The Funding Network’s live crowdfunding events build bridges between business, philanthropy, everyday Australians and the social sector to transform compassion into action. These events provide a platform for grassroots nonprofits to share stories of impact, build support and raise vital funds.

This year marks TFN’s tenth year of giving, so I spoke to TFN CEO Kristen Lark to get the highlights from the network’s 10th anniversary crowdfunding event and hear more about its priorities going forward.

Tenth anniversary crowdfunding event

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, TFN held a ‘best of’ 10th Anniversary Crowdfunding event earlier this year, which was only open to alumni to apply. The network dug deep and raised a record $443,600 for programs that will contribute to a better, more inclusive Australia.

TFN received about 50 applications, with a final three picked by an independent selection panel:

Anika Legal raised $103,600 to grow their rental advocacy legal program to help people out of debt.

Anika Legal seeks to solve social inequality by providing an online platform that gives free legal advice to vulnerable members of the community.

Find out more:

DeadlyScience raised $101,000 to bring their STEM program into remote schools and inspire First Nations kids to follow in the footsteps of the First Scientists.

DeadlyScience provides science books and early reading material to remote schools in Australia. They have shipped over 25,000 books, 700 telescopes, 10,000 Lego kits and other STEM resources over 180 communities, with more to come.

Find out more:

Hotel Etico raised $102,000 to help scale their social enterprise hotel model and welcome more people into their programs.

Hotel Etico is Australia’s first social enterprise hotel employing and training young people with intellectual disabilities and changing community attitudes about the employment of
people with disabilities.

Find out more:

A video from the 10th Anniversary Crowdfunding event can be found here and more TFN alumni stories here.

Igniting grassroots giving

TFN raised $137,000 at the event to launch its 10th Anniversary Catalyst Campaign to drive high-impact grassroots giving at scale. This support will help create a bigger stage, a louder voice and a dedicated fanbase for grassroots programs.

Kristen explained that while TFN wants more people to give, it specifically wants more people to give to grass roots organisations. 

“We know that over 90% of donations that go to charities go to the largest 10% of charities. That doesn’t leave a lot of money for these new ideas or for early stage organisations”, she said.

“It would be a bit like if all the VC funds went to the biggest organisations, you wouldn’t get the growth that you see in other spaces. 

“That’s a unique space that TFN plays in where we can identify high potential organisations and then provide an opportunity for them to get the exposure and the funds and connections to get to that next stage of growth.”

Key themes going forward

Kristen explained that, “going forward we see an opportunity to really align a lot of the work we’re doing around some key themes — key themes that we think can create real change”. 

There are four key areas that TFN plan to focus on over the next several years:

  • First Nations: “we know there’a a lot of opportunity and need to make sure we are showcasing and supporting the highest potential first nations organisations.” 
  • Equity Inclusion: “How do we create a more level playing field and provide opportunity for people who haven’t had as many opportunities?” 
  • Place Based Giving: “To really support regional communities”. 
  • Thriving Young People: “We’re having a look at how we can impact young people”

TFN’s next event

TFN’s next live crowdfunding event is the Queensland Grassroots event on Thursday 12th October 2023 in Brisbane. 

You can register here to attend and connect with like-minded people and be part of making your world a better place for all people.

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