How to seek funding

Recommended steps to help charities and not-for-profit organisations find funding from Australian philanthropic trusts and foundations.

To get funding from philanthropic organisations, you need to establish your charitable status with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Generally, individuals and businesses cannot apply for philanthropic funding, but there are other ways to get support.

For charities and not-for-profit organisations

Charities and not-for-profit organisations can seek funding from Australian philanthropic trusts and foundations. We recommend following these steps.

1 Establish your charitable status

Before you can apply for funding from philanthropic organisations, your organisation must have the relevant charitable endorsement from the ATO.

Some philanthropic organisations – such as foundations – have different legal limitations depending upon their legal structure and trust deed. As a general guideline, foundations can only fund organisations that have one or both of these charitable endorsements from the ATO:

  • Endorsement as a deductible gift recipient (DGR)
  • Endorsement as an income tax-exempt charitable entity, or notice of endorsement for charity tax concessions.

To learn more about these endorsements, see Setting up a charity.

2 Find relevant grantmaking organisations

Make a shortlist of organisations that may be able to fund your project.

Other useful resources

  • PafGUIDE® is an online database of every private ancillary fund (PAF) and public ancillary fund (PuAF) in Australia. It provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on all PAFs and PuAFs. Subscriptions are available to Australian not-for-profit organisations. Visit PafGUIDE.
  • GrantConnect is a free Australian Government service. It is a centralised publication of forecast and current Australian Government grant opportunities and grants awarded. Visit ​Grant Connect.
  • GEM Local is an online grants calendar database designed to help small Australian charitable and community organisations find the right grants. You can customise a grants calendar with access to Australian grant and funder records and track the progress of your applications. It offers tips and advice. It is a subscription-based service. Visit Gem Local.
  • Funding Centre provides tools and resources to learn about fundraising, and guidance on improving your fundraising. It is a subscription-based service. Visit Funding Centre.
  • Community Council for Australia is an independent non-political member-based organisation. It provides a national voice and facilitation for sector leaders to act on common and shared issues affecting the contribution, performance and viability of not-for-profit organisations in Australia. Visit Community Council for Australia.
  • Australian Sports Foundation has a not-for-profit sports fundraising platform. It offers tax-deductible donations for charitable giving to sport teams, clubs and organisations. Visit Australian Sports Foundation.
  • The Grants Hub is an online database of more than 1,500 grant opportunities in Australia. It offers a subscription service. Visit The Grants Hub.

3 Understand the guidelines

Visit the organisation’s website to view their current grant offerings and application guidelines.

4 Submit your application

Write your application for each grant, following the guidelines carefully. If you have any questions, call the organisation to discuss your application before you submit it.

Seeking funding from other sources

Most charities and not-for-profit organisations can expect less than 10% of their funding to come from the philanthropic sector. Other ways to stay financially viable include:

  • Fee-for-service work
  • Service contracts
  • Government funding
  • Community fundraising
  • Corporate partnerships

For businesses

Generally, for-profit businesses cannot get philanthropic funding. Philanthropic trusts and foundations are limited by law to fund only charitable projects.

If you are seeking funding for a for-profit company, we recommend finding government grants and assistance schemes. For example, Grants and programs finder is a free Australian Government service for businesses to find government grants, funding and support programs.

For individuals

Australian philanthropic trusts and foundations are limited by law to fund only charitable organisations and cannot legally make grants for individuals.

However, there is philanthropic funding available for individuals in the form of scholarships, fellowships, research grants and travel grants.

There are also crowdfunding resources – where an individual seeks funding from other individuals – for example:

If you’re looking for funding to assist with personal costs – such household bills, compassionate reasons or emergencies – we recommend seeking assistance from charities and/or government agencies. See:

To seek funding for arts and culture initiatives, see:

To seek funding for scholarships and fellowships, see:

Government grant scams

Beware of scams with government grants. To learn more, visit the Australian Government Scamwatch website.