Eastern and Central Community Trust (ECCT)

What the organisation is and does

Eastern and Central Community Trust is one of 12 New Zealand Community Trusts, serving a large area that includes the East Coast, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū, Horowhenua and Wairarapa.  The Trust distributes approximately $5million in donations every year to a range of community organisations.

What the client brief to us was

Having developed a new strategic plan (2015-2020), which refined the Trust’s vision, ECCT sought support from CSI to review the Trust’s approach to funding and funding framework.  As part of this brief, ECCT were particularly interested in gaining a better understanding of the needs of its communities, in order to design effective philanthropic practice and funding mechanisms that better meet these needs.

What the community partners’ needs were?

ECCT sought support from CSI to develop an evidence base to support strategy redesign, and to walk alongside the Trustees and Staff in developing a fit-for-purpose funding strategy and funding approaches to achieve the Trust vision of ‘helping to build stronger, more sustainable communities’.

What our response was

Working closely with ECCT Staff and a working group of Trustees, CSI designed a three-phase process to support ECCT on this development journey over 18-months:

  1. Research and consultation – including:
  • a review of census and other population data to support ECCT to better understand the needs and strengths of regional communities
  • a literature view of effective philanthropic practice to strengthen communities
  • community consultation – four regional community visioning and consultation workshops
  • an analysis of ECCT’s donations data to understand key giving trends over the past six years
  1. Funding strategy design – including:
  • ‘sense-making’ with Staff and Trustees to understand the implications and opportunities of the research
  • funding strategy design, including the identification of priorities for impact
  • funding framework design, including the design of new and enhanced funding mechanisms designed to meet community needs and deliver priority impact
  1. Implementation support – including:
  • the design of new funding policies and processes
  • design of a monitoring and evaluation framework, including key tools for data collection
  • strategic advice to support effective roll-out of ECCT’s new funding strategy and approach
The progress

Phases 1 and 2 of the project have been completed between January and July 2017.  Key priorities for communities in the region have emerged from the research, and the community consultation approach has provided a platform for ongoing community engagement by ECCT.  Funding strategy will be finalised in July and new funds will commence implementation from 1 April 2018.

Outcomes / impacts 

Through this work, CSI has supported ECCT to:

  • increase its understanding of the needs and priorities in the region’s communities
  • increase its understanding of opportunities to enhance the impact of its grantmaking
  • strengthen its funding strategy to support more impact-focused grantmaking, with a stronger prioritisation of high needs communities
  • enhance its engagement with community, to support ongoing relationship building and increased responsiveness
  • identify increased opportunities to work and fund more responsively to meet the needs of Māori communities