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Let’s celebrate our volunteers

Did you know New Zealand has 500,000 volunteers in sports and recreation alone? Imagine how many there are across every industry and sector. Volunteers are crucial in driving social, environmental and economic transformation through organisations like those in the Funding HQ family. We can all be inspired by the loyalty, generosity, and skills they offer without any expectation of pay.

Have a plan that recognises the value of volunteers

Every organisation that works with volunteers should have a volunteer management plan which recognises their contribution. Funding HQ coaches you through the essentials of setting up your plan – and for good reason. The value of volunteers is immense. We encourage you to think about volunteers as a type of fundraising income stream. After all, the donation of time can save you a lot of money and generate awareness, further support and positive reputation.

A volunteer management plan will help you steward your volunteers through every stage of the volunteer management cycle. This cycle has five key stages, and each is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate your volunteers’ importance.

  1. Identification: When your organisation looks at where volunteers could help, look at what skills they have and how they can help fill in the gaps you have.
  2. Recruitment: When you ask someone to volunteer, it’s an opportunity to show that you respect and know the worth of what they can bring.
  3. Induction: Welcoming your volunteers to the team and giving them what they need to enjoy and thrive in their role is essential.
  4. Management: Good communication gives volunteers a sense of community and allows them to stay connected with your organisation’s purpose.
  5. Retention: Every volunteer deserves to be appreciated and your stewardship programme can recognise their efforts in a whole range of ways.

Show your appreciation regularly

There are opportunities to acknowledge your volunteers at different points in your work and throughout the year. Project milestones, season kick-offs and Christmas might be good times to reach out.

When you show your appreciation, think about why your volunteers were first attracted to help you. If the social aspect is important, volunteers may welcome a casual get-together. Others may appreciate a personal note from your team, Board or those at the front line. Volunteers usually appreciate thoughtful gestures like these more than gifts.

However you choose to acknowledge and thank your volunteers, do it with sincerity. Volunteers are the hands and hearts in so many of our organisations. Let’s take every opportunity to celebrate the way volunteers enrich our lives and help our communities thrive.

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An insiders guide to local government funding

We recently completed the second webinar in our series. This time we focussed on sharing inside tips for developing an effective funding relationship with your Council.  Our Funding HQ in-house expert, Craig Ireson has over ten years’ experience in local government and has worked with councils of every size. He shared his best insider’s insights. 

Funding HQ helps you develop your funding plan; and as part of this we help you look at different funding streams. One of those streams is local government: working in partnership with your council. Here’s a snapshot of insights from the webinar.

Get to know your council plan

The majority of council funding is allocated and distributed through the Annual Plan (yearly) or the Long-term Plan (three yearly) process. The timing of these cycles will vary depending on the council. 

Every council has a set of guiding plans and documents which set out their priorities and direction: underneath these is the detailed layer of business unit plans, for example the events team, the marketing team, the community development team, the parks and recreation team. These teams outline how they’re going to implement the strategy. These plans will feed into and are fed into by community-driven documents such as community plans.

A good way to get to know your local council is by reading these plans and strategies to understand the priorities. If you get the chance to contribute to consultation and community planning make sure you do. It’s a great way to increase your visibility within council.

What type of council funding?

Most council funding comes through the long term and annual plan process. Other future-building initiatives will often have a 20 – 30 year development lens. At this level of funding you need to be looking well ahead and positioning yourself as an organisation who can help solve the problems the council will face in decades to come.

To secure this long term funding, you need to start small and build credibility through the funding process. By applying for and delivering on smaller funding asks with council you are developing your ‘credit rating’ and credibility as an aligned community partner.

Here are some of the alternate funding opportunities.

Contestable Funding

Contestable funding is usually administered on an annual or biannual basis. Councillors will sit on a committee which oversees this funding, and they will be thematically grouped according to council priorities or strategic focus. For example, Wellington City Council themes their contestable funding by the four well beings; social, cultural, economic, and environmental.

Every council in New Zealand also has Creative Communities funding. This is administered locally by the council on behalf of Creative NZ. The panel which makes the decisions for this fund is made up of community members and council representation. Each council is allocated an amount based on their population size. The funding will often have a youth and participation focus.  

Discretionary funding

This funding will normally sit within an activity budget, and can be usually signed off at the officer level, without councillor involvement.

Examples of this type of funding are: 

  • Event funding or sponsorship 
  • Business improvement fund
  • Innovation and sustainability fund
  • Youth development fund
  • Strengthening communities fund

In-kind support

This is an extremely valuable resource, and the support of your council in this way is often seen by other funders, especially central government, as carrying significant weight.

In-kind support can be represented by venue use, equipment, resources, people and volunteers, marketing support, or having the council sit alongside your organisation to offer guidance and support therefore building your capability. 

In-kind support should be highly valued. For councils there is a transfer of costs somewhere in their budgets. So, although it’s not cash it should be recognised as a valuable and valued source of funding.

How to work with your  council champion and find funding success

Like any funding partnership it’s important to build a relationship with your council, and work together to develop solutions which work for both your organisation and the council. 

Make sure you have done your research and have a clear understanding of the council’s strategic priorities and what funding streams are available at your council.

Check that there is alignment between your organisation and the council. If there is, then think about how to demonstrate that your work will enhance their work, and will help them reach the community and deliver on their objectives. 

You will need to be open-minded, flexible and innovative in how you are willing to work with your council to get the best out of their support. 

Give yourself time to make sure you put the best plan forward, and make sure the council knows about your work, the impact it is having and your plans. Don’t let the first time the council hears about you be when your funding proposal crosses the table. By the time your proposal reaches the decision makers you should have workshopped it collaboratively with your champion within the council.

Tips to remember

  • Not all councils are the same – get to know how your local council operates
  • There is a huge amount of funding and support available from a council,  In-kind support has a cost to the council – value it
  • Find an internal council champion – work with them to collectively to steward your project through the process
  • Take care of council like you would any other funder or sponsor- don’t take their support for granted
  • Allow time, and lots of it to build a relationship with your council 
  • Start small; build up your credibility by showing you can deliver Know the timing of funding round opportunities for your council –  Getting in at the right time is a big part of whether your approach will be successful or not.

With these points in mind long-term planning season is just around the corner so now is the perfect time to start engaging with your local council and finding your champion.

Funding HQ has many more ideas, and advice for approaching councils for funding, and to help you build a successful case for investment. Find out how Funding HQ can help your organisation here.

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Innovation for fundraising; we kiwis are leading the way

Funding HQ I was born from a desire to help not-for-profit and community organisations to be financially stable so that our communities can thrive. When I’m talking to organisations about Funding HQ, I can see how passionate they are about their communities and how innovative they are with the projects and activities.

Five months on from our launch, the feedback and work we’re doing with Funding HQ clients confirms my instinct;  Funding HQ’s innovation has the potential to really change the way people seek funds and the way funders will distribute funds in New Zealand.

Collaborate to innovate

We’re an innovative bunch us Kiwis. Communities throughout the country are demonstrating this with their innovative programmes and platforms for change. One driver of our innovation is our ability to collaborate and to partner with other community groups and funders; it can be the cornerstone for success for many fundraising projects.

Often organisations are so focused on their own outcomes they forget that an easy win might be right in front of them with another organisation, corporate or individual. It’s heartening when you see community organisations come together to provide better outcomes for the wider community.

We worked with Taranaki Regional Council to help with funding for the new Yarrow Stadium. Whilst it will be a sporting facility for high performance athletes, it will also cater for a broad range of sports disciplines, schools, and grass roots sport clubs, as well as a wide range of community events and activities. What a great win for all the community!

Trust builds innovation

Trust also plays a big part when it comes to collaboration and innovation. It’s one of the core values that Funding HQ is built on.

Kiwis have a reputation for trust. Our innovative care-centred approach in our management of Covid is a great demonstration of innovation, trust and collaboration. At a community level trust is key to building a relationship with your funders and your collaborative partners. When we have this key component magic starts to happen and we see projects come to life. Funding HQ steps you through how to build trust with your funders through relationship building, community engagement and authentic collaboration with your partners. Check out this case study to see a triple collaborative win when two charities shared one sponsor.

Funding HQ has many more ideas and gives you frameworks to help you succeed. Find out if it’s a fit for your organisation here.

 

-Jenni Giblin