Grantmaking Intelligence Conference brings best-practice to your door

Posted on 14 Jul 2022

By Matthew Schulz

If you’re a self-confessed grant nerd who wants to learn from the best funders in the land, the Grantmaking Intelligence Conference is a must-attend event.

With a timely “risk and reward” theme, the two-day event is the only cross-sector grantmaking conference in Australia. (If you find any like ours anywhere in the world, be sure to tell us!)

In Melbourne and online, the event (Thursday-Friday, August 11-12) brings the nation’s top talent in front of an audience of professional funders, grant managers and officers, philanthropists and government leaders.

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Delegates will converge on Australia's only cross-sector grantmaking conference in Melbourne.

Connect with the country's top grantmakers

SmartyGrants founder Denis Moriarty
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Since 2006, the event has been hosted by the same people who operate Australia’s most-used grants administration system, SmartyGrants, who know the grants world inside and out.

SmartyGrants founder Denis Moriarty says that in the rapidly growing and evolving world of professional grantmaking, it is essential that funders take a moment to consider how they are adapting amid probity pressures, intense public interest and growing demands for great metrics.

"After two years of the pandemic, a change in the federal government, a boom in the number and type of grant programs, and a huge demand for well-managed grant programs, people working in this sphere will need their wits about them.

"This conference will help sharpen those,” he said

“For many it will have been years since they rubbed shoulders – in a Covid-safe way – with a cohort of fellow professionals who really do ‘get it’.”

To make it easier to deal with pandemic disruptions, this year’s event will be a hybrid, allowing in-person or virtual attendance. The in-person event will be hosted at the RACV Club in Melbourne’s CBD.

Grants conference tackles the big issues

Danielle Wood

Highlights from day one of this year’s conference will include:

- Danielle Wood from the Grattan Institute, speaking about the battle against grants pork barrelling; the erosion of ethics, accountability and transparency
- Our Community’s executive director Kathy Richardson leading a top-flight panel with representatives from Moreton Bay Regional Council, State Growth Tasmania and Volunteering Victoria about the risks and rewards of “quick fire” grants
- SmartyGrants’ chief impact officer Jen Riley revealing how grantmakers can deliver on outcomes with practical insights from the Ecstra Foundation and the City of Parramatta;
- The data science team from the SmartyGrants Innovation Lab, led by the organisation’s chief technology officer Sarah Barker, showing how good data can help funders work smarter, not harder

Kathy Richardson

- Lead facilitator from Playful Thinking Daniel Teitelbaum leading delegates in lively ways to retain more lessons and build collaboration with their peers.

Musters a must for grant sector specialists

As well as the big picture, on day two, grantmakers will be able to focus on their chosen subsector, with in-person “muster” sessions aimed at bringing funders together to learn, question and collaborate.

The state and federal muster will be facilitated by SmartyGrants strategic advisor Fiona Dempster, covering topics such as:

Jen Riley

- The Australian Sports Commission’s experience of reporting using Microsoft Power BI
- Applying a climate lens to grantmaking, with the help of Queensland’s Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program
- How to use a cultural sensitivity lens with grants, with the help of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The local government muster will be hosted by fellow SmartyGrants strategic advisor Barry Smith, tackling issues including:

- The evaluation and outcomes processes developed by the City of Greater Dandenong
- Understanding inclusion and equity, hosted by Josh Presser, SmartyGrants’ special projects director and a former federal grants specialist
- The City of Holdfast Bay’s work to create a best-practice grantmaking guide for SA councils.

Sarah Barker

Making the most of the SmartyGrants platform

One of the most popular segments of the conference is the “Behind the Curtain” sessions on day two, showcasing the latest features in the SmartyGrants system.

SmartyGrants platform developers and leaders (many of whom will be on hand) will reveal what’s planned for the system and give a sneak peek into how those additional features will operate.

Delegates will learn more about:

Daniel Teitelbaum

- Latest developments for the Outcomes Engine
- How SmartyFile will make life easier for applicants (and grant managers)
- The latest reporting tools
- Many other improvements and innovations to standard sections, smart choice lists, and more.

Of course, the most important part of the conference is simply to be able to share the room with fellow grant nerds who understand what this developing profession is all about.

Follow the event on Twitter: #grantnerds2022

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