If your nonprofit organization is looking for creative funding for programs and services, grants are an excellent way to finance your strategic priorities.
Knowing who is eligible for grants, how to find grants and how to get support in the grant-finding and grant-writing process are important steps in developing a robust funding program.
For many of Australia’s 177,000 non-profit organisations, grant funding is the only way to keep important programs operating. In some cases, grant funding accounts for 25 to 33 percent of all revenue, allowing for important community programs in the arts, counseling job training, day care, health care and recreation.
Grants Assist helps non-profit organisations identify and apply successfully for grants that can transform communities and lead to better lives for Australians.
Getting Started with Grants for Non-Profits in Australia
There are several organizational steps you need to take before you can be eligible for non-profit grants. First, your organization needs to be an established charity. It also needs to receive the proper charitable status from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Most foundations are only eligible to fund organisations that are endorsed by the tax office as being a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) and either an income tax-exempt charitable entity or for charity tax concessions.
Some foundations can only fund organisations with a DGR designation while others can only fund charities registered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and endorsed by the ATO for tax concessions. Some foundations can only fund charities that achieve both.
Typically, Australian philanthropy involves gifts from organisations or individuals, often known as funders or grant-makers. There are several types of organisations that may make grants:
- Private Ancillary Funds. These funds must have an Australian business number, be located in Australia, comply with national rules and guidelines for the organization and its trustees, have rules in place to transfer excess gifts and apply for endorsement as a DGR.
- Public Ancillary Fund. These are pools of money or property held or managed to distribute assets to other entities. These funds do not deliver services directly.
- Charitable Trust. Established by a donor via a deed with a charitable purpose, these trusts can obtain tax-exempt status but donations to them are not tax-deductible. They must make donations to charities for purposes specified in the deed.
Here is some data on philanthropy in Australia, according to Philanthropy Australia:
- In 2016, private and public ancillary funds and charitable trusts made $1.528 billion in grants.
- In 2018, there were 1,667 private ancillary funds with $7.2 billion in assets that made grants totaling $394 million.
- In 2018, there were 1,344 public ancillary funds with $3.48 billion in asset that made grants totaling $395 million.
- In 2016, there were 2,005 charitable trusts with assets of $7.7 billion that made grants totaling $507 million.
- In 2017-18, 4.43 million individual taxpayers claimed tax-deductible donations totaling $3.75 billion.
- The largest foundation in Australia is the Paul Ramsay Foundation, established in 2006 and continued since the businessman’s death in 2014. The foundation focused on helping break the cycle of the disadvantaged in the country.
- The oldest foundation, established in 1886, is the Wyatt Foundation. Based in Adelaide, it supports South Australians undergoing hardships.
Corporate giving is another avenue for Australian non-profit organisations. Businesses give money, goods and services or a combination thereof. According to Philanthropy Australia, in 2015-16, businesses donated $17.5 billion, consisting of:
- $7.7 billion in corporate partnerships
- $6.2 billion in donations
- $3.6 billion in sponsorships (non-commercial)
What to Look for When Pursuing a Grant
Not all foundations and entities are going to fund what your organization is looking to support. It’s important to do your due diligence and research potential funding sources before moving ahead.
Grants Assist can help you understand the complexities of funders and how they operate. Drawing on Grants Assist’s expertise helps your charity focus on the right funding opportunities, create compelling and effective grant applications and achieve more success.
Grants Assist understands philanthropy and can navigate the highly competitive philanthropic landscape. When pursuing grants, it’s critical to work with experts like Grants Assist to do research and advance work before moving forward. Among the tips to take into your grant strategy:
- Check if any of your board members, employees, existing donors or other partners have a relationship with the funder and would they be willing to make a connection for you
- Do not seek funding for a project that is already under way
- Build a narrative in social media, print and online about what your organization does, its successes and its needs
- Know if potential funders will accept proposals, applications or Expressions of Interest (EOI)
- Review submission guidelines closely to ensure that your organization is doing work in an area they support, what their timelines are, and what criteria needs to be met to apply
- Research the types of charities and projects they have previously supported
- Can you complete the project in the timeline stipulated in the round of funding?
- When possible, ask for a discussion with a staff member at the organization. Describe your proposal to them briefly and assess their reaction. Find out who will be assessing a proposal
When you’re ready to submit, be prepared to answer important questions in your grant proposal. While the questions below are among the most common and typical elements of a grant application, there may be specific questions that will be asked depending on the funder and the type of funding round they are supporting.
Core questions to answer are:
- Are you eligible to apply for support from the funder?
- What is the problem or challenge your project hopes to address?
- How do you know there is an issue to address? What empirical evidence can you provide to support your claim that there is a problem that needs to be addressed?
- What will your program do to address the identified need?
- How much funding is being requested?
- What is unique about your organization that makes it well suited to address the problem?
- Do you have collaborators or partners that are also addressing the problem? How are roles and responsibilities divided?
- How sustainable is your project? Does it create systems or generate income that can be used to perpetuate the support after the funding period has ended?
- What other resources are you putting towards this work? Are there lead donors, operating budgets, bequests or other grants that are supporting the project?
- What is your budget for the project? Some organisations will only support certain components of funded projects and not others. You will likely need to provide a detailed budget that details the capital needs, personnel, operating expenses, travel needs, marketing, technology and assessment costs.
There are so many considerations when it comes to applying for grants. For charities large and small, these complexities can be daunting and present hurdles for successfully completing grant applications and gaining funding.
Grants Assist delivers results for its partner organisations. To find out about new Australia grant opportunities and how to get your projects the funding they need, complete an enquiry form today.