Responding to disasters is in most philanthropist’s DNA.

Over the past three years in Australia millions of people have been impacted by fires, floods and COVID-19, and we know that those with existing experiences of disadvantage bear the brunt of the damage.

That’s why PRF acknowledges our responsibility to support longer-term disaster recovery and resilience efforts in communities across the country, so that people facing barriers to opportunity don’t fall further behind.

But what about the way we respond to those crises that aren’t as obvious as a natural disaster or a global pandemic?

In Australia, inflation is tipped to reach 7.75% by the end of the year. It’s a situation that has consequences for the entire economy, including the charitable sector.

We have heard from our partners that the substantial upward shift in costs will likely result in tough decisions around what services can and can’t afford to be provided.

Like all businesses, not-for-profit organisations’ costs are rising, but unlike businesses, they’re unable (or unwilling) to pass that cost onto consumers. For many organisations that rely on donations, their revenue is unlikely to keep up with rising inflation. And with the rising cost of living impacting the most vulnerable, those partners involved in the provision of services may also see higher demand.

There is no doubt it’s a challenging landscape.

At PRF we decided to help alleviate some of these pressures by providing qualified partners a one-off, unrestricted donation of around 5% of their remaining grant.

The goal was to help to stabilise partners’ program activities, enhance program outcomes, improve capability, and demonstrate our commitment to working side by side with our partners.

Some of our partners told us the funding was greatly appreciated and provided peace of mind, others told us it reinforced the value of our partnership, and for The Aurora Foundation, CEO Leila Smith told us it was critical to enable them to continue to operate without additional financial pressure.

“This additional funding will make it possible for us to address financial hardship requests that we are receiving every week from Indigenous scholars, and we can now provide a scholar stipend increase.”

It’s hearing responses like these that tells me we made the right decision.

Listening to partners is something philanthropists do every day. We are striving to improve the depth of our listening. Part of this is listening to the fiscal environment and responding to unforeseen pressures in the system that tells partners that they’ve been heard. We hope the 5% helps show we’re listening and responding.