How to apply for a Grant
The following section contains useful information that should be read prior to a grant application being submitted to ensure the correct process is followed and to maximise your chances of success.
Planning Grant Applications
Where do you start?
Grants are a long term funding solution for building projects, equipment purchases or activities to support the delivery of Scout Programs. Applying for a grant is a competitive process and requires a great deal of planning and there are a number of things that you can do to improve your chances of securing funding. Before you start an application, ask yourselves the following simple questions:
What do we want to do?
Why do we want to do it?
What do we expect to achieve?
How much will it cost?
How much do we want and from whom?
What will we contribute ourselves?
Who will be doing what?
How long will it take and when will we need to start?
Who do we need to consult?
Do I have the support of the District and Region?
What to do before you apply?
Decide what you want to do and have a clear plan. This will assist you in clearly stating what it is you require and why, identifying the benefits to the Group and the Community.
Speak to your District and Region Commissioners to discuss your plans to ensure your activities do not conflict with others in the Region and may even support other group’s activities in which case a joint application may carry more weight.
Check the status of your Group. Ensure that you have no outstanding debts to Branch (excl. those debts being managed through a repayment plan) and that Financial Returns and Property Returns for the current year have been completed and processed prior to submitting a grant application.
Check your Group has no outstanding Grants that have not been acquitted which could restrict you from applying for a new grant and you may be prohibited from applying to some grants where you have previously been unsuccessful.
If your project involves a facility upgrade valued in excess of $3,000 you must first complete the F14 Part A Building Approval Form. The information requested in the form will support any grant application in requesting lessor approval, competitive quotes and a fully costed project. Contact the Facilities Team for advice on the process to ensure all the appropriate documentation is in place prior to applying for a grant.
Consider the implications on your maintenance and insurance costs. Any premises improvements or new purchases will increase the value of your assets and therefore should be reflected in your property returns and insurance premiums.
Identify possible sources of funding, check Government websites, local community newspapers and magazines for advertised grants.
Other Considerations - Maintenance and Insurance
It is easy to get carried away by the prospect of a new storage shed, a fleet of new kayaks or a building upgrade but take a moment during your planning to consider the long term financial consequences of any new purchases or upgrades.
New buildings come with increased maintenance and upkeep and any improvements or new purchases will increase the value of your assets and therefore need to be reflected in your property returns and insurance premiums. If you are under-insured you will not receive the full value of your property in the event of loss or damage.
Good project planning and long term financial planning with ensure you and subsequent Group Leaders are not burdened with unexpected expenses.
Before commencing a project or applying for a grant ask: do we have approval?
Property Owner approval – projects relating to properties and facilities need to approval of the owner. Freehold properties require approval from Scouts Queensland and leased properties will require approval from the lessor. In may cases these are Councils and Government Departments who will have their own approval processes that must be followed. Lessor approval for works must be sought before apply for grant funding.
Group Leader – Projects may be run by a Group Committee or an Adult Volunteer, but always ensure that the Group Leader is aware of, and supports, the project and the grant funding application.
District and Region Commissioners – Every Scout Group is part of a District and a Region. It is a requirement of the Queensland Branch Standing Instructions that District and Region Commissioners are aware of, and confirm their support, for projects and their related grant applications.
Scouts Queensland Facilities Team – For building and facilities projects contact the Scouts Queensland Facilities Team. A building works approval form (F14) must be completed and approved prior to commencing a project or grant application.
Chief Commissioner – based on confirmation from the District and Region Commissioner, the Chief Commissioner as the Accountable Officer approves all grant applications prior to submission. As a grant is a legal agreement between two parties, only the Chief Commissioner and General Manager are authorised to enter into such agreements and therefore only they can approve a grant submission, no matter what the value.
How do the Funds Prioritise?
Funding Organisations have to prioritise an overwhelming number of applications for grant funding. The following is advice provided by the Government as best practice on how they determine which applications should be the recipients of grant funding:
Value for Money Test:
Does your proposal represent efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of public money?
Does your application meet the grant assessment criteria and does it demonstrate the greatest merit?
Does your application involve a reasonable (not excessive) cost having regard to the quality and quantity of deliverables that are proposed?
Does your application contain a risk profile, with any identifiable risks able to be effectively and efficiently managed?
Focus on Outcomes:
Have you clearly demonstrated the expected outcomes which would result from the funding?
Does your application result in the Funding Organisation meeting its own performance targets?
Target the Funds Objectives
Grant bodies are looking to fund organisations that help them deliver their stated objectives and priority will be given to applicants who clearly state how the expected outcomes of their project will meet these targets.
The Queensland Government Strategy that most closely aligns with the Scout Movement is the Queensland Youth Strategy with areas of connection relating to Health and Well Being and Volunteering and Participation. Consider including the following extracts in future applications:
The Scouting program supports Queensland Government in its commitment, set out in the Queensland Youth Strategy, to provide young Queenslanders with the connections and support they need to reach their potential, to be capable and resilient, to take responsibility for their actions, to look after themselves and those around them, and to enjoy happy, healthy and productive lives.
By providing financial support to local Scout Groups they will be able to continue to deliver programs that help girls and boys become the principal agents of their development as committed, responsible, self-reliant and supportive persons.
‘Cost your project carefully, paying proper attention to overheads and contingencies. Otherwise, you risk seeing the grant money flow the wrong way’
Steps to Writing a Successful Application
Find grant programs that ‘FIT’ – Take time to understand the Fund Providers own Vision and Policies, the money is made available to serve a purpose — you will need to demonstrate how your project will deliver their objectives and read the guidelines carefully.
Define your Project.
Target the Audience.
Demonstrate the Need.
Provide supporting Data.
Write to the Criteria, use the Funds own Language.
Write ‘SMART’ specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
Identify possible Partnerships and Collaborations – canvass local community and political support for your project.
Sustainability, demonstrate ability to continue after the funding.
Budget should be Reasonable, Realistic and Relevant.
Presentation should be clear and concise, avoid jargon and ensure grammar and spelling are correct.
Do's and Don'ts
Don’t start by saying ‘We need money’!
Do start with a project that you need to deliver for the benefit of the community.
Don’t be too emotional with plea’s for funding or suggest that the Group is struggling.
Do communicate a genuine need and emphasis the solution rather than the problem.
Don’t waste time applying for grants where your Group or your project does not meet the Fund guidelines.
Do follow the guidelines and align your application to the Funds objectives, state how your project will help deliver their mission.
Don’t provide unnecessary attachments and lengthy explanations.
Do keep it brief, informative and concise. The Assessor will be reviewing a lot of applications so make it easy for them to prioritise your application.
If in doubt ask, contact the Grant Fund Support Team, they are always happy to answer your questions as they would rather receive good quality, relevant applications.
‘Grant applications require 80% Planning & Consultation and 20% Writing’
It can take up to 5 months to receive notification on whether your grant application has been successful.
If you are unsuccessful then you will need to rethink your project or seek alternative forms of funding. It is worth contacting the Grant Provider to ask why you were unsuccessful as this could provide helpful feedback for future applications.
A letter will be sent to the Branch Support Office advising whether applications have been successful. You may hear direct from your local MP or the grant body, if so, please let the Branch Support Office know in order for the necessary financial arrangements to be made.
You will receive a letter from the Branch Support Office setting out the value and the terms of the grant you have been awarded. There may be a Grant Deed or Contract to administer in which case you will not receive the funds until the legal documentation has been checked and authorised which can take a few weeks.
You will also receive a copy of the award letter and you must make careful note of the following:
The value of the grant you have been awarded. You may receive the exact value set out in your application or you may be awarded less if funds were limited. You will not be permitted to overspend on a grant so any expenditure over the value of the grant must be paid for by the Group.
What the funds have been awarded for. The grant money may only be spent on the project or items set out in the original application and the award letter. The grant provider will ask for evidence of expenditure, either from copies of tax invoices, formal reports or evidence in press releases, photographs, acknowledgements etc.
The deadline by which the funds should be spent.
The acquittal requirements. When grant funding is received we are entering into a legal agreement with the grant provider and in order to close this legal agreement you are required to adhere to their acquittal requirements. If the acquittal is not completed then the recipient could be liable to return all the grant funds.
‘$1 of Government funding = $10 delivered by Community Groups’
Managing the Funds
When a grant agreement is entered into the Branch Support Office will receive the funds directly into the Branch Bank Account. Grant funding is awarded with GST and Scouts Queensland is registered for GST and is responsible for remitting the GST component of any grant funding to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) through the Business Activity Statement (BAS).
The remaining funds (excluding GST) are allocated to a unique account for the specific purpose of the individual grant and a grant code will be created. As tax invoices are received to be paid from grant accounts, the Branch Support Office pay the full value of the invoice to the Supplier / Contractor but only the GST exclusive amount is taken from the Formations grant account, the Branch Support Office then claim the GST back from the Tax Office to cover the full cost of the invoice.
Successful applications for facility upgrade projects that have received ‘Approval in Principle’ will now need to complete F14 part B which will be submitted to the Branch Executive Committee for approval. Only once the Branch Executive has approved the F14 part B, can any funds be expended form the grant account.
Please note, when appointing Contractors, contracts are binding only if signed by the General Manager of The Association (Guidance in relation to entering into building contracts with suppliers can be found in QBSI 1.1.6).
Placing orders and paying invoices
Purchase orders are available on request from the Grants Officer, please provide a quotation containing the supplier and order details.
Check whether the supplier is registered for GST as this could affect the value of your grant fund. If a supplier is not registered for GST then the tax can not be reclaimed and therefore the full value of the invoice has to be paid from the grant account.
Please send all requests for payment against the grant to the Grants Officer, with the supplier tax invoice. Where the Group has paid for goods or services direct, the original tax invoice must be submitted for the Group to be reimbursed.
The preferred method of payment is by direct deposit to the contractor/suppliers own bank account, so please provide the correct BSB and bank account details. When requesting tax invoices, please ask the supplier to make the invoices out as follows:
‘The Scout Association of Australia, Queensland Branch Inc.’
32 Dixon Street
AUCHENFLOWER QLD 4066
The name of your Group and the address.
Changes to Grant Agreements
Failure to spend the allocated funds within the allocated time period could cause the Grant Agreement to close and any funds needed to complete the project will need to be raised by the Group. If, in advance of the deadline, you think that you will be unable to complete the project by the completion date, please notify the Grants Officer in writing and request an extension of time sufficient to complete the project.
The grant must be used for the purpose for which it has been approved, items not approved are not funded and cannot be purchased with grant funds so if you purchase items not listed in your application, your Group will be required to refund all or part of the grant. Purchases are only valid if they are made after the date on which the grant was awarded.
Say ‘Thank You’
Write letters of thanks, celebrate the achievement with your volunteers and recognise the contribution and the outcomes resulting from the financial support in press releases, newsletters and on websites.
When you receive grant funding, we are effectively entering into a contract with the Grant Fund. In some cases Grant Deeds or Funding Agreement documents are submitted which set out the terms and condition of the funding which must be formally approved through the Executive Committee. In other cases, by claiming the funds or by accepting the funds we are considered to be entering into an agreement with the Funding Organisation to abide by the conditions of the Grant Fund.
The acquittal of a grant is the way in which a Funding Organisation wish to receive certification from the recipient that the funds have been spent in the way in which they were intended. This could be in the form of:
Completion of an acquittal form
Provision of tax invoices as evidence of expenditure
Acknowledgements to the Fund for their contribution
Samples of publicity
Progress reports (milestone reports)
When you are successful in a grant application please take care to familiarise yourself with the acquittal requirements of the grant as you may be required to provide specific evidence which you will need to collect for the duration of the project. If a grant is not properly acquitted in a timely and accurate manner, you risk losing the funding or jeopardising any future funding for your Group or the Association.
Grant Audits and Quality Assurance Checks
The Department of Justice and Attorney-General conduct random Quality Assurance Checks of grants awarded to Queensland Scout Groups. The checks involve a review of the grant documentation and a site visit to view the work completed. The desired result is satisfactory compliance with the funding guidelines and no irregularities identified.
The fact that these checks are carried out highlights the need for vigilance when applying for, spending and acquitting grant funds.
The Audits require evidence of the following:
Authority and eligibility to submit an application.
Items requested not purchased prior to notification of funding.
Lease agreement, landowners consent and building approvals.
Documents and payments prepared on commercial terms.
Changes to the grant agreement made in writing.
Completion, proof of purchases, tax invoices and receipts.
Grant spent only on approved items, quantities, values and within the approved time-frame.