Writing great applications

Writing funding applications from scratch is not an easy task and sometimes even the simplest application form can take a long time to complete if you haven’t thought about things properly.

To help you through the application process we have developed a simple three-step planning process and our project planning tool to help you be more successful in completing your application. We also recommend that you collate some standard information about your organisation, so it's always to hand. This template from Our Community is a useful guide to the information to have to hand, so you are always ready to apply for a grant.

Step 1 - Think about your project

Think carefully about the project and ask yourself - Why are you applying?

  • Are you looking to fulfill a need, solve a problem, or create an outcome?
  • Call a community meeting to brainstorm the project concept.
  • Talk to your local Council and other community groups.
  • Find other groups who may be doing this already or who want to work with you on this project.

Step 2 - Plan out your project

Begin to plan your project by thinking about six key questions, which are expanded upon in the project planning tool:

  • What?
  • Why?
  • Who?
  • How?
  • When?
  • How much?

Step 3 - Write about your project

Once you have thought about your project and your plan, you will need to write a project outline.

  • Use the project planning tool to track your answers.
  • Arrange for several other people to review the draft and make suggestions before finalising the application.

The project planning tool was very useful during the grant application process. It raised questions about what can be done to increase community involvement, like what we need to do, who should be involved, what issues are we trying to solve/improve, or what tasks can we give individuals. 

Margaret Furguson
Treasurer - Putty Community Association

Things you SHOULD do

  • Follow all application instructions.
  • Read the project guidelines carefully to make sure your project meets the relevant funding criteria.
  • Document the need the project addresses or the problem that needs fixing.
  • Avoid using subjective, negative words like may, could, or if. Instead use positive, action orientated words like will or can in your application.
  • Use language describing an investment in the community, rather than the expectation of a gift.
  • Highlight the positive benefits from the project, such as potential media coverage, sponsor recognition on signage or brochures.
  • Keep your application short and sweet.
  • Provide realistic and achievable timeframes.
  • Check your budget adds up correctly - the total figure for expenditure must equal the total figure for income.
  • List other sources of funding for your project and if that funding is confirmed or not.
  • Read our frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) even if you don’t think you have any questions – you might learn something new or gain a new insight into how best to apply.

Things you SHOULD NOT do

  • Don’t assume your right to funding.
  • Don’t use subjective or emotive language, just try to deal with the facts.
  • Don’t dwell on the problems; try to provide a solution or an opportunity.
  • Don’t use the wrong application form.

If you are in doubt about anything, contact the relevant Program Manager.

Related links

As part of the Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) program, FRRR has developed a suite of four short animated clips aimed at helping Australian rural, regional and remote community groups to submit a compelling grant application and then effectively manage the grant. Click on each box to watch the videos.


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