If you’re seeking funding from Australian philanthropic trusts and foundations, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Establish your charitable status
- Before you can seek funding, you must ensure your organisation has the relevant charitable endorsement from the Australian Taxation Office
- Shortlist relevant foundations
- Make a shortlist of foundations that may be able to fund your project. The Directory of Funders lists over 300 grant-making organisations
- Obtain guidelines
- Check out the foundations’ websites for their most current set of guideline.
- Submit your application
- Apply to each organisation individually, being sure to follow their guidelines. It may be of benefit to call the organisation to discuss your application when you have a final draft.
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Foundations have different legal limitations depending upon their legal structure and trust deed. As a general guideline, foundations are only permitted to fund organisations that have one or both of the following charitable endorsements from the ATO:
- Endorsement as a Deductible Gift Recipient
- Endorsement as an income tax exempt charitable entity OR notice of endorsement for charity tax concessions
It is important to note that you cannot expect to source all, or even a large percentage, of your funding from philanthropic trusts and foundations. Most charitable organisations can expect less than 10% of their funding to come from the philanthropic sector. There are many other ways to ensure your organisation's financial viability, including:
- How to Guide: Effective Grant-Seeking
- Grant Finder: An Australian Government service, Grant Finder helps you locate the grants and assistance programmes most relevant to you.
- Grant Connect: Australian Government grant opportunities and grants awarded.
- Strategic Grants – GEM Local finds only the grants that match your organisation’s activities and local area, lists them by closing date so you can plan ahead, and allows you to record application details all in one place, ensuring an enduring record of your organisation’s grants activity. This subscription based service costs of $480pa.
Philanthropy Australia members receive a 10% discount. Obtain your PA Discount Code from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Our Community: Australia's Centre for Excellence for the nation's 600,000 not-for-profits & schools, providing advice, tools and resources.
- Funding Centre: There are questions that you’ll be asked pretty much every time you write a grant application. Get good at answering those questions and you’ll get more successful at grant-seeking.
- Community Council of Australia: The Community Council for Australia is an independent non-political member based organisation dedicated to building flourishing communities by enhancing the extraordinary work undertaken by the charities and not-for-profit sector in Australia.
- Australian Sports Foundation's Fundraising Toolkit: Templates and step-by-step instructions on preparing your grassroots sports fundraising plan.
Seeking funding for your business
For-profit businesses are generally not able to access philanthropic funding, as philanthropic trusts and foundations are limited by law to fund only charitable projects. If you are seeking funding for a for-profit enterprise we recommend pursuing government grants and assistance schemes. BusiGrants is a particularly useful resource.
Seeking funding for yourself or others
Australian philanthropic trusts and foundations are limited by law to fund only charitable organisations and cannot legally make grants to individuals.
Although most philanthropic funding available for individuals is in the form of scholarships, fellowships, research grants or travel grants, more and more crowd-funding sources are also available.
If you are looking for funding to assist with personal costs such as payment of household bills, compassionate funding or emergency funds, you should seek assistance from a charity.
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