A small grants dinner celebrating and supporting community
How it works
- Community members are invited to a community dinner, bringing $5 (cash only) to donate (or more if you like)
- A simple dinner of soup, bread, or similar is served
- During the dinner you will listen to 8 community project pitches. 4 will be projects ready to go and looking for funding on the night, 4 will be at the idea stage and looking for support
- Discuss the projects with others at the dinner, share your ideas and resources
- Cast your vote for the community project you want to help fund
- The project with the most votes goes home with all the money donated on the night
- The winner comes back to a future SOUP dinner to tell us how the project went.
We aim for the dinners to be welcoming, reflect the community they’re being held in (so it’s likely that each one will be slightly different) as well as a respectful space for sharing of ideas and community assets.
We want to support community members to come together, share ideas and resources and support projects for the benefit of the community.
Can I come to a dinner if I can’t make a donation?
You are more than welcome to come along if you can’t donate $5. We use a ‘pay it forward’ system so that any additional donations are put towards those who can’t contribute. We also supply food using donated produce from businesses and community gardens.
Can children and young people come to a dinner?
Yes, it is a community even which anyone can come along to. Although, young children need to be supervised by an adult. Provided they have made a $5 donation, children and young people can vote along with other diners.
What will I get for my $5 donation?
Dinner, a great time and one vote for the community project you think should receive the money from the night.
What’s for dinner?
We serve a simple dinner of a range of homemade soups (including at least one vegan) and bread (including gluten-free) provided by our local sponsors.
Do I need to RSVP for the dinner?
Its not compulsory, but the food will be first come first served on the night. We’d really like if you could RSVP to help with planning.
We ask successful projects to present on how the money has been used at a future SOUP dinner. We will also ask them to send a written update with photos or videos, etc. that can be posted online. We don’t know if people will do what they say they will, but that’s part of the process. To give people chances and try something that will benefit the community.
Who can submit a project proposal?
Individuals, groups or organisations – anyone with a project that could benefit the local community. The beauty of Illawarra SOUP is that funds are donated from willing individual community members so you don’t need to be an organisation to receive funds.
Who decides on, and how do you decide, which projects get to pitch at a dinner?
The working group for each dinner is made up of people from the local community and broader Illawarra region who work with communities.
Our criteria is based on the questions in the project proposal form. Most importantly you must be able to tell us how the project benefits the community. To ensure a transparent process, we aim to give all projects that submit a proposal an opportunity to present at a dinner so that the diners can decide who they’d like their money to go to. If we receive more than eight proposals for a dinner, some will have to be held over until the next dinner. We will notify projects as to when they will present.
How much money will the successful project receive?
This will vary depending on how many people are at the dinner and how much is donated on the night. We aim to have all donated money go to the successful project and don’t use any donated money to hold the event.
Can I apply more than once to pitch my project?
Yes, you can apply more than once whether you’ve been successful in receiving money from a previous dinner or not. We want the process to as transparent as possible and aim to give all projects that submit a proposal an opportunity to present at a dinner.
Any tips for completing the project proposal?
Be realistic about what you can achieve.
Don’t make it too big because it may be a relatively small amount of money donated. You may need to be flexible about how much money you need to work with.
Talk to us about your ideas.
Do you have examples of projects that have been funded?
Some examples from US based SOUP dinners are:
- Columbus SOUP Garden by Grace Community Garden awarded $286: The money will go towards purchasing garden tools.
- Columbus SOUP Columbus Summer Jam Family Cookout awarded $134: The money will go towards costs of the event – a free, educational fun day for the community aimed at raising awareness about violence.
- Detroit SOUP Young Educators Alliance awarded $1017: They are using the money to make a hiphop mixtape that promotes educational messages. The money will pay for studio and recording time, purchasing CDs, graphic design for CD covers and promotion.
Can I get involved and help out with Illawarra SOUP?
Yes please! As well as coming along to a dinner and pitching a project, we have a lot of opportunities for people to help with organising the dinners and on the night. Just let us know what you’d like to do – donate food, help prepare food on the night, set up, pack up, coordinate marketing, are just some of the things that need to be done to make Illawarra SOUP happen. If you donate food to a dinner, we will advertise your business or organisation on the night.
I want to hold my own dinner, how do I go about this?
Great news! One of the aims of Illawarra SOUP is to show communities how they can hold their own dinners. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you our materials and support you by promoting your event on our Facebook page and networks. Detroit SOUP also have a really helpful ‘how to’ guide on their website at http://detroitsoup.com/startyourown
Who is behind Illawarra SOUP?
No one organisation owns Illawarra SOUP, it’s a joint effort between a range of local Illawarra community organisations and individuals who volunteer their time. It is mostly volunteer driven. In the north, Thirroul Neighbourhood Centre and volunteers are organising their local event. Wollongong City Council and Office of Communities provide some support and are assisting to document the journey to share with other