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5 min read

Together we can give, learn and change more

Profile of Nicole Richards
Written by Nicole RichardsPosted on 27/8/2021

The growth of collective giving and the democratising effect of groups such as IMPACT100 has helped shake up many of the lingering stereotypes of philanthropy.

Together, the 65 IMPACT100 groups across the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, have granted more than $80 million dollars to local charities over the last 20 years.

Launched in 2017, IMPACT100 Sydney North, a named sub-fund of Australian Communities Foundation, uses a simple model consistent with all IMPACT100 collective giving groups: 100+ members contribute a tax-deductible amount of $1,000 each year with members voting on where the funds should be distributed.

“Our grants go to smaller, grassroots for-purpose organisations dedicated to helping children, young people and families at-risk in the Greater Sydney region,” explains IMPACT100 Sydney North co-founder, Tina Jackson.

“Our members are of all ages and backgrounds. They hear about IMPACT100 Sydney North through friends, family, schools, clubs and local social and environmental groups and causes,” Tina continues. “They are like-minded people, united by shared values, generosity and compassion, who want to make a difference in the world and in their community.

“It’s extremely gratifying that so many local people share the vision of collective giving and knowing that we are stronger together.”

After the recent announcement of IMPACT100 Sydney North’s eight 2021 semi-finalists, Tina spoke with Australian Communities Foundation about the future of collective giving, the challenges of Covid, and the deep ripple effect of shared generosity.

How has Impact100 Syd North responded and adapted to Covid?

TJ: We modified our 2020 granting approach, launching our Special COVID-19 grants in May with shortened timeframes, simplified guidelines and smaller grants so we could help more charities.

We retained each step of our rigorous granting process with online shortlisting, meetings and site visits, culminating in a virtual Grants Celebration event when members voted for the recipients of our special 2020 grants. The evening set the scene for our fun and engaging hybrid events, connecting COVID-safe smaller in-person gatherings via Zoom.

The shift to online meant a record number of members actively participated in shortlisting and events throughout the year.

Our Primary Grant went to Weave Youth and Community Services for their Domestic Violence Program in recognition of how significantly COVID-19 has exacerbated domestic and family violence. Members also voted to support Lou’s Place, Sydney’s only daytime refuge for women.

“Every year we give away all our funds and start again, so each year is a fresh challenge. “

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a collective giving group?

Every year we give away all our funds and start again, so each year is a fresh challenge. 

We’ve raised $130,000 and received around 50 high quality applications each year so far, but this requires considerable volunteer commitment, from membership administration to communications, events and grants assessment and shortlisting. We have an incredible management team, but everyone has multiple demands on their time: work, family and other community groups and causes.

All volunteer-run organisations face these challenges, so it’s important to spread the load as much as possible and ensure everyone’s involvement is rewarding and fun.

Which of IMPACT100 Sydney North achievements have you been most proud of?

The big moment of pride for us all is our annual Grants Celebration when members vote for the recipient of our $100,000 Primary Grant. The event never fails to be an inspiring and heart-warming culmination of our granting year.

There are many ongoing reasons to be proud because collective giving has so many ripple effects. As well as giving grants, we are shining a light on pressing needs, helping private funds identify impact projects, building understanding, encouraging giving and providing in-kind support.

Every time I hear someone has given a donation, volunteered or provided pro bono help to an organisation they’ve learnt about through IMPACT100 Sydney North, I feel enormously proud, because collective giving is about so much more than awarding annual grants.

“Its role in the wider philanthropic landscape will continue to grow because it makes the world of philanthropy accessible to everyone.”

How do you feel about the future of collective giving in Australia and its role in the wider philanthropic landscape?

Collective giving has enormous potential in Australia because it’s such a powerful idea. By pooling intellectual and financial resources we can make a difference beyond what we could alone.

While the multiplier effect of collaborative giving is the most obvious, there are many more benefits: giving that is intentional and strategic and knowing how your money is being spent, creating a measurable impact, hands-on learning about philanthropy and local communities and causes, being part of a community of like-minded people and sharing the joy of giving.

Its role in the wider philanthropic landscape will continue to grow because it makes the world of philanthropy accessible to everyone.

Andrew Everingham, Jane Barnes and Tina Jackson at the launch of the 2021 granting year hybrid event.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s thinking about launching a collective giving group of their own?

It is an incredibly rewarding experience, so I am always very encouraging to everyone who seeks my advice about starting a collective giving group. There is no one way to run one, so it is worth looking at how the different models operate and deciding what would suit your giving community best.

Find like-minded people to share the journey and help with growing and maintaining membership, communicating with members, holding events and managing the granting process.

At IMPACT100 Sydney North we have an amazing team with different skills and experience who enjoy working together. This has been absolutely crucial to our success.