A New Approach to Giving - Fish Community Solutions

23 July 2014

How fabulous would it be if your organisation had the opportunity to showcase your work, secure funding and expand your donor base and networks in a friendly and welcoming environment? Or, how fabulous would it be if you, as an individual, could learn about a non-profit organisation and, with other like-minded people, donate and collectively support their cause?

Well, now, with a new initiative that has been brought to Australia, both of these opportunities are available.

The Funding Network aims to create social change through collective giving. They host live crowd-funding events where grass-roots charities can pitch to the audience for funding to support their mission.

This new approach to giving is based on a model first seen in the UK in 2002, which has just recently celebrated reaching the £6 million milestone for funds raised at their events. What an amazing achievement! This social giving initiative now also has replicated programs in Johannesburg, New York, Toronto, Romania and Bulgaria. And with events now in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, The Funding Network is slowly building its reach and impact in Australia.

It aims to support small to medium-sized organisations with an average turnover of less than $800,000, with a goal of raising at least $10,000 for each charity. Most exciting is the fact that funding can go toward core funding, whilst in many other philanthropic endeavours it can only be directed to a specific program or project. This should be music to the ears for emerging Australian non-profits. According to The Funding Network’s website, their ‘core funding areas are health, education, employment (economic development), human rights, crime reduction and peace building, environmental sustainability and social inclusion’.

Youniverse (see image above) was one of the Australian charities recently supported by The Funding Network. At an event in Perth in May, $11,900 was raised for the small organisation that empowers collectives to formalize and build sustainable support structures around a person with significant need. Here is what the founder, Susan Stanford, had to say about the opportunity to present at the event:

‘TFN was so much more than just the event. The interview and coaching processes have pushed us to nail the essence of the issue and the solution. That feels powerful. Our effectiveness in communicating our work has been multiplied. But the event… that was fun! I really appreciated the opportunity for conversations with people I would not usually get a chance to meet, and their tangible belief in the value of our work.  Thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to be part of this.’

Personally, I love the underlying message The Funding Network promotes… philanthropy is for everyone. The events are an enjoyable way of giving, allowing guests to be inspired by fledgling social change projects and be part of something real. It enables individuals to make an impact far greater than their individual capacity can often allow with pledges starting from $100. What matters most is creating social change and a community of givers.

To learn more about The Funding Network have a look at this short video.

In essence, The Funding Network’s tagline says it all… Celebrating the little contributions that, together, facilitate big change. I’m sure the Australian philanthropy space will see some promising things to come with the launch of this initiative. I can’t wait!

by Bianca Ousley aka The Fish Chick (read the original article on the Fish Community Solutions blog)