Community Group Resources
This page summarises some tips, tricks and links containing valuable information to help grant-seeking organisations in rural, regional and remote communities to achieve their goals and understand the intricacies of the philanthropic landscape!
Tips for community groups are published in our monthly eNews. You can subscribe to make sure you receive them directly each month. There are also examples on our YouTube channel of how groups have tackled their community challenges.
Philanthropy and not-for-profit issues
What is philanthropy?
Philanthropy is giving (by individuals, families and businesses) with no expectation of return.
Often referred to as a donation of “time, talent or treasure”, philanthropy is present in all rural and regional communities through fundraising and volunteering.
In Australia, philanthropy operates through a legal entity such as a Trust or Foundation such as FRRR.
These organisations allow for gifts of money or other forms of assistance to be provided to people in need and to serve the common good.
What is a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation?
An organisation is not-for-profit if its activities are not carried out for the profit or gain of its individual members.
What is a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR)?
A Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) is an organisation which can receive income tax deductible gifts and deductible contributions. It is a specific tax status given to an organisation by the Australian Taxation Office.
Many of Australia’s Trusts and Foundations require applicants to have DGR status. FRRR has a specific listing in the Tax Act that allows it to grant directly to community based NFP groups without any specific tax status.
What is a Tax Concession Charity (TCC)?
A Tax Concession Charity (TCC) is an institution or fund established and operated for altruistic purposes that the law regards as charitable. Several of Australia’s Trusts and Foundations can fund organisations with TCC status.
If you are an organisation that the law regards as charitable, you can apply to the Australian Tax Office for TCC status. This will increase the organisation's capacity to attract other philanthropic grants and may provide additional income tax benefits.*
Many community groups in rural and regional Australia are eligible to apply for TCC status, including the following:
- Halls provided for public use
- Historical Societies
- Agricultural Show Societies
- Community Information and Referral Services
- Arts Societies
- Not-for-profit child care centres and kindergartens
- Community radio stations and newsletters
The approval of TCC status is at the discretion of the ATO and independent advice must be sought before applying. For up-to-date information on TCC status, visit the ATOs website.
*Please note: This advice is for information purposes only.
Is my organisation a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) or Tax Concession Charity (TCC)?
Taxation status information is recorded by the Australian Taxation Office at the Australian Business Register.
If you are unsure of the legal status of your organisation, please include your ABN or Incorporation Number with your application form and FRRR will be able to identify your status as part of the assessment process.
FRRR Not-for-Profit Fundraising Accounts
By partnering with FRRR via a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account, community organisations can leverage FRRR’s special tax status to fundraise tax effectively and access philanthropic support for their overall capacity (only if a charitable organisation) and / or agreed specified projects, in line with FRRR’s charitable purposes. All donations made via FRRR are tax deductible. Visit the Fundraise page for more information.
Funding options beyond grants: Webinar Series
FRRR teamed up with Our Community to host three webinars specifically designed to help rural, regional and remote community groups access more funding.
In a panel discussion format, these webinars aim to demystify some of the funding options beyond grants, and to share knowledge and practical tools to help you get started. These sessions build on the Seeking Funding - how to access the funding to turn your project into a reality webinar, run in 2014, as well as other resources like the tips from Ann Bichel on successfully seeking funding.
The three topics are:
1. Planned Giving and Bequests
Natalie Egleton, CEO FRRR, Patrick Moriarty, Director of Training and Development Our Community, and special guest Wendy Brooks, MD and Founder of Wendy Brooks Consulting discussed what is planned giving, how do you organise it, and how do you manage it? You can also download the presentation for future reference. Other resources available include: Nine Steps to Successful Bequest Programs and Wendy Brooks' Gifts in Wills Fundraising Strategy. WATCH the recording of webinar 1.
2. Sponsorships 101
This second webinar focused on 'What are the different sponsorship options in rural and regional Australia and how do you prepare a business case to bring in funding, then manage these important relationships?' FRRR's CEO Natalie Egleton was joined by Patrick Moriarty from Our Community and Wendy Brooks, MD and Founder of Wendy Brooks Consulting. The presentation is available to download here. Other resources available include: Sponsorship Checklist and Sponsorship Letter Template. Watch the recording of webinar 2.
3. Crowdfunding 101
Crowdfunding is a great way for community organisations to raise much-needed funds. It is the practice of raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. Natalie Egleton, CEO FRRR, and Patrick Moriarty, Director of Training and Development Our Community, were joined by special guest Bron Belcher, Community & Partnerships Manager with Pozible. Pozible is an online crowdsourcing tool. It provides the platform for project creators to present their ideas to a connected audience, worldwide. Around 10,900 projects have raised more than $45m in crowdsourcing pledges on the Pozible site.
Together they explored what is crowdfunding, why your organisation would do it and how to go about it. Click here to download the presentation from our website. You can also view or download Pozible's Crowdfunding Handbook (8MB). WATCH the recording of Webinar 3.
Accessing tax deductible donations for community organisations
Do you know that all taxpayers can make tax deductible gifts or donations to organisations with deductible gift recipient (DGR) status, and keep the receipts to claim back from the ATO on their tax bills as a deduction?
This is a major incentive for giving, as donors to these groups are effectively directing where their tax money is going! Having DGR status greatly assists groups to fundraise by receiving donations from businesses and individuals in their community, and to access philanthropic funds, as Trusts and Foundations often require grantseekers to have DGR status.
FRRR Accounts are a simple way you can leverage FRRR's DGR status to assist you in achieving your fundraising goals. The ATO has approved the use of Not-for-Profit Fundraising Accounts by specific, named DGR groups, and FRRR is one of these!
FRRR operates that allow your community group to partner with FRRR to raise funds for specific projects or activities to address a community need. For example your community hall may need renovating; or there may be a number of environmental issues which need addressing - if these projects are initiated, coordinated and conducted by a not-for-profit community group, an FRRR can assist in the process by providing tax deductible status.
For more information call our office on 1800 170 020.
Another group that is able to help communities fundraise is the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF). The ASF program enables tax deductible donations in support of a sport-related project – an area not normally considered charitable for philanthropic funders.
The ASF works with sporting clubs, sporting organisations (regional, state and national), government and independent schools, councils, government agencies and community groups to increase opportunities for Australians to participate in sport, and/or excel in sports performance. You can find out more from their website.
Giving Australia 2016 – Statistics on Giving
The Department of Social Services funded a research project to better understand how and why Australians give and volunteer, how much they donate and how these factors affect our non-profit and philanthropy sector. The largest ever project of its kind, the research examined the giving behaviours of both individuals and business, with the intent of forming a strong evidence base to guide future policy related to charitable enterprise in Australia. FRRR supported the project, hosting round-tables and contributing our experience of philanthropy in rural, regional and remote Australia. The following fact sheets were released in December 2016:
Grant-related Resources & FAQ's
FRRR has created a series of four animated clips that give advice on how to successfully raise funds via grants. The four clips cover: Planning your project; Developing a budget;Writing your application; and Implementing your project.
The Gardiner Foundation has developed a fantastic community resource to help communities plan for the future, win grants, and manage and resource projects. While it was developed with dairy communities in mind, the Strengthening Small Dairy Communities Toolkit easily has wider applications and would be an effective project planning resource for any community group.
We've also developed this handy Insights and Tips on the Four Grant-seeker Stages.
All FRRR grant programs have set opening and closing dates and each grant program has its own specific criteria and guidelines. Some programs have their own specific application forms, however FRRR is currently transitioning to an online grants administration system which will remove the need for application forms to be downloaded.
For more information on the online application process, please read the following documents:
There is a formal application process and ALL applicants MUST complete the respective application form / Grants Gateway online form, as well as provide copies of any additional information requested in the relevant program guidelines.
Note also that there are specific guidelines and requirements about who has to sign and submit the application form, so please read those documents carefully.
Please consult the individual grant pages for specific information and supporting documents.
|Getting started|| |
Chances are that when your group applies for a grant from FRRR or any other funding body, you will be asked how you plan to measure your project’s success. Here are some tips on some of the simple but effective methods of measuring the success of your project:
- Clearly identify what you want to achieve/ change and ensure there is broad support for this aspiration from those to benefit and be involved.
- Consider and identify what the Inputs, Outputs and Outcomes will be:
- Inputs are the things that will go into the project to make it happen: money, people/skills, time, equipment etc.
- Outputs are the things that happen or are done as a result of the inputs: a course run with 10 participants, 50 volunteers plant 500 trees, website created, etc.
- Outcomes are the things that improved or changed as a result of the project - these link back to your goals and objectives: participants more confident in the use of computers, increased level of community participation in volunteering, local businesses reported an increase in revenue during a festival or shop-local campaign.
- Record and track your project’s inputs, outputs and outcomes. It is best to determine how you are going to do this before starting your project so that you can collect information as you go and save time in the long run. Some ways of recording and tracking your project’s success include:
- Recording quantifiable results, e.g. number of participants, trees planted, cakes baked, etc.
- Feedback questionnaires and interviews gather information about the impact of a project straight from those it intended to benefit.
- Photographs are a great way to tell your project’s story and are a powerful means of tracking a project over time, especially where there is physical change such as a plant-out or building restoration. Tip: make sure they are digital and of high enough quality to be printed.
- Before and after surveys with participants and stakeholders – enabling a comparison of change.
Getting media coverage
Is your project in need of some media love and attention? FRRR has developed a media tip sheet that community groups and organisations can reference when developing media releases.
Taking better photos
It’s an old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s true too – but only if it’s a good photo.
Photos will help potential funders understand your situation – what you are trying to fix or improve – and they are also invaluable in showing donors what you did with the funding. But not everyone knows how to take a good photo.
We’ve collated a number of tips that will help you take better photos.
Resources for Community Groups
Working with children requirements
Does your community group work with children? FRRR requires all grant applicants who are working with children and youth to have policies and procedures around working with children and handling of child abuse complaints.
If this is something that your community group needs to develop, the Child Protection Toolkitcreated by Moores and Our Community helps not-for-profit organisations ensure compliance with the complex web of legislation in this area. The Toolkit sets out practical advice to help organisations across Australia meet their child protection obligations and ensure their environment is a safe place for children.
Another great resource that we’ve come across that is particularly relevant for sport and recreation clubs and associations is offered by Play by the Rules, and includes Free online courses in child protection, harassment and discrimination, complaint handling and member protection.
Building leadership and capacity in community organisations
FRRR's Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) program has developed training and development materials and resources to increase confidence and skills to take on leadership roles and respond to future change. The tools are based around five themes and feature free webinars and online video case studies so community groups can learn from real life examples.
The five themes are:
1. Good ideas. Good people. Now what?
In a webinar facilitated by Alexandra Gartmann, Loretta Carroll, Chairman of Into Our Hands Foundation discussed how her group got started. You can also read through the recap and download the presentation and speaking notes.
WATCH: The Newstead community in Victoria held a community summit in 2008 to talk about local issues and their future vision for Newstead. Working groups were formed and they have since delivered a raft of community projects that benefit their local area. Read more here.
2. Seeking Funding - how to access the funding to turn your project into reality
Patrick Moriarty, Director of Training and Development at Our Community, and Fleur Anderson from Theodore, in Queensland, shared their secrets to obtaining funding. You can read through the recap.
WATCH: Ann Bichel, 2013 Community Philanthropist of the Year, has raised more than $1.5 million through grants to support her local community. Ann shares her tips for success in this short video.
WATCH a series of animated clips for advice on how to successfully raise funds via grants. The four clips cover: Planning your project; Developing a budget;Writing your application; and Implementing your project.
3. Maintaining Momentum - working with change and planning ahead
Ian McClelland, Founder, Birchip Cropping Group and Kerry Anderson, Projects Manager at Community Leadership Loddon Murray shared their insights and tactics to help community groups continue to build capacity by focusing on their spheres of influence. You can read a recap here.
WATCH: The Cummins and District Enterprise Committee was established in 1997 following the closure of a number of local businesses. This CIRCLE video showcases how this organisation is the driving force behind Cummins maintaining its momentum and staying on track. Read more here.
4. Building the Skilled Leadership Group - utilising local skills
Andrew Huffer, drew on findings from FRRR’s recent environmental scan and with Katrina Baddeley, Executive Officer, Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs (VRCLP), discussed how groups can implement lasting positive leadership outcomes. There is a recap of the webinar and the presentation is available to download.
WATCH The Red Earth Community Leadership program: This video tells the story of how a rural community devastated by drought and two enormous floods created a tailored leadership program. They share the building blocks they used to create an effective local program.
5. Governance, Compliance and Continuous Improvement - best practice for Community Foundations
Alexandra Gartmann and Alice Macdougall, Legal Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills, discussed the role that Community Foundations and Donation Accounts can play in helping rural, regional and remote communities. You can also download the presentation slides.
WATCH Community Foundations 101: Seven videos that investigate what a community foundation is, how they are structured, legal considerations and possible funding alternatives, as well as some tips on getting started. Hear from guests Georgie McKay from Stand Like Stone Foundation, Pat Claridge, from Tomorrow:Today Foundation, Dr Gill Sellar from Denmark Community Foundation and Robyn Hill from the Marysville and Triangle Community about their experiences building a successful community foundation.
WATCH a series of films about Community Foundations, produced by the Victorian Government. The eight films cover the full range of issues, from formation to structure and legals, fund-raising and granting.
The Board members of any charity have ultimate responsibility for running the organisation. They bring a breadth of experience and special knowledge concerning the mission and values of an organisation.
This means they can provide strategic direction, maintain governance structures and monitor the organisation's performance. Australia’s charity regulator, the has produced a list of top ten tips for effective board members as part of its Governance for Good publication, released in 2013.
If you or someone you know are looking for a refresher, we recommend you take a look.
Understanding your group's financials
If you are a member of a Committee of Management, chances are you are presented with profit and loss statements, cash flow statements and forecasts and budgets.
Reading, understanding and being able to act on the information in these documents is a core responsibility of Committees, but for many they can be confusing and a little daunting.
Understanding what these reports are telling you could be the difference between your group thriving or struggling. Being able to provide the correct information and having the capacity to talk to it could also make a difference to your group’s success in receiving grants from Trusts and Foundations.
We are pleased to provide some tips and information that is available to help your community group to build capacity in financial literacy:
- Start with the Understanding Business Planning article on the Our Community site.
- A number of banks also produce publications, information and tools as well as offer education seminars and workshops which customers can use to assist them in making financial decisions.
- Developed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) - provides professional and personal learning programs and resources for teaching and learning. It also has resources to assist parents to provide their children with good consumer and financial education from an early age.
- Matrix on Board provides training to non-profit community organisations in Understanding Financial Reports.
Volunteers are vital to any community organisation but managing volunteers takes some effort. We therefore wanted to highlight some resources to assist community groups in ensuring this vital task is achieved.
has a broad range of best practice publications - ranging from National Standards for volunteer involvement (developed in consultation with the sector) through to short and sharp documents with practical guidance and advice on involving volunteers.
Making art with communities
If your community group works in the arts, then you should download Making Art with Communities: A Work Guide. Developed by Creative Victoria, VicHealth and Victorian community arts network, Castanet, it contains a wealth of information to help you develop stronger projects and funding applications.
The Guide provides a detailed step-by-step guide to delivering successful community arts projects. Providing expert, practical advice for communities and artists, it contains checklists and templates you can use to guide your own projects, as well as relevant website links and resource documents for you to find out more.
The Guide also profiles case studies of successful community projects, as well as provides insights into the history and philosophies that underpin community-based arts practice. Check out the practical and inspirational ideas for both newcomers and those more experienced in community arts!
- Justice Connect provides a wealth of information on all matters relating to the establishment, management and governance of community organisations. All this information can be found at their website.
- Our Community provides advice, connections, training and easy-to-use tech tools for people and organisations working to build stronger communities.
- Community Grants Hub lists all community grants available through various government agencies, and manages them in a streamlined process through the Hub.
If you have read this information and are still unsure of something, then we are more than happy to answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to contact the FRRR office on free call 1800 170 020.