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Where to go for Governance information in Australia

The concept of governance focusses on the structures and process which ensure an organisation is accountable and transparent. There are elements of stability, equity and inclusivity, participation, responsiveness and following the rule of law.

Good governance is at the heart of any successful organisation. It can broadly be described as the system by which an organisation is controlled and operates as well as the mechanisms by which those organisations and the individuals involved in decision-making are held to account.

Why does governance matter?

Not for profit groups and charities have rules by which they must adhere to maintain that organisational status. Members of the public have expectations around how those organisations will be run and how decisions will be made.


Where to go if you need resources and information about governance for not for profits in Australia?


Office of Fair Trading

The Queensland Government Office of Fair Trading has a bunch of useful resources for those wanting to start not for profits as well as those who are new to committees (and of course those who’ve been doing it for years). On this website, you can access information on how to run an incorporated associationas well as useful fact sheets on topics such aswhat a committee doesand who can be on a committee. You can also find out what makes up the model rules, financial responsibilities and how to close down an association.


Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission

The Australian Charities and Not for profits Commissions regulates the voluntary sector in Australia, including charities and other not for profits. There are approximately 56,000 organisations registered with the ACNC. On their website, there’s a whole section on guidance and toolsfor not for profits which includes podcasts, webinars and factsheets.

The ACNC has a useful fact sheet on charity money mythswhich set straight some of the misconceptions around operating as a not for profit in Australia and they also have a useful document that sets out the Commission’s governance standards.


Other useful resources:


Got a cool project that needs funding? Check out these grants listings


One of the most difficult things about grant writing isn’t actually writing the funding submission, it’s knowing where to go for information about grant opportunities. As a professional grant writer, I spend hours every week checking out any new funding opportunities, reading guidelines and criteria and being a bit of an investigative researcher, literally stalking potential funders online for anything that will help win funds.

Next week I’m running three grant writing courses out in western Queensland. There’ll be about 60 people joining me in Mt Isa, Julia Creek and Hughenden to hone their grant writing skills. In preparing for next week I updated my personal list of grants-related websites. I thought I’d save you all a heap of time and share it with you.

Australian Government business grants listing
A database of Australian Government funding programs with a focus on businesses. Always check with the funding program regarding closing dates and availability as these sometimes change after they’ve been added to the database. Get the list here.

Parliamentary Library
This is a quick reference guide to community grants, published in January 2016. It contains a bunch of links to other useful grant listings across government agencies at state and federal level. Visit the Parliament of Australia website to access the list.

Queensland Government Grants
This list focuses on programs related to Queensland Government agencies and can be found here. Some of the specific programs included in the list are:

Federal and State members of parliament
Your local member often manages mailing lists within their own electorates so that they can keep people up to date with funding opportunities. You can see a list of state and federal members here (for Queensland). or the Australian Parliament House website for a list of federal members and senators.

Our Community
This is probably the longest running grants sniffer dog service in Australia. Our Community produces a monthly e-newsletter which outlines funding opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly targeted at community benefit projects, but to a much broader range of projects including Councils and businesses. If you have the time to read through 100 odd pages a month, it’s definitely worth the $80-odd annual subscription fee. Subscribe here.

Australian Directory of Philanthropic Funders
Produced byPhilanthropy Australia, this database lists more than 300 funding bodies, including philanthropic trusts and foundations, that offer grants for community projects. You probably need to have DGR status to be able to access these grants. The subscription costs around $100 per year to subscribe. Get more information here.

Non-government Grants
This list has been modified from one found at the Parliament of Australia website.

  • ANZ Staff Foundation offers grants to support projects run by charitable organisations for the benefit of local communities.
  • Charities Aid Foundation allows charitable organisations to be placed on a registry to be matched with corporate donors and sponsors.
  • Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund aims specifically to assist community groups with projects that improve the health and well-being of children and young people nationally.
  • Community Enterprise Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Group.
  • Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) aims to take a leadership role in assisting regional, rural and remote communities to respond to social, cultural and economic change. The FRRR administers a number of funding programs and grants.
  • Ian Potter Foundation makes grants nationally to support charitable organisations working to benefit the community across a wide range of sectors and endeavours.
  • Macquarie Group Foundation supports groups and activities in Australia and overseas.
  • Mercy Foundation provides support for organisations involved in reducing inequality and poverty in Australia.
  • Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund provide grants in four key areas, the arts, education, poverty and disadvantage and sustainability and the environment.
  • National Australia Bank provides regular community grants to organisations nominated by employees.
  • National Foundation for Australian Women runs a program through which other women’s groups can receive tax deductible donations and grants through their preferred donor fund.
  • NRMA Insurance Community Grants Program provides grants for crime prevention, road safety, emergency readiness and response and the environment.
  • Optus Community Grants program provides grants to organisations to help reduce social isolation and to reconnect disengaged youth.
  • Perpetual philanthropic services assist individuals, families, organisations and non-profit groups.
  • Peter Brock Foundation provides funding and support for community groups and organisations with a focus on welfare services, social issues and community programs.
  • Reichstein Foundation funds projects aimed at assisting disadvantaged communities.
  • Rockefeller Foundation supports work that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health and environmental challenges.
  • Telstra Foundation provides community development grants for projects particularly aimed at children and young people.

Now you have no excuses. You know where to find grants. Go forth and write.

More free grant writing workshops | Mareeba, Georgetown, Normanton

Wombat Creative is bringing its grant writing workshops to Mareeba, Georgetown and Normanton thanks to the support of local organisations and grant funding. The workshops are highly interactive and delivered in plain English with one goal: to give you the confidence to write more grants and win more funds.

Mareeba, Monday 25 November, 8.30am – 1.30pm

Georgetown, Tuesday 26 November, 8.30am – 1.30pm

Normanton, Wednesday 27 November, 8.30am – 1.30pm

RSVP is essential. Light refreshments provided. Supported by Gambling Community Benefit Fund, Landcare Queensland and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group.

Participants should come armed with project ideas, specific grant funding application forms and guidelines or past applications written. This workshop is interactive – please come prepared to throw yourself into grant writing with gusto.

RSVP and more information:



FREE grant writing workshops | Weipa and Cooktown

Wombat Creative is bringing its grant writing workshops to Weipa and Cooktown thanks to the support of local organisations and grant funding. The workshops are highly interactive and delivered in plain English with one goal: to give you the confidence to write more grants and win more funds.

Weipa, Tuesday 19 November, 8.30am – 1.30pm

Cooktown, Thursday 21 November, 8.30am – 1.30pm

RSVP is essential. Light refreshments provided. Supported by Gambling Community Benefit Fund, Landcare Queensland, Cook Shire Council, Cape York NRM and the Regional Landcare Facilitator.

Participants should come armed with project ideas, specific grant funding application forms and guidelines or past applications written. This workshop is interactive – please come prepared to throw yourself into grant writing with gusto.

RSVP and more information:

2013 NQ – Weipa and Cooktown promo


Grow your Money

Our top 10 tips for running planet friendly events


So, you work in the environment or community development sector and you run events to help spread the message. But at the end of the day you’re standing in a room or a field and you’re looking at the waste – leftover food, piles of papers and plastic.

How do you reduce your footprint when running events? We’ve put together our top 10 tips.


  1. Choose a transport-friendly venue – that is, choose a venue that is centrally located to the largest number of delegates. Sometimes there’s a need to hold an event in rural and regional locations – in that case, explore ways to encourage carpooling and offer alternatives to flying.
  2. Consider alternative technology instead of flying speakers in from interstate or overseas. With webinars, skype and holographic performances becoming so popular, you don’t really need an expert in the flesh.
  3. Choose a venue that makes the most of natural lighting and passive heating / cooling. Ceiling fans are much more energy efficient than air conditioners and sometimes just being able to open windows and doors allows enough airflow to cool a room.
  4. Avoid printing promotional material and encourage your sponsors and partners to do the same.
  5. Do not offer disposable items – that means no plastic cups, no plastic cutlery or plates. Make sure you let the venue or caterers know too. If you have caterers who insist on disposables, put your foot down and make it a requirement that all disposable items be compostable
  6. Avoid plastic for packaging and food service – that includes plastic wrap. Plastic often crops up where you least expect it. We ordered 500 pens for an environment conference and they came in individual plastic sleeves. We were very embarrassed.
  7. Do not offer bottled water. Ask for jugs of water and glasses. If you’re running an outdoor event consider large water coolers and either asking people to bring their own cup (most people bring a water bottle to outdoor events anyway) or provide your delegates with a souvenir cup.
  8. Consider ticketing your social events so that you know exactly how many people are coming. When you charge a separate fee and people need to register for those events, you know exactly how many people to cater for, meaning less waste.
  9. While on the topic of catering, try to incorporate as much local produce as possible – often this will come down to your caterers, so be sure to let them know when you ask for quotes that this is your preference. Some people will stipulate a certain proportion of local or organic food across the meals catered.
  10. Compost and manually sort recycling wherever possible. There are permaculture groups and city farms who will take organic matter off your hands if you give them enough notice.


Grants: closing this week (Aug 2013)

Media Peace Awards, UNAA, 30 August

Journalists and producers whose work has appeared in the Australian media between 2 September 2012 and 30 August 2013 are encouraged to nominate. The award recognises those whose work highlights and champions human rights and social justice issues. Applications close 30 August. More information at


QLD: Community road safety grants, 30 august

Community groups and local governments in Queensland are eligible to apply for funding that delivers road safety solutions in communities, with an evidence-based approach and strong community partnerships. Applications close 30 August with a second round opening in February 2014. More information at


Canon environmental grant, 30 august

Grants in-kind worth $45,000 are available to Australian and NZ organisations making a positive impact on their environment and community. Applications close 30 August. More information at


Cass foundation travel grants, 30 august

Travel grants for early career post-doctoral researchers. Closes 30 August. More information at


National multicultural marketing award, 30 august

This award acknowledges the contribution of national businesses, public sector and community organisations and includes advertising, commercial business, community, export, government and technical categories. Nominations close 30 August. More information at


LINC grants, 31 august

Lesbians and lesbian friendly organisations may apply for grants up to $1000 at any time. In 2013, with a deadline of 31 August, Lesbians Incorporated will fund one large grant of up to $10,000 and one large grant of up to $5,000. Large grant recipients are announced on 8 October 2013, International Lesbian Day. More information at

Green hand

Grants listing for August and September

More cool grants for you. Remember, we can help with grant-writing on a flat fee basis. Contact if you need a hand. Here’s this month’s offerings:


ANZ Seeds of Renewal Program, 12 August

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for community organisations to create education and employment opportunities, with preference to regional communities. Applications close 12 August and more information is available at


Regional Achievement and Community Awards – Queensland, 23 August

Several categories are open to nominations for these regional and community awards – including community of the year, environment, regional service, energy and sustainability, events and tourism and youth leadership. Nominations close 23 August and more information is available at


Youth Development and Support Program, 23 August

$500,000 is available for initiatives that inspire and encourage young people to engage with government and their community, and help them develop skills and connections within their communities. This year, the Program will focus on the theme ‘Building a safe and supportive culture’. Applications should demonstrate how the Projects will develop Young People’s skills to engage in positive non-violent/non-bullying behaviours in their community. Applications close Friday 23 August and more information is available at


Gambling Community Benefit Fund, 31 August

Funding all manner of projects and items for broader community benefit. This fund, and its mates the Casino Communty Benefit Funds all close 31 August with varying criteria and geographical focus – although Gambling Fund is statewide. More info at


Bjarne K Dahl Trust, 1 September

Up to $15,000 is available for the protection and enhancement of eucalypts through promotion, cultivation, establishment and conservation. Applications close 1 September and more information is available at


Festivals Australia Funding, 6 September

Festivals funding through the Australia Council supports regional, remote and community festivals to present quality art projects. Applications close 6 September and more information is at


Layne Beachley and Aim for the Stars, 15 November

This Foundation, is inviting all Australian females aged 12 – 26 years who need funding to achieve goals in their sporting, academic, community, business, environmental or cultural pursuits to apply for support. Applications close 15 November and more information is available at:

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$207 million in grants to communities: new report

New research released last month examines for the first time how and where philanthropic funds in Australia were distributed by cause, sector and region. Where the money goes: private wealth for public good, supported by the Myer Foundation and Telstra Foundation, provides a high level analysis of 4,119 philanthropic grants made over a three year period.

Key observations include:

  • Since the Global Financial Crisis there has been a reduction in the total monetary value of grants made by foundations down from an average of $6.69m per foundation in 2009 to $5.06m in 2011.
  • The majority of grants are small and fragmented, and the overwhelming concentration of grants made (80%) are for less than $50,000 with 36% of grants for less than $10,000. Many of these small grants go to preschools, public primary schools and secondary schools for a range of activities such as sport, music, and learning programs.
  • Generally these foundations combine a few very large multi-year philanthropic grants with a relatively extensive small grants program. The breadth and number of organisations funded is much wider than anticipated.
  • The major cause areas that received the most funding were: Health Wellbeing & Medical Research 23.6%; Poverty & Disadvantage 16.8%; Indigenous Programs 10.9%; and Arts Culture & Humanities 10.7%. At the other end of the spectrum only 1% of funding was directed to Ageing Futures.
  • Over this three-year period 25 grants for $1 million or more were made primarily for capacity building and the establishment of new centres of expertise, although some of these large grants were for capital grants, endowments, research awards and large projects.
  • Many organisations are supported by multiple grants from different foundations, however there was little evidence of co-funding or collaboration on projects.  Twenty four organisations received more than 11 grants each, totalling 481 grants, over three years with a combined total of $48.32m – a large amount of grants in a relatively short amount of time.

The full report is available at


Crowdfunding for sustainability (or anything groovy)


Centuries past, when a person wanted to publish a book, they needed to seek commitments from people to buy it before it went to print. People effectively coughed up the cash to show their support. And then the publisher would send it to print.


Crowdfunding works on similar principles. You have an idea and people ‘buy in’ to the idea, with cash, to help get it off the ground. Effectively sourcing funding from what is termed the ‘crowd’.


The crowdfunding trend has grown in recent years. There’s a bunch of websites devoted to crowdfunding, that connect projects and ideas with investors. Crowdfunding offers an opportunity to source relatively modest contributions from a large number of people, rather than seeking larger sums from a small pool.


Crowdfunding pulls together a community of like-minded people and allows them to contribute collectively to something they value. One of the things that often sets crowdfunded projects apart is a tangible benefit offered to people who give money. For example, a musician may crowdfund their first full length album, with those contributing receiving a copy of the album when it’s produced or a ticket to a special launch event.


For those working in the not for profit sector, there’s no question that crowdfunding can be added to your arsenal of fundraising tactics. It’s one of many ways to raise funds for a project or a cause. But, as with other fundraising methods, there’s a bunch of considerations you need to make, if you want to give it a decent crack.


How does it work?

  • You have an idea that needs funding and you work out exactly what it is you want to do and how much you’d like to raise.
  • You choose an online vehicle for crowdfunding and complete information about the project, including uploading videos, photos or maps
  • For many sites, you offer a range of levels at which people can contribute, with each level having a reward attached.
  • Funders can search most crowdfunding sites by keyword, or they are directed to your project through social media and other communication tools.
  • They make a pledge to support your project. They give their credit card details, but no money changes hands until your fundraising goal is reached.
  • Once the fundraising goal is reached, those credit cards are charged, and you receive your money.
  • It is your responsibility to deliver the project, report back to your funders and to give them the rewards your promised.


When could crowdfunding be appropriate? Crowdfunding works best for projects and organisations:

  • which might be considered unconventional or quirky
  • that have goals which can be very clearly articulated in plain English
  • that already have a large supporter base (particularly social media) or have access to strong online networks
  • that can offer something unique and valuable to people who contribute


What have other people had funded?

There’s no doubt that crowdfunding has been used most commonly (and with great success) for creative projects – film, music, publishing and gaming. The most highly funded project was The Pebble – a smartwarch which communicates with phones via Bluetooth and controls phone functions. They raised more than $10 million from 68,000 people, fax exceeding their $100,000 goal. A quick internet search yields tonnes of conservation projects that have both been successfully crowdfunded or wound up without reaching their goals. Some of the successes we found:


  • Family Farmers join the 200 million | $12,099 raised | The goal of this project was to get an Australian delegation of 4 family farmers and 2 supporters to the 6th La Via Campesina International Conference in Jakarta. Read their pitch and see the rewards they put together at 
  • 400 trees | $2,067 raised | This project aimed to get 400 trees planted in Victoria, in districts hard hit by the Black Saturday fires in 2009. Read their pitch and check out the rewards offered at
  • Discovering Papua New Guinea’s Mountain Mammals | $21913 raised | PNG and its mountains are home to amazing animals like tree kangaroos and cuscuses. This project, a partnership between Deakin University and the Tankile Conservation Alliance aimed to undertake the first comprehensive camera trapping study of animals in the remote PNG Torricelli Mountain Range. Read their pitch and see their rewards at:


Tips for successful crowdfunding?

There’s one thing you’ll quickly notice when you check out most successful crowdfunded projects, and that’s the quality of the pitch. We often talk about refining our mission or vision statements or having a good elevator pitch for our conservation or landcare work, but truth be told, there are very few of us who can articulate our project goals in a way that excites those not directly involved. And it’s this pitch, this sharing of the passion, that makes for a successful crowdfunding attempt.


Here’s a few tips for making your crowdfunding efforts worthwhile:


The plan

  • Be realistic with your goal. Many crowdfunding websites only take money from investors once your fundraising goal has been reached. This means that projects aren’t expected to roll out with only part of the funds they need. It’s good motivation to accurately cost your project and be realistic with your fundraising goal.
  • Choose the right crowdfunding site. There’s a plethora of crowdfunding websites. Some specialise in creative projects, some are geographically focussed. Do your research, talk to others, see what’s been funded at each, and pick an appropriate platform to use.
  • Know how you’re going to spend the money. People rarely give to organisations, rather projects. And people are much more likely to give money when they know exactly how it’s going to be spent. Telling someone their dollars will be used to ‘progress an action plan to develop a strategy to investigate …” won’t get you anywhere. Telling them that bum breathing turtles are endangered and that you want to count how many are actually left in the wild gives people something tangible to contribute to.


The pitch

  • Polish your pitch. Like any fundraising effort, as we mention above, you must have a very clear notion of what it is you are trying to achieve. People will give to projects with a strong pitch. If it’s not compelling, if it’s not plain English, if it doesn’t convey passion and clearly outline the need, then it’s not going to be popular.
  • Video is a winner. By far the most telling thing about successful projects is that they have a video. With crowdfunding being an online phenomena, you can’t underestimate the power of using simple yet powerful online media. Keep it short (under 2 minutes if it’s an amateur production) and to the point and use good imagery if you can. And for heaven’s sake, make your pitch in the video. Ask for what you want. And tell people what you’re going to do.


The crowd

  • Work the crowd. I guess the whole premise of crowdfunding, is around making the crowd work for you. And as with any marketing, once you’ve built a little momentum, things grow quite quickly. But you must work the crowd. Use your friends, family, staff, members and volunteers to help get word out. Encourage people you know to contribute, no matter how small the amount, and to tell others. Use as many networks as you can to help promote your campaign. Without a crowd, there can be no crowdfunding.
  •  Crowdfunding is about relationships. If you haven’t got an audience to start with, you’re not going to be able to market your crowdfunding efforts. How else can you get word out to people about what it is you want to do. You need to look at social media, e-newsletters, hard copy communication, and all of your traditional communication activities and go hard to get word out.
  • Know your audience. You cannot raise funds without thinking about the people who are likely to hand over their dollars. You must know your audience. What will impel them to give to a cause? What rewards will drive their support? How should you communicate with them? What language should you use? If you don’t think about your audience, you may as well send smoke signals – you just won’t reach the people you need to.
  • Keep your promises. Make sure you communicate with your investors, keep them abreast of your progress, and most importantly deliver the rewards you promised on time.


The rewards

  • Be creative with your rewards. Considering that many crowdfunding sites ask you to offer rewards in return for what people give – this is a major consideration for a lot of givers. Check out other environment projects and see what people have come up with. Field tours, farm visits, farm stays, framed photographs, limited edition prints, invitations to launches, open days, autographed books. There’s plenty of options. Be as creative and generous as you can.
  • Offer rewards at different levels. There seems to be some evidence that campaigns with smaller reward levels on offer, are well supported. That is, offering rewards around the $25 contribution mark, often lead to many small contributions which quickly add up. That’s not to say you shouldn’t aim big with some bigger dollar rewards, but don’t forget the small fry.


Finding funds for environmental projects is always a challenge, but there’s no reason to have all your eggs in the one basket. Between government and philanthropic grants, donors, sponsorship and modern tools like crowdfunding, you can reach different audiences for different purposes and get more good stuff happening where it needs to.


canstockphoto4755544Need help?

Wombat Creative is a small consultancy firm helping communities achieve sustainability goals. You can contact us through




Grants listing for July and August 2013

There’s a bucketload of worthy grants on the horizon. Get busy folks:



Management Excellence Awards: Queensland & NT, 15 July

The Australian Institute of Management hosts awards which recognise owner managers, young managers, not-for-profit managers and professional managers. Nominations close 15 July and more information is available at


Thiess Care Grants, 19 July

Thiess offers charities, not for profit and community groups funding of up to $10,000 for initiatives that provide a health, environment or education benefit. Currently the program is running in Logan / Ipswich and the Bowen Basin. Logan / Ipswich applications close 6 July and Bowen Basin applications close 19 July. More information at:


Banksia Awards, 26 July

The Banksia Environmental Foundation has called for nominations for its Banksia Awards, recognising leaders in environment and sustainability. Categories include land and biodiversity, water, education, Indigenous, agriculture and food, innovation and local government, amongst others. Applications close 26 July 2013 and more information is available at


Local Hero Award, 2 August

The Local Hero Award was introduced into the Australian of the Year Awards to acknowledge extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community. Anyone 16+ can be nominated for the 2014 Local Hero Award and like other Australian of the Year Awards, nominations close 2 August. More information at


Coles Junior Landcare Grants, 2 August

Small grants of $1000 are available to not for youth organisations and schools for a range of community garden activities. Applications close 2 August and more information is available from


Regional Achievement and Community Awards – Queensland, 23 August

Several categories are open to nominations for these regional and community awards – including community of the year, environment, regional service, energy and sustainability, events and tourism and youth leadership. Nominations close 23 August and more information is available at


Bjarne K Dahl Trust, 1 September

Up to $15,000 is available for the protection and enhancement of eucalypts through promotion, cultivation, establishment and conservation. Applications close 1 September and more information is available at


Festivals Australia Funding, 6 September

Festivals funding through the Australia Council supports regional, remote and community festivals to present quality art projects. Applications close 6 September and more information is at