Looking for funding?
If you are seeking funding for your club, whether it be for a community service, fundraiser or refurbishment of amenities blocks there is some good news for you.
Community grant applications are generally split into three different paths that can be accessed by clubs. All levels of government give out grants, as do many foundations and some corporations.
The keys to success in getting a grant are subtly different for each type of grant maker.
You have to know the difference so you know how to pitch your proposal.
These paths are highlighted in the sections below.
Government – Local Council, State & Federal Grants
Many people think of foundations when they think of grants, but in fact it is local government that provides the overwhelming majority of grants funding in Australia.
Generally, government grant makers are impartial, unbiased, and outcomes-oriented. Learn how the government in question thinks – look up their policy documents and use them as background when you’re interpreting their grant application forms.
Government grant makers are also relatively inflexible and can seem obsessed with detail, particularly those at the state and federal level, which are often relatively far removed from the groups being funded. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve with your project and relating the project to the key government community strategic plan outcomes will give you a better chance of a stronger successful application.
Prior to submitting an application for this funding, clubs are encouraged to write a letter of introduction to the relevant council general manager, administrator, councillors and council workers and request a meeting to discuss the project proposed further.
This scheme is generally split into three categories, but these grants are a community development funding program sponsored by local Registered Clubs and generally coordinated by local councils.
This scheme enables registered clubs with an annual gaming machine revenue exceeding $1million to apply 1.85% of their gaming machine revenue to specific community development and support projects. All applicants should review the eligibility criteria and application guidelines to determine your project is eligible for funding.
Clubs should contact their local clubs or ClubGRANTS convenor to discuss your application, the local assessment process, and to see if your application is aligned with the area’s specific social needs. Some areas may have specific local priorities that applicants may be required to meet.
One of the things big companies generally like to do is to tell people about the good work they do in their communities.
At their best they can be innovative, flexible, forward-looking, and understanding. They’re less restricted than government grant makers in some ways, too, as they’re not accountable to government ministers and taxpayers and so don’t have to worry so much about justifying who they’re giving money away to and how that money has been spent.
Don’t look on them as a lifetime solution, though. Foundations will give you money for a few years, but their grants tend to shrink over time rather than grow, and there are a limited number of foundations interested in your work – no matter what your work is. They’re also more likely to support only groups that have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, which unfortunately cuts a high proportion of hard-working groups out of contention.
A foundation grant isn’t merely a grant; it’s an invitation to share a mission. Treat grant makers like donors – ask them to your fundraisers, invite their views and respond to them, keep them in the picture at all times.
Prior to the application process it would be worth discussing how a relationship with your club would achieve their stated community goals and aims – and also benefit the local communities in which they work or operate.
In any case, remember that companies are giving you money because they think you can do something for them. That’s what you have to sell them on.
General tips to stand out for all grant types
The best way to negotiate the world of grants is to think about your needs before you start thinking about what’s available.
Hold a brainstorming session and make a list of all of the things your group would like to do, if only it had the money.
Make it a living list that’s accessible to key people within the organisation and can be added to and refined as new needs arise and old ones subside. Use this list to inform your decisions about which grants you want to apply for.
Grant-making is personal
The more a funders know about your club, the more likely you are to receive funding. Likewise, the more you know about a funder, the better you can tailor your application to meet their values and interests.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a funder and have a meeting with their funding team to cultivate a relationship, and unless they specifically say not to, always push for a face-to face meeting.
It is important to be relevant to the funder and use evidence.
Establish a specific need in the geographical area and prove how your club will realistically address this.
It’s all about building and cultivating an ongoing meaningful relationship. Honest, transparent and responsible behaviour will help you achieve this aim.
Great groups will attract and retain grantors and supporters due to the good reputation they build. Having a strong record and strong relationships will make it easier to obtain funding next time.