If you are involved with community sports, you’ll know that “funding” is the lifeblood of every club.
Player registrations, canteen sales and sponsorship are the essentials that keep most clubs running.
But when it comes to major projects or expenditure, grant funding is usually the best and most reliable source of funding.
Grants vary in size and can be used for a variety of different purposes: like buying equipment, paying member fees and expenses, and even larger structural projects.
If you’re new to grant funding, it can be confusing and even overwhelming to sort through what grant funding your club might qualify for.
How can I get a grant?
There are 2 primary ways to seek and receive grant funding, Formal Processes and Informal Opportunities.
Formal Grant Processes
These are grants that are publicly advertised, usually through a formal, structured application process through a government (or related) body.
Clubs are able to apply directly to these and are not restricted on how many they can apply for. Examples are state or local government grant programs.
Typically these are open to all (subject to the application criteria) and the application process is relatively straightforward, but not necessarily quick.
Generally around 35 – 50% of clubs are successful in receiving funding through this method.
This approach can be slow due to the large volume of applicants, and the decision making process can be opaque.
It can also be very difficult to get feedback on why your grant was not successful.
Informal Grant Opportunities
Members of parliament, local councillors and other politicians can be open to providing funding to sporting clubs.
Their level of interest and commitment will depend on a range of factors, including available budget, government policy or election priorities.
Regardless, it is always worth exploring this avenue as a relatively untapped funding opportunity.
Like all grant “applications”, seeking grant funds through informal channels requires dedicated resources.
Unlike the online application portals of formal grants, securing informal grant funds will usually involve meeting with your local member, presenting your proposed project and lobbying other decision makers.
The level of government to approach will depend on the size of your funding requirements.
Small to medium projects can be funded by council and state budgets, while the federal government can assist with larger budget programs; again subject to the budget and policy priorities of who you are approaching.
Where can I find these grants?
Apart from directly approaching local politicians, there are several useful places to look for open or upcoming grants.
Australian Sports Commission – Made up of Sport Australia and Australian Institute of Sport, the ASC is the Australia Government’s sport agency. There are several grants available from this organisation, as well as a free fundraising raffle that clubs can use. Grants for clubs are currently closed, but keep an eye for when they are offered again.
Australian Sports Foundation – This organisation offers a platform for clubs to fundraise themselves. For eligible clubs, ASF provide resources like donation trackers and a personal fundraising page, as well as opportunities with partner organisations.
Queensland Government - The Queensland government has an online portal on their website from which you can browse and check your eligibility for grants. Individual grants for children and athletes such as the FairPlay voucher program and the Emerging Athlete Pathways are also available on their website. Many clubs encourage their members to apply for these directly.
Department of Justice – The Gambling Community Benefit Fund, provided by the Queensland government’s Department of Justice, has been applied for successfully by many sporting clubs and is one of the largest and fastest acting grant programs. This program also holds 5 rounds a year, giving clubs even more opportunity to apply.
Brisbane City Council – The BCC provides many community grants, but has since been readjusted due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, grants like the Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program and Building Stronger Communities Grant are set to return in 2021.
Other city councils – If you don’t live in the Brisbane City area, other local Queensland councils provide funding and grants to sporting clubs in their region such as Townsville, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Sunny Coast, Goondiwindi and many more. These range from small grants of $250 to up to $30,000 for larger scale projects.
New South Wales - The New South Wales government has several grants now open for applicants. The main grants available are the Local Sport Defibrillator program, and separate facility funds for metropolitan and regional sports. Surf clubs also get their own facility grant program. Football NSW also offers several grants.
Victoria - The Victorian Government is offering a Community Sports Infrastructure Loans Scheme. Also available are the Aboriginal Sport Participation Grant Program, which provides funding to facilitate participation for Aboriginal Victorians, and the Significant Sporting Events Program which offers $20,000 - $150,000 to assist with putting on events.
Western Australia - Western Australia offers a plethora of grant applications for community clubs. This includes the Active Regional Communities Grant (up to $5,000 for training, running of programs and equipment), Coach and Official Education Subsidy (up to $1,000 for travel costs associated with volunteer training), Country Sport Enrichment Scheme (up to $30,000 to host large sporting events), Every Club Grant Scheme (up to $40,000 for regional clubs and $40,000 for metropolitan to develop their organisation), and much more.
Tasmania - Currently the Tasmanian government has limited grants available, but it's worthwhile staying updated for when others get released. Currently being offered is up to $40,000 worth of funding to facilitate "international sport championship" events as part of the National/International Sport Championship Program. The Sporting Competition Access Fund is also available to help disabled athletes enter competitions.
Stay tuned for more articles on grant funding in our Knowledge Centre.