Where to find grants for your project
Grants are a great way to secure funding for one-off projects or special programs. Here’s how to find some of that extra money.
Every club welcomes more money, and there are only so many cupcakes you can sell. Grants can help with infrastructure improvements such as rebuilding club facilities and buying extra equipment. They can also help broaden your membership base by being:
- Gender-specific – perhaps new change rooms for the women’s team
- Culturally and Language Diverse (CALD) – encouraging Indigenous, migrant or refugee groups to have a go
- Inclusive – designed to make joining in easier for people with special needs or who are experiencing social disadvantage
- Mentally healthy – a big funding focus across Australia today.
Some projects lift the spirits of clubs and their local communities who might have been through hard times. They can even make the difference between closing and staying open.
But the art of finding grants can feel like a giant treasure hunt. Lots of hard work, confusion and mystery, slashing your way through the paper jungle to find that pot of gold.
Here are some useful tips and resources to help you be as prepared as possible next time you’re grant hunting.
Let others do the searching
Grants are a moving target. Here one day, gone the next. You might find an opportunity that sounds ideal, only to find submissions closed yesterday.
One effective way to limit the time you spend searching for grant opportunities is to subscribe to a service that keeps track of them for you, or even sends you alerts when one pops up that sounds like a good match.
Labour-saving online services
- FundingCentre.com.au membership costs about $125 per year for a single user for a non-profit organisation or school, $200 per year for multi-user subscription. The service’s EasyGrants Newsletter lists new and ongoing grant opportunities across Australia, including the country and regions. The up-to-date and extensive monthly list covers all state, federal and local government, corporate, philanthropic and community foundations.
- SportsCommunity.com.au is an online site with information about grants specific to sporting clubs. It also has other handy information and online tutorials about writing grant applications. Some of the information is free but you’ll need to pay for a membership to get to the nitty gritty: about $60 annually for a single member, $150 for club membership.
- The Grants Hub is a well-organised resource that collates all types of grants, not just sporting grants. It has many useful tips about being prepared and what information to include in your application. There are also links to professional grant writers. Membership includes tailored alerts and member support, starting at about $30 per month.
Money going back to your own club
Most of us pay taxes, rates, all manner of fines and fees, and maybe even fork out for a flutter on the lotto. If you feel this money is headed in the wrong direction, the good news is governments are busy handing a lot of it back.
Government grants are essentially revenue dollars spread around the community to encourage positive social outcomes. In other words, cash for worthy causes like yours.
The three levels of government in Australia all hand out different grants according to how much they have to spend and where they see the greatest area of need. These government levels are:
- Australian Government
- State Government
- Local Government
Australian government grants
At the top of the funding tree, the Australian Government is a source of nationwide funding for community groups of all sizes. GrantConnect is the website portal it uses to list all its current and upcoming grants. The website tells you what the application deadlines are, the kind of activities that meet the criteria, and the types of organisations that can apply for each grant.
You’ll also find grants expected in the next year or two, labelled Forecast Opportunities. Government departments work well in advance. So, it pays to be prepared and think ahead.
State government grants
Your state or territory government focuses on social and development priorities specific to its cities, suburbs, regional and rural areas. Your club must be in the same state to apply for state/territory funding.
Funding opportunities are constantly changing. Typically, applications open and then close in the space of a few months. New rounds and opportunities are constantly being created.
Here is a state-by-state guide to government websites that link to local grant opportunities.
State based grants
The ACT Government offers Health and Community Wellbeing grants and City and Territory Services grants, both of which offer opportunities for community sporting programs:
The Mental Health Month Reimbursement Grants Program provides funding of up to $1000 to help ACT groups and organisations host a mental health focused event during the month of October 2021. Applications for 2021 close on June 18, or keep an eye out for next year’s funding:
ClubGRANTS is one of Australia’s largest grant programs, providing more than $100 million in cash each year to a variety of worthy causes across NSW, including sporting organisations and not-for-profit community groups:
The Multicultural NSW Stronger Together Grants Program aims to support multicultural projects, events and activities that foster community harmony and celebrate cultural diversity:
NSW Office of Sport provides millions in government grants to nurture sporting talent, help build sports facilities and develop the industry as a whole:
The Local Sport Grant Program (LSGP) aims to increase regular and on-going participation opportunities in sport in NSW
Funding for regional clubs is available across a range of areas of social need, from bushfire recovery to projects that enhance female participation in sport. If you miss this year’s application deadline, keep an eye out for ongoing funding allocations as they become available:
NT.GOV.AU Grants Directory is a launching pad for information about many different types of grants, including community and recreation groups:
The Community Development Grants program encourages the ongoing social, cultural, recreational and environmental development of Alice Springs. Applications can only be made for one month each year, from late January to late February:
The Queensland Government’s Grants Finder offers links to all government grants with an easy-to-use filter to narrow your search to your area of interest:
Gambling Community Benefit Fund (GCBF) allocates funding to not-for-profit community groups to help them provide services, leisure activities and opportunities for Queensland communities:
The Queensland Government offers financial support for young athletes, for kids to join a club, for clubs to upgrade facilities and increase membership, as well as help with writing funding applications:
Queensland Community Foundation is a state-wide community foundation seeking to meet the social needs of Queensland, supporting over 200 charitable organisations each year through grants.
ORSR Active Club Program helps active recreation and sports clubs with program and equipment funding up to and including $3000:
Grants SA’s Reconnect Grant Round focuses on the key themes of belonging to communities that are inclusive, equitable and resilient. People / communities experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage are the core target group for this funding:
Tasmanian Community Fund provides grants to not-for-profit organisations and is administered by an independent board. There are quick links to application forms on the home page:
All current grants funded by the Victorian Government appear on this website, with filters to help with your search. It’s a good place to look for broader grant areas outside the just the sports locker:
Grants and funding to support sport and recreation in Victoria from local community clubs through to the elite level:
VicHealth offers grants to support healthier communities and individuals, including mental health, physical activity, healthy eating, alcohol and tobacco harm prevention:
Grants to support Victoria's multicultural and multi-faith communities:
Through grants, subsidies and scholarships the WA Government Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries can provide funding to organisations who facilitate sport and active recreation:
Lotterywest distributes grant money from gambling revenue, including supporting initiatives to encourage healthy lives. After July 2021, it will refocus from COVID-19 and return to grant making under its Community Investment Framework:
Local government grants
These guys are closer to home for many smaller sporting clubs. For grants in your local government area, do a Google search for community grants featuring the name of your local council or shire, eg: Community Grants Hume City Council.
Think outside the box – just because you’re a sporting club, doesn’t mean all the available resources will be listed under “sport”. This applies to all government and non-government grants. Here are some of the other areas your club’s programs might fit into:
- mental health projects
- safe transport
- alcohol, drugs
- multicultural activities
- bushfire recovery
- healthy food.
Talk to your MP
Your state or federal Member of Parliament, and your local mayor or ward councillor, are all clued in when it comes to funding opportunities in their electorates.
Get in touch with their office and ask how you can present your case for funding to your elected representative. That’s what they’re there for.
Targeting top competitors
SportAus is the Australian Government agency responsible for driving the broader sport sector and supporting activities linked to sport participation and sport industry growth. At different times it offers grants through targeted programs:
This includes the Local Sporting Champions program for coaches, officials and competitors aged 12-18 years participating in state, national or international championships:
Philanthropy is alive and well in Australia. Private companies, trusts, foundations, wealthy families and individuals, plus large corporations with a sense of social responsibility are all looking for clubs like yours who are committed to building Australia at a grassroots level.
- The ANZ Community Foundation offers grants to support projects run by charitable organisations for the benefit of local communities. Drop into your local bank to see if they have a community grants program.
- Aurizon offers grants to community groups that provide support in the areas of health and wellbeing, community safety and environment and education.
- Australia Post works with groups that are making a difference by improving community connectedness in their local area.
- Australian Sports Foundation is a registered charity that channels funding from private and corporate donors to clubs that register for its fundraising program.
- The CommBank Staff Foundation aims specifically to assist community groups with youth programs focused on health, education and social inclusion.
- The Community Enterprise Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group.
- Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal provides a broad range of grant programs to benefit the residents of Australia’s rural, regional or remote communities.
- Good2Give allows charitable organisations to be placed on a registry to be matched with corporate donors and sponsors.
- Giving Guide wants to make it easier for donors to find charities they’d like to support.
- Macquarie Sports supports community sport groups and activities, and also offers scholarships.
- The Myer Foundation small grants program provides funding for social disadvantage programs in regional/rural and also suburban/city areas.
- ProBono Australia has a limited grants list that is free and a more extensive list for subscribers, with links to some of the biggest national funders including QBE and AMP.