How do grass-root charities  break out of the hamster wheel and grow their capacity to make an even greater impact?


Grass Root Charities are often capped in future growth by the nature of being a not-for-profit.  Due to high levels of administration work and reporting to comply with financial, governance and regulatory requirements, they often rely on volunteers and minimal (and often overworked) staff not only to meet these requirements but also market, fundraise, govern, recruit and manage.

There is an expectation that operational costs are kept minimal to have as much of the donor dollar get through to the actual projects. The benchmark of the NFP industry is under 20% which is not an unrealistic or unreasonable expectation but this does not necessarily scale effectively for all size charities.

Almost two-thirds of Australia’s registered charities (63%) are classified as small, with annual revenue of $250,000 or less. Just under half of Australia’s registered charities (44%) employ no staff and are entirely volunteer-run.  Only a minority of charities are medium (17%) with annual revenue between $250,000 and $1,000,000, or large (19%) with annual revenue of over $1,000,000.  
If 63% of charities are small (less than $250,000) they have an operating budget of less than $50,000 and medium size charities ($250,000 to $1,000,000) have an operating budget of between $50-200,000.

Many of the key staff are expected to do multiple roles and often work very extended hours and become stressed, run-down and burnt out.

These smaller organisations rely heavily on volunteers which can provide other challenges when they are unable to commit to long-term and regular hours.  This can lead to a lot of time spent recruiting, training and managing volunteers and away from doing their own tasks. 

The inability to invest in people and programs that can help the organise grow their capacity keeps them in a constant chicken or the egg scenario of focussing on fundraising campaigns that require constant focus and attention for one-off donations, funding or grants with the limited resources that they have.


Provide a regular income that is specifically dedicated for operational costs and growing the capacity of the organisation in line with their strategic plan. Whilst these funds may be more than the 20% benchmark initially as programs and teams grow the ratio will improve to a point that we are no longer needed and the organisation has a solid and sustainable future.

Through our formalised program we develop and strengthen relationships and partnerships with Small to Medium sized Businesses that contribute both to the capacity building and fundraising for projects through a range of tailored activities.

Want to be a Charity Partner with Dovetail?

Are you a Grass Root Charity with turnover under $2 million dollars?   We are currently running our pilot program with a few charity partners but we would love to hear from you!  We think you are awesome and we would love to be the wind beneath your wings!