Streamlining for impact

Streamlining organisational process for optimised impact

Alice Montague
Executive Director
Nikau Foundation

8 February 2022

For any organisation, realising your end game is crucial. Whether you’re watching your margins to maximise profit, focusing on team wellbeing to ensure the delivery of the best work, or planning ahead to help your organisation grow, we all have an output we consider as King.

For Community Foundations, our end game is impact. As foundations, we have a kaitiaki role for our communities; it is our job to identify the areas in which our support is most needed, to fund in ways that have the most benefit to community organisations and ensure we can remain a reliable funding stream.

Ensuring consistent returns
The Community Foundations model is designed to optimise the power of a dollar through ethical investment and growth of gifts. However, a challenge that many foundations face is ensuring consistent funding when the markets fluctuate as they do. How do you remain as a reliable source of funding year-on-year?

The answer is to think of the long-game.
Aligning with some of the largest endowments in the world (Yale and Stanford), Nikau Foundation’s distribution policy, which was introduced in 2020, sets a target distribution rate and smooths out market fluctuations to ensure more-consistent funding year on year. This means we can provide greater certainty to donors and grant recipients alike and continue to deliver impact even in unfavourable market conditions when funding is often most needed.

Shifting the lens
An important part of effective grant-making is assessing where the biggest opportunities for philanthropic impact lie. But it can also be the most difficult. If you have two very similar applications from two organisations with an equally incredible kaupapa, who gets funding?

For Nikau Foundation, adopting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for our grant-making provided the clarity we needed when going through this often challenging decision-making process. These goals provide a blueprint to achieve a healthy, happy society, now and in future.

By referring to these goals when making funding decisions, we are able to better determine how we can effect positive change in our local communities while aligning and remaining accountable to a global movement.

Nikau Foundation’s 2022 Grants Round launches on Monday the 14th of February 2022.

If you live or operate in the Wellington region, you may be able to apply for a grant. To find out more about eligibility requirements or to apply, go to

Pinikilicious: empowering Pacifica women to take charge of their health, one of the many impactful initiatives supported by Wellington’s Nikau Foundation, now aligning their grant-making with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Date Posted: 08 Feb 2022

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