Information and support

Support for grant applicants

The following resources have been prepared by our Grants Team to support you when preparing your grant application.

What you need to know

We encourage applicants to carefully consider if a grant suits their project when reading the grant guidelines. If you are unclear contact us to discuss your project idea.

Be aware the grant process is competitive and funding cannot be guaranteed just because an application was submitted.

The number of successful applications under each grant are limited by the total amount of funding available.

Funding is only provided for the purpose for which it has been granted.

Successful projects/events cannot be guaranteed continual funding. Council recommends that organisations work towards a sustainable model of funding for projects/events that are intended to be ongoing.

If an application is being supported by an auspicing body on behalf of another organisation, the application form must have written approval of the auspicing body submitted with the application or the application must be submitted by the auspicing body.

An organisation that acts as an auspicing body for an unincorporated organisation may also apply for a grant in its own right for a separate project.

Community groups are encouraged to consider how they can work in partnership when developing their application.

All applications must be lodged through the SmartyGrants online grant management system.

Grant information sessions

From time to time, Council may run information sessions to provide assistance to applicants on a variety of Council Grant programs prior to a funding round opening. When available, details will be posted here.

Grant guidelines are always available on Council’s grant website to provide current grant information and priorities.


Grant writing assistance - Learning Bytes

In conjunction with Non Profit Training, Nillumbik Shire Council have developed a series of seven videos to assist grant writers to submit their grant applications. Find out about knowing your why, developing a project plan, budgeting and more. Click through below to view all seven videos in our YouTube playlist.


How to apply for one of our grants

Read the guidelines for the grant you are considering thoroughly before applying.

Contact the staff member listed in the guidelines with any questions.

Applications are to be lodged online at

You must register with SmartyGrants before you can start an online application.

Registration gives you secure access to your forms allowing you to work on them over time rather than having to complete them all at once.

It only takes a moment to register and you can get started on your submission straight after registering.

Fields marked with an asterisk must be completed.

Review your responses, and then submit your application.

You will receive an email instantly confirming the application has been submitted.

Respond to all criteria and provide any required documentation applicable.

Attached files can be no more that 25MB in size each

All applicants are required to provide:

  • A Public Liability Insurance Certificate
  • An ABN number or Statement by a Supplier form
  • If auspiced you must also provide a letter of support from the auspicing organisation

Applications must be lodged by the advertised closing date.

Note, if you do not have access to a computer, contact the staff member listed in the guidelines who will help you lodge your application.

For more information contact Grants via

How to write a grant application

Every time you apply for a grant the Grantmaker will basically be wanting to learn the same things about your project. Once you become proficient answering those questions you should be more successful when grantseeking.

Five key questions to ask yourself…

1. What do you want to do?

Every grant application starts with an idea. So think about your idea and what is it designed to do. You also need to think about what your project will achieve and how it will contribute to the community.

2. Why do you want to undertake this project?

This is an important question to be able answer. Why does this work need to happen now and not, for example, in 12 month’s time? Is there an opportunity you want to capitalise on? You also need to explain why it’s important to your group or the community and how your group or community will benefit from the project.

3. Who will be involved in the project?

For larger grants this can be crucial to demonstrate that your team is capable to deliver the project. Who will be the key people driving and delivering the project, and what skills and experience do they bring? Will there be volunteers involved? If so, how many and what experience do they bring? Do you have any additional partners or supporters?

It’s also important to think about who the beneficiaries of your project are – who is your project targeting? It’s important to be specific here, as ‘universal’ or ‘the whole community will benefit’ is not specific enough.

4. How will the project be delivered? What are the key project stages?

Think about what tasks need to be completed, what resources will be needed to complete these and who is responsible for delivering the project. You should also include the key dates and projects stages that outline when specific activities will be completed.

5. How much will it cost?

Budgets can be daunting, but it is worth investing some time to develop a realistic and clear budget. Grant assessors are more comfortable in supporting a project if they can see you have thought about the costs.

The budget relates to the total cost of your project, and needs to show both the proposed income and expenditure:

  • Income – you need to include the amount that you are requesting from Council, and any other additional co-contributions from your own organisation or other funders. You might also include any in-kind contributions, but be careful not to overestimate the monetary value of this.

  • Expenditure – consider all costs, including the less obvious ones. Make sure you have quotes for larger items or can show how you have calculated or estimated these costs.

And remember, it’s important that your budget should reconcile. This means that your total income should match your total expenditure.

Other tips and tricks

There are a few other tips to keep in mind as you begin to write you application:

  • Write in clear, simple language – applicants often use complicated language to make the project sound more important, but the best thing you can do when writing a grant application is to use straightforward, plain English. Avoid jargon or technical language.

  • Assume the reader knows nothing about your organisation, project or community.

  • Support any claims you make with evidence, and use facts, not opinions.

  • Provide specific information when answering questions.

  • Proofread your application. The most important part of any application is reading the guidelines, and ensuring you meet the criteria for the grant. 

Common features of a strong grant application

Regardless of the type of activity or scale being proposed, there are some common features that will make your grant application competitive.

Use clear, plain English and do not waffle. Make sure anyone can understand your application.

Clearly outline what is proposed, why it needs to happen, how it will be achieved, who is centrally involved and where it will take place. Imagine you’re the assessor, what would you want to know about the project?

Be upfront about what you want the funding for. The Assessment Panel needs to know exactly how you plan to spend the money, so make sure your project description is clear and not buried within your responses.

How your application will be assessed

Dependant on the grant program, applications will be assessed on merit by Council staff or an assessment panel. Applications will be considered against the grant funding priorities, objectives, eligibility and selection criteria.

Unfortunately not all applications that met the criteria may be successful, as grants are highly competitive and approval will depend on the availability of funds, the number of applications, program priorities and geographical equity. Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to seek feedback from Council staff on their application.

In some instances Council may give a lower amount than requested and may place terms and conditions on which items may be funded by the grant.

Applications must demonstrate:

  • The organisation and project/activity is eligible
  • A genuine need and that the project/activity is viable
  • How and why the support being requested will positively impact the local community
  • Evidence of planning, consultation and support
  • Financial need, the organisation’s contribution and support, and other funding sought (whether successful or not)
  • Linkages to the grant program objectives
  • Any regulatory requirements have been, or will be, satisfied

Other funding opportunities

Find out about grants and funding opportunities offered by other local, state and federal bodies and organisation at the Nillumbik Grants Hub.

Nillumbik Grants Hub is a one-stop-shop provides a comprehensive list of grant and funding opportunities open to all local community groups, businesses, clubs, not-for-profits and individuals seeking funding opportunities.

When you register at the Nillumbik Grants Hub (for free!), you can select the types of grants you are interested in and you will receive personalised email alerts about potential grant opportunities that are relevant to you.

Nillumbik Grants Hub also provides a quick list highlighting funding opportunities during a time of disaster and we encourage residents to take advantage of this free resource.

Help available

We encourage you to get in touch with us. Council staff are always happy to answer your questions and provide advice towards your project and on what you should include in your application before you submit. The earlier you do this, the better!

If you have a question about the details of a particular grant, including eligibility criteria, please contact the officer or team listed on the particular grant information page, or contact

Technical support

If you require technical assistance with an online grant application via SmartyGrants, please refer to the SmartyGrants Help Guide for Applicants and Frequently Asked Questions.

If further assistance is required, contact the SmartyGrants Help Desk on 03 9320 6888 or email


How many grants can I apply for?

There is generally no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted under each Council grant. However, each application must be for a different project, program, initiative or product. Grant priorities and equity will be carefully considered during the assessment process. Application quality is preferred over quantity and submitting multiple applications will not increase the chance of success.

Note organisations can only receive one Quick Response Grant per financial year.

Does my project need to benefit all residents of the Shire of Nillumbik?

No. As long as there is a service/project/event being delivered in the Nillumbik Shire Council Local Government area and there is benefit to communities within the Nillumbik region. It is extremely important that applicants identify how and why the support being requested will positively impact the local community.

Am I eligible to apply?

For the majority of our grants, applicants MUST:

  • Be a not-for-profit incorporated organisation or community group that lives, works, studies, volunteers or plays in Nillumbik


  • Be auspiced by a not-for-profit incorporated organisation if applicants are unincorporated or an individual.

What does ‘incorporated association’ mean?

Incorporation is the most common way to provide a community group status as a legal entity.

If you are not incorporated and would like to become incorporated, you may contact the Office of Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 558 131 or visit the Consumer Affairs website. You may be able to apply for a Quick Response Grant to help your group become established.

What if our organisation is not incorporated?

If your group is not incorporated and does not wish, or is unable to become incorporated, you can still apply, but the application must be under the auspice of an eligible organisation who will take full responsibility for the grant.

What is an ‘auspice’ and do I need one?

An auspice is an incorporated organisation that agrees to take responsibility for your grant (sort of like a guarantor). The auspice receives the funding on your behalf and distributes the funds to your group for the delivery of the project. A letter confirming the auspice arrangement must be attached to your funding application. Organisations can auspice multiple applications.

You will need an auspice if you are a community group or individual that is not incorporated.

You can find out more about auspices from the Justice Connect website.

Who could auspice me?

  • Local neighbourhood house
  • A community organisation you have worked or partnered with
  • Peak body or governing association of your field
  • Organisations with a similar mission and purpose
  • Auspicious Arts (an organisation specifically designed to support grant applicants) – for more info visit the Auspicious Arts website

Applications may be submitted without current Public Liability Insurance on the condition that it is purchased and a Certificate of Currency is provided once the grant is successful

You may apply through an auspice organisation if your group does not wish to purchase insurance

Or you may be eligible for coverage under Council’s Community Liability insurance if your activity is entirely held in a Council venue.

If my application is unsuccessful, can I apply for the same thing next round?

Yes. However, it is advised that you seek feedback as to why your application was unsuccessful in the first instance to enhance your chance of a successful application next time.

Grant writing assistance - Learning Bytes

In conjunction with Non Profit Training, Nillumbik Shire Council have developed a series of seven videos to assist grant writers to submit their grant applications. Find out about knowing your why, developing a project plan, budgeting and more. Click through below to view all seven videos in our YouTube playlist.


COVID-19 grants

Visit COVID-19 business support information regarding the State and Federal Government grants open to businesses, sole traders and employers affected by COVID-19.


Information for grant recipients

Successful grant applicants will be sent confirmation and further details via email from SmartyGrants.

Please ensure you read this information carefully in order to meet the requirements specific to your grant acceptance. Specific conditions apply to each grant and will be outlined in your letter of offer.

Recipients of Nillumbik Shire Council grants are also required to evaluate and report on their funded activities and the expenditure of the funding.

Contact should you have any questions or concerns, or if you anticipate your funded activity or project will be different from your application in any way.

Funding conditions

Successful applicants must agree to:

  • Keep Council informed of any changes to the proposed funded activity, which will require an approved variation request
  • Submit an acquittal and evaluation to Council following the funded activity’s completion
  • Return the full or remaining amount of the grant to Council if the funded activity is cancelled
  • Return the remaining amount of the grant to Council if the funded activity is less than budgeted
  • Liaise with Council’s Marketing Team, regarding their promotional material and use of the appropriate Nillumbik Shire Council logo
  • Adhere to all current Victorian Coronavirus restrictions during the delivery of your project
  • Obtain all relevant project and event related permits, approvals, and licenses, to be received by the relevant authorities prior to commencement

Acknowledgment of Council's support

Grant recipients are required to acknowledge the support provided by the Nillumbik Shire Council in the following ways:

  • Inclusion in their organisation’s promotional material such as, but not limited to media releases, brochures, flyers, advertising, newsletters and digital media
  • At events and activities by way of signage, public announcements, opportunity for speech and or presentation and participation at the event
  • Inclusion in any relevant publications e.g. annual report

Acquittal and evaluation requirements

It is a general condition of accepting a grant that successful applicants submit an online acquittal report and evaluation upon completion of each funded project. These reports provide feedback on the success of the project in terms of the agreed outputs and outcomes, relevant data and any lessons learnt.

This information enables Council to evaluate the achievements of funded activities, monitor the effectiveness of the grant programs and ensure that we are meeting the needs of grant recipients and the community.

All reporting for Nillumbik Shire Council Grants is done through the SmartyGrants website.

As acquittal reporting templates become available you will be able to access them through the acquittals section of your SmartyGrants account. If you find your form has closed contact the Grants Team to request re-opening.