What is a grant?

A grant is a means of financial assistance given to an individual or organisation to help with things like:

  • assistance in times of hardship
  • study or career development
  • developing community capacity
  • implementing responses to identified needs
  • developing or running a community program
  • funding innovative ideas and initiatives

Grants can be provided by federal, state and local governments, private businesses, trusts, foundations or philanthropic organisations. Grant providers often use an application process where grant seekers fill in a form and attach documents to formally request a grant. Individuals and organisations that seek a grant are called applicants.

Find a grant

Search for grants using online databases, search engines or contacts to help you find out what grants are available. Some other good search sites include:

  • The  Funding Centre - this site is provided by and provides a comprehensive listing of grants from around Australia and internationally. For a small fee you can subscribe to get access to the Funding Centre newsletter and database, or you could ask your local library if they have a subscription you could use.
  • South Australian local councils - a variety of grants are available through local councils. Contact them direct for more information.
  • Australian Government - this federal government directory has information on federal, state and local government funding.

Find a range of possible grants that you might be able to apply for. Download or request copies of the grant guidelines for each program. Think about whether the grant is trying to achieve the same purpose as you.

Some kinds of government money is not considered a grant. If you would like to explore tenders and contracts, please visit

Prepare Your application

Plan your application and discuss it with your group, commettee or partners.

Review your purpose and write it down.

Write a description of your project that covers:

  • The budget and what items you need money for.
  • The activity the grant will be used to support including relevant dates.
  • The beneficiaries and why the project is important.
  • The outcomes of the project for the people involved.

Do some research to gather information to support your application.

Check your eligibility

Are you an individual or an organisation?

Is your organisation not-for-profit and constituted?

Have you described your purpose and regular activities?

Have you reported on any previously completed grants?

Find a phone number and call to discuss or contact the grant staff.

Application Process

The application process is often competitive. To improve your chances of receiving a grant address the guidelines when you write your application. Show how you think the application meets the purpose of the grants program. Apply on time; applications received after the closing date will not be considered. Here are some tips:

  • Read the guidelines carefully and check the closing date
  • Complete the form by answering all questions and organise the information logically.
  • Maybe you can ask somebody else to read your application. Do they understand it?     
  • Call to get assistance if you need it and plan to submit before the closing date.

Assessment Process 

There are usually many applicants for each grant program and grants staff analyse each application thoroughly. Most grant programs give an indication of the time it will take to notify applicants of the outcome of the assessment.

Your application will be assessed against criteria in the guidelines. The following is a list of some of the questions that grants staff might ask:

  • Is the application complete?
  • Is the application eligible?
  • Is the essential documentation provided?
  • Does the applicant’s purpose match the grant purpose?
  • How does the merit of the proposal compare to other proposals?
  • How has the applicant performed in the past?

Finding out the result

If your application is successful, you will probably be asked to sign an agreement. When the agreement is in place the payment can be made.

If your application is not successful, you might be invited to call the grants staff to find out what went wrong. If the application missed out this time but could be improved, ask for feedback about how you could improve it if you should resubmit it or whether you should look somewhere else for a grant.

Reporting on your grant

If your application is successful and you receive a grant, you will be asked to report the activity and how you spend the money. You should keep your receipts. Some grants specify regular financial reporting requirements as well as progress updates; others might be less rigorous.


You might also be required to evaluate your project. Writing a summary of the project outcomes might be required. Depending on the size or nature of your grant, it might be a detailed study. Sometimes the grant provider will use your report to decide whether this kind of project should be funded in the future.


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