Year-Round Membership Recruitment, Monthly Payment Plans, and Two Grant Cycles In September 2020, the Impact Austin board approved the following changes to support a new model of year-round membership recruitment, introduction of a monthly payment option, and grant awards – all facilitated with the same trust-based mindset that we apply to all new grantmaking processes. Until recent months, Impact Austin’s model included recruitment events that began in the Fall and continued until the end of the calendar year. Member dues on hand as of that date would determine: (1) the total dollar amount of the following year’s grants and (2) members’ eligibility for service on Grant Review Committees (GRCs) and voting. Today Impact Austin offers a monthly payment option, a long-awaited opportunity. With this new opportunity came new questions and considerations to ponder. For example, how would grant totals be determined? And then how would we divide grant dollars among the grant cycles and focus areas, given that payments could be made over time? When would members gain voting rights? As these questions were considered, the Grants team, Board of Directors, and Impact Austin staff also reconsidered every aspect of our grantmaking program. In addition, we rethought the grants cycle to accommodate these changes by creating two grant cycles. Read on to learn even more! Members will have full participation privileges, and you become a member, as soon as payment is initiated, either by setting up monthly payments or by paying the annual payment in full. If you’re a member, you get to vote! Immediate participation will make year-round recruiting and onboarding more effective, inclusive, and welcoming. There will still be a membership deadline for voting – an administrative necessity - but it will be moved to just days before voting on grants commences. Members need to have made their annual payment or initiated monthly payments prior to the deadline to be eligible to vote. Impact Austin will now offer two grant cycles per year, Spring and Fall. Grant dollar amounts will be determined by dividing the grant portion of membership dues 50/50 into two grant pools - Spring and Fall. Because members will pay dues at different times during the year, and because some will pay annually and others monthly, having two grant cycles will ensure that grant amounts will be balanced. o For Spring 2021 awards (Community and Education Grants), the grant amount will be determined at the end of the 2020 calendar year. o For Fall 2021 awards (Equity and Health & Well-Being Grants), the grant amount will be determined at the end of June.
All members will be eligible for two Grant Review Committee (GRC) cycles, no matter when they join. New members will be eligible for the next 2 GRC cycles and renewing members will be eligible for an additional 2 GRC cycles, consistent with a full year of paid membership.
Here is a tentative schedule for the Spring 2021 grant season. (Note: These dates assume all 2021 meetings are virtual and that voting is conducted in advance of Annual Meeting.)
12/31 Pool for Spring 2021 grants closes 1/1 GRC signups start
1/7 Grant amount finalized 1/11 Grant applications open
2/5 GRC signups end 2/9 Grant applications close 5/15 Membership deadline for voting
5/19 Member voting starts 5/27 Member voting ends 6/7 Annual Meeting 7/1 Payments to Community Partners
Joining Impact Austin is now an inclusive, year-round practice! Here’s what a few of our members had to say about these updates:
Board & Finance Committee member Jenny Cotner analyzed historical payment data to show that Spring and Fall grant amounts would be balanced. Jenny said, “After the stark imbalance of making $100,000 grants this Spring but having only $40,000 for SIG this Fall, I’m really excited that we’re moving to a different system where we can ensure equal funding throughout the year!”
“I am so heartened by Impact Austin's focus on ways to improve our business model to make it more inclusive. Kudos to all involved for thoughtfully examining our current practices and pivoting in such a way that strengthens our reputation as a national leader in the collective giving arena. I continue to be a proud supporter and look forward to experiencing the positive outcomes these changes will bring.” Rebecca Powers, Impact Austin Founder
“I am so pleased to see that Impact Austin is moving forward to implement a monthly giving plan in addition to our current ‘all-in-one’ payment plan. We understand that women just starting families, women just starting careers, women just buying their first homes or first cars, women paying off student loans might see a one-time $1,250 payment as daunting whereas a monthly $100+ plus payment looks doable. Knocking down barriers to success and meaningful participation is the definition of Impact Austin as an organization. It is so right for us to govern ourselves by this same principle. I am proud to have belonged for well over 15 years to a group that reacts positively to changing times.” Barbara Ellis, Member