grantmaking in a post-tsunami world
The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami challenged the sympathy of the world to an unprecedented degree. Sixteeen years on, Our Community executive director Kathy Richardson's article still has great relevance for grantmakers responding to a large-scale disaster.

Grantmaking in response to disasters
This article, by Our Community's thinker-in-residence, Chris Bothwick was published in 2009 following the tragic Black Saturday bushfires. It contains many practical lessons for post-disaster grantmaking.

Red tape safety or a race to the finish?
Chris Borthwick writes that a quick grants scheme can only ever be a supplement to your major efforts, providing a way to stay in touch with community needs, or at least community wants, and - yes - to provide a quick response. Here are some considerations.

Through Fire and Flood: Q&A with Natalie Egleton, FRRR CEO
In this 2016 interview, Natalie Egleton, CEO of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, discusses disaster recovery grantmaking, helping communities affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, and what her organisation has learned through working in communities hit by a natural disaster.

Immediate response and relief vs mitigation and risk reduction
These two articles, published in 2014 and 2016, explore the tension between funding immediate response and relief, as opposed to mitigation and prevention activities. The articles reference reports in the US and Australian contexts.

Other grantmaking resources:

Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority 2010 government report (PDF)
The Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority's presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration outlines a recognised disaster recovery framework for rebuilding and recovery.

Disaster Grantmaking: A practical Guide for Foundations and Corporations
A valuable resource published by the Council on Foundations for grantmakers responding to disasters.

Best Practices in Disaster Grantmaking: Lessons from the Gulf Coast
This 2008 Philanthropy New York report shares the experiences of donors who provided funding following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and offers a blueprint for future philanthropic intervention following such disasters.

Productivity Commission Natural Disaster Funding Report 2014
This inquiry examined "the efficacy of current national natural disaster funding arrangements, taking into account the priority of effective natural disaster mitigation and the reduction in the impact of disasters on communities".

10 Years Beyond Bushfires
This longitudinal study by the Melbourne University School of Population and Global Health explores the long-term experience of those impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

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