Louise Mullins, Queensland Council of Social Service

Many organisations have very limited resources so it is sometimes necessary to seek additional funding to ensure ongoing service delivery.

Writing a submission for funding can sometimes be overwhelming, time-consuming and at times unrewarding, if unsuccessful, for an organisation. 

Here, we delve into what to consider when preparing and writing a funding submission to make sure yours is a successful one.

Funding sources 

There are four main sources which an organisation can seek funding from:

  • Australian Government (Federal/Commonwealth)
  • State Government (Queensland Government)
  • Local Government (Council/Shire)
  • Private enterprise
  • Philanthropic organisations/ companies e.g. banks, companies and large retailers

Preparing a submission

Prior to writing the submission, the organisation should consider the following:

  • What is the project?
  • How much money is needed?
  • Can the organisation’s current budget cover any of the costs?
  • Does the organisation have enough staff members to effectively manage the project?
  • Do we have enough time, expertise and commitment to write the submission?
  • Do we have access to expertise in submission writing that can assist, if needed?

Funding guidelines

  • The proposed project/program for which the organisation is seeking funding must meet the eligibility requirements of the funding guidelines. Therefore, it is very important to read the funding guidelines and any other related documents thoroughly before writing the submission.
  • If the project/program meets the funding guidelines, the guidelines will specify the information required to complete the submission. The organisation may wish to involve or consult with persons of expertise in the relevant area or collect further information from existing publications or studies to ensure that these requirements are met.
  • If you are unsure, make contact with the funding body to seek clarity about the funding guidelines. In some cases, the funding body may agree to meet (or telelink) with you to discuss the following:
    • priority target groups and types of projects, including expected outcomes/benefits
    • format/presentation of application, including additional information or attachments
    • terms and required conditions of funding e.g. reporting requirements.
  • If your project/program does not fit the funding guidelines, do not proceed with the submission to this funding body. Alternatively, the organisation may seek alternative funding from other bodies that fits with the project/program
  • Allow plenty of time to complete all the funding guideline requirements to meet the submission deadline.

Writing the submission

It is suggested that you customise your submission to meet the funding guidelines format of the funding body. Allow plenty of time to complete the submission by the specified deadline.

Helpful hints for presenting the submission:

  • Attach a cover letter – it should introduce the organisation, state the relevant funding source and include a brief statement introducing the project/program
  • Use a title page - it should provide a brief description of the project including aims and outcomes/benefits to the clients
  • Make sure it is easy read and clearly presented (well-structured)
  • Use short sentences and short paragraphs – be concise and do not use jargon
  • Be focused on the aim/outcomes of the program/project
  • Have consistent use of fonts (lettering), spacing, bullet-points, etc
  • Bold major headings and underline subheadings
  • Use diagrams such as tables, charts, etc
  • Get someone to proofread the submission
  • Keep a full copy of the submission for your organisation’s records

Useful resources

Funding sources for Queensland community organisations 

For a list of current grants go to the Queensland Council of Social Service website

Not for profit law - new funding and financing models

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