Australian Philanthropy Benchmark (APB)









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About the APB

The Australian Philanthropic Benchmark (APB) has been developed to identify how more can be achieved in the world of philanthropy through a better understanding of an organisation’s relationships and processes.

The APB identifies what an organisation is doing well, what an organisation could do better and measures performance over time against an industry benchmark. It has the support of Philanthropy Australia.

Established in 2013, the APB now includes data from seven philanthropic organisations and over 500 partner organisations, making it the largest source of partnership data within the Australian philanthropic sector.

What is it

Pollinate have designed a streamlined approach to evaluating philanthropy organisations. The APB delivers clear and actionable outputs and is easy to use for philanthropic organisations and their fundees and partners.

Incorporating elements of current business evaluation, satisfaction and strategy development studies in the questions and design and the analysis method, the APB is an effective evaluation and improvement survey.

Five steps


The participating philanthropic organisation provide Pollinate a list of the potential participants: grant recipients and partners


The philanthropy organisation then send an email (drafted and provided by Pollinate) to all participants, letting them know Pollinate will soon be in touch with a survey link​


Pollinate send introduction email & survey link. We are an independent organisation & ensures our impartiality is maintained throughout this and all research. We reassure participants answers are anonymous & collect honest responses and feedback


When the survey is closed, Pollinate clean and analyse the data for individual organisation performance overall vs. the industry benchmark


The survey is live for 2 weeks. Pollinate send a reminder after 1 week


What you get

At the end of the process, every organisation receives:

  • Your own private report


  • A face to face debrief of your results compared to the APB benchmark results


  • Your data and the benchmark data (anonymous)


  • Participation in the presentation forum of the industry-wide APB results forum with all participating organisations, followed by facilitated discussion



When it happens

The APB occurs in March and September every year.

With the goal of continuous improvement, the APB is conducted twice a year based on the expectation organisations want to measure performance and improvement on a regular basis (recommended is once every 18 months).

Participation is confirmed 2 months prior to the launch of the APB. If you would like to participate in the next wave, get in touch today – please enter your details at the bottom of this page.


Pollinate operate this project at our low-bono rate – $5,000 is the base cost to participate.

$5,000 includes participation in the APB, your own private report with results compared to the benchmark, face to face or video presentation, and participation in the presentation forum of the industry-wide APB results forum with all annual participating organisations, followed by discussion.


Additional costs:

Inclusion of organisation-specific questions: $1,500 for under 5 questions, $3,000 for 6-10 questions. If you would like to include more than 10 questions we will discuss the most cost-effective way to include these

Follow up in-depth interviews with participants: $800 per 45xminute interview, with 4 interviews recommended: $3,200

Travel costs outside of Sydney and Melbourne, if required




“This tool overcomes the power imbalance between the funder and those who are funded…because this power imbalance stifles honest feedback. We have to make sure what we’re giving is making the biggest impact that it can, and we can’t do that by sitting in an ivory tower. We must listen to our partners, but the problem is our partners are reluctant to give us the hard truth sometimes because they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. This tool is a way of them telling us how we can improve our performance so the money we give is more impactful.”

Sean Barrett, Head of the Origin Foundation


“The APB not only checks our effectiveness as a foundation but also sets our future goals and the strategy and resources to underpin this. Without this feedback from our partners we are operating blind,”

Teya Dusseldorp of Dusseldorp Forum

“Those of us involved have been able to improve our performance and impact: the APB already represents the largest dataset on philanthropic performance in Australia. Adoption by others would continue to strengthen the benchmark and act as a catalyst for improved giving across the sector.”

Rachel Kerry, CAGES Foundation


“There is an equity issue: If, as a funder, we expect evaluation from our grantees then we have to be answerable to them and measure ourselves.”

Sean Barrett, Head of the Origin Foundation, on founding the APB

Case study

Allan English - The English Family Foundation


The English Family Foundation first participated in Pollinate's Philanthropic Benchmarking Initiative in 2015 and repeated the process again in 2017. Founder and Chair Allan English was introduced to the Initiative after reading an article about it in a newsletter from Philanthropy Australia.

"PBI allows us to find out what our partners' needs are, as well as our own areas for improvement.

There are always things we could be doing better, and that's what this is all about."

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