Making a difference
2013/14 was FRRR's most impactful year to date, as we distributed $6,377,231 (up from $5.4m in 2013) to 756 community projects (up from 652 in 2013). However, this was still only 36% of the 2,080 applications we received. Around 50% of groups applying are new to FRRR, highlighting the effectiveness of our communication activities in reaching new applicants, as well as the ongoing demand for funding. The chart below shows the full distribution of funds.
The grants distributed via our 19 programs ranged from a Small Grants for Rural Communities grant of $398 for roof repairs to the local hall in a community of just 500 people, to a one-off grant of $121,000 for an infrastructure project, which we administered on behalf of the Percy Baxter Charitable Trust, managed by Perpetual.
In 2013/14, 27% of all distributions went toward education and skills / training projects. This included 16,067 Back to School vouchers, an increase of nearly 20% on the prior year. These were distributed via 56 communities (via 21 community foundations and 35 community groups), benefiting schools and families, as well as the individual students.
Helping communities fundraise
As the chart below shows, this year we significantly increased the number of donation accounts we held, from 29 up to 45. These accounts, the tool by which we lend our tax deductible status to community groups, raised $1,805,672.
Broadening our funding base
As highlighted in the chart below, the vast majority of FRRR’s funding comes via donations and grants we receive. This financial year, we received $5,776,184 in donations. Contributions ranged from $10 to $250,000. In total, we received funds from more than 80 institutional donors, as well as significant numbers of individual donors.
Through sound investments and diversifying our activities to leverage our specialist knowledge and expertise, we generated an additional $1,561,954 in revenue. This covered our operational costs for the year and made funds available to invest in program development and seed-funding new programs. While our application process remains relatively simple, the increase in applications, together with an increase in the number of programs we operate (and to be offered in FY 2015) increased our overheads, so we continue to keep a firm eye on investment strategies and opportunities to diversity revenue streams. We also constantly look for ways in which to streamline our internal processes to achieve efficiencies.
It should be noted however that not all of the funds we administer are distributed in the financial year they are received. Some of the funds distributed this financial year came into the organisation in previous years (such as the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, now the Department of Human Services, donation for the Grants for Resilience and Wellness program). Similarly, some of the funds we received this year are for programs that will be run in 2014/15.
In the coming year, we will seek to expand our donor base further, attracting more donors making relatively small contributions via workplace giving. We will also be launching a bequests program, encouraging people to leave a legacy which can be directed to support rural, regional and remote communities.
FRRR is in a strong position, thanks to the ongoing support of our valued donors, and careful financial management: funds under management now total nearly $24 million. About half of these funds are committed to programs, while the balance is critical to generating income to help run our operations and allow FRRR to invest in programs, which is often critical in getting programs off the ground and to leveraging contributions from our generous donors.