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3 tips for securing Australian Government grants for your Not for Profit

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Australian charities earned a combined $142.8 billion in 2016. Delving deeper, nearly 45 per cent of this income was generated through government grants, according to the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC). This shows the vital importance of government funding in the sector.

But Australian Government grants for Not for Profit (NFP) organisations are not necessarily easy to secure. Charity groups have to tick numerous boxes to secure funding, including:

  • Proving they are a NFP entity that doesn’t distribute profits to members.
  • Demonstrating that fundraising practices are professionally and ethically managed.
  • Ensuring their grant application is appropriate to their organisation’s goals.

Australian charities earned a combined $142.8 billion in 2016.

Even if a group meets these criteria, applications can still be rejected on the grounds of concerns around the entity’s operations or charitable aims. This means NFPs need to be certain they’ve leveraged the support available to improve their chances of success. Here are three tips to help improve the chances of securing an NFP organisation Australian Government grant.

1) Clearly define the NFP’s intentions and goals

In order to secure an Australian Government or state grant, the body you are applying through needs to know what your organisation is all about and see proof that it operates under a Not for Profit enterprise model. 

It helps to lay out these intentions in a specially-prepared mission statement or project expectations document – this gives the funding body a clear indication about an NFP’s intentions. It’s best to include descriptions of the relevant experience of the organisation, in line with the requirements for applying for the specified grant. For example, demonstrating past work providing free health checkups for the homeless will stand you in good stead if you are applying for a grant in the medical sector. You should also include details on the expected project outcomes and why you are pursuing these aims.

You should also note key staff members who will be making use of the program funds. If the application body isn’t convinced that funding will be used correctly, or that the organisation relies on the grant as a primary and vital source of income, than your application has a lower chance of being accepted.

2) Follow best practice when writing a grant application

You only get one chance at a first impression, so getting the grant application right is vital. There are certain questions that are always asked, including what the organisation represents, what its charitable goals are and what it proposes to do with the funding. This makes the first step above important to clearly defining why an NFP is asking for government support.

Keeping these key requirements in mind, you should draft the application using simple, jargon-free language so anyone outside of your sector of expertise can understand. The more relevant information included in the application about the aims of your project and your KPIs, the higher the chances of success – it shows the organisation is serious about using the grant money wisely.

Nearly half of all charity income is generated through federal and state government grants.

3) Ensure the NFP’s accounts are professionally audited

Supplying relevant financial information on operations and fundraising sources is usually a requirement when applying for an Australian Government grant for NFP organisations. Most groups apply for public funding to support the goals of a specific project, meaning application bodies need to be aware of how an NFP’s financial capacity to deliver the on the outcomes of the grant.

Getting this financial documentation in order isn’t easy – it may require expert auditing which only an external party can provide. Specialists in NFP operations can provide expert financial guidance that helps to clearly define strategic goals.

Additionally, the grant terms often stipulate that NFPs must keep the funding body informed about how and when the money is spent. There will also be limitations on how the grant can be used and expected outcomes for the project. These specific conditions of use make it even more important to source the help of an NFP advisor early on.

Partnering with NFP enterprise experts

Following the above tips will improve your chances of securing an NFP organisation Australian Government grant. But this advice isn’t a catch-all solution – partnering with NFP specialists such as DFK Crosbie offers the highest chance of success. Our business advice team can offer guidance on what NFP grant to apply for and provide audit services to ensure your financial reports are reliable. For more information, reach out to DFK Crosbie today.

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