Charities need more than strong vision, mission and funding for innovative programs to survive and thrive. The key to success often lies with the passion and talent of our people. We work to recruit, develop and retain a diverse workforce of skilled, enthusiastic employees throughout the organisation – and with chronic worker shortages across the healthcare sector, attracting and retaining talent it is something we are focused on. There are multiple ways philanthropic, corporate and community supporters can help us build the capacity, strength and resilience of our mission-critical human resources.
Here are some suggestions:
Consider providing unrestricted, general operating support rather than tied, program-directed funding:
The more stable our general administrative base, the more efficiently and effectively we can operate. When the back-end areas of payroll, accounts, volunteer screening, vehicle maintenance, health and safety, staff inductions, donation processing, and information technology run smoothly, the efficiency, output, morale and retention of all staff, including frontline program delivery staff, builds.
Offer multi-year program funding, or earlier annual funding renewal advice for successful programs:
By providing a commitment to multi-year funding or confirming annual funding renewal advice a few months ahead of year-end, you offer security to the program, gifting staff the opportunity and motivation to plan ahead to deliver the best-possible outcomes for children in rural and remote communities.
Share your training opportunities:
If you are organising a training program for your staff, please consider inviting staff from Royal Far West. Providing one or two extra workshop spots generally won’t increase your costs and upskilling a charity’s skill set in disciplines including best-practise recruitment techniques, public speaking, social media, and general management improves organisation capacity and efficiency, helps educate and retain staff, provides networking and engagement opportunities, and gives plenty of feel-good vibes for everyone.
Provide networking and collaboration opportunities between grantees:
If you support multiple charities, hold events where they can meet, share their missions and programs (or frustrations!) and learn from one another. Consider inviting your broader network connections, offering a special guest speaker or a facilitated workshop component. And remember, it’s not just charity CEOs or program directors who can benefit from a round-table with like-minded people — a bespoke, targeted event supporting social workers on the frontline, donor care volunteers, IT managers, fundraisers, catering teams, or accountants can be just as beneficial and productive.
Offer yourself, your team, or your network as sounding boards or mentors:
Get to know us – take time to visit, read our annual report and strategic plan, ask questions about program reports and acquittals, and understand our pain points. If you feel you or someone you know can provide expertise to alleviate those pain points, make the offer of an introductory coffee chat, and take it from there.
Add a training allowance or bonus professional development payment onto your base-line donation:
Set aside a small percentage of your distribution budget and “top-up” your main grant payments with an additional donation to support professional development in some way. These small extra payments turn Royal Far West’s budget “wish list” items – such as conference attendances, training programs, journal subscriptions or professional association memberships – into reality, and come as a lovely motivating, skill-building surprise for us as an organisation, and for our team members who benefit from them.
These suggestions don’t require large investments of dollars or time above currently budgeted amounts, but rather thinking beyond the usual frameworks of ‘program funding’, to ‘program-plus support’, and a willingness to understand all our staff – from the frontline through to the back office – are all key enablers, ensuring we can deliver powerful programs now, and into the future.