How to apply for a community grant

Steps to apply for a community grant

1. Download the grant guidelines for your proposal

Look over the grants quick guide for an overview of grants available in the Merri-bek Community Grants Program. Community Grants policy (DOC 82Kb) contains information about the program.

Download the guidelines relevant to the category that applies to your proposal.

Annual grants (open February to March):

Minor grants up to $3000 (available all year):

You can also preview current rounds for funding opportunities on the grants website.

Applicants applying for a grant through an auspice arrangement will need to supply contact details and evidence of their insurance and financial statements of the auspice as part of the application.

2. Discuss your proposal with Council and seek supporting information

Read the guidelines on the grant you wish to apply.

We recommend that you discuss your proposal with a Council Officer on 9240 1111 or email Council Grants before you complete an application.

If you are applying for an annual grant, we suggest that you attend one of the information sessions that are conducted during February.

You need to provide all supporting documentation with your application as outlined in the checklist.

Seek letters of support and establish partnerships and links with other groups.

Get quotes for all expenses for your proposal.

  • Incorporation: While the criteria under each category vary, it is generally preferable for groups applying under the Merri-bek Community Development Grants Program to be at least incorporated. Information regarding incorporation for your group can be obtained by contacting Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 or visit Consumer Affairs Victoria.

  • Australian Business Number: An Australian Business Number (ABN) is compulsory for individual artists (who are not applying through an auspice) and organisations seeking funding under the Operational grant category. It is preferable for groups applying under other categories of the Merri-bek Community Development Grants Program to have an Australian Business Number (ABN). Information regarding how to register for an ABN can be obtained from the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 66 or visit Australian Taxation Office.

  • Financial statements: Incorporated groups or organisations must provide a copy of their most recent annual statement lodged with Consumer Affairs Victoria (financial year). Groups with an ABN should provide most recently audited financial statements.

  • Public liability insurance: It is a requirement of the Merri-bek Community Grants Program that grant recipients be covered by an appropriate public liability insurance policy. It is the responsibility of the applicant or recipient to arrange appropriate insurance. This is in the interest of the group, participants and individual artists as it provides coverage in the event of a claim made against them arising from their activities.

    Applications made through an auspice arrangement may fulfil this requirement through the auspice, dependent upon the nature of the activity and the insurance policies held by the auspice organisation. 

  • GST status: Applicants are expected to accurately declare their GST status on the application form. Unless otherwise stated Council will consider all grant payments GST inclusive and therefore it is the applicant’s obligation to remit the GST to the Tax Office. More information can be obtained from the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 66 or by visiting Australian Taxation Office.

  • Auspicing: Auspicing helps organisations who are not incorporated or who do not have an ABN access grant funds. An auspice organisation must be incorporated and have an ABN. The Auspice organisation accepts legal and financial responsibility for the grant if successful. Groups that are being auspiced can submit applications directly, however, the funding agreement for successful grants will be made between the auspice organisation and Council, and grant money will be paid directly to the auspice organisation.

    For more information visit the Justice Connect Not for Profit website.

3. Submit the application online by the due date

Only applications submitted online will be assessed.

To apply you need to register or log in online through the grants website before the due date.

Applications will not be assessed unless they are formally submitted online.

Late applications will not be accepted.

How Council assesses your grant

Assessment of annual grants

Council is committed to ensuring that the assessment of all grant applications is completed in a fair and transparent manner.

Applications will be assessed initially by Council officers to ensure the applications are complete and meet the general and category eligibility requirements based on the guidelines for each grant category.

If an application is deemed eligible, it is then examined in more detail and assessed against the following criteria:

Community outcomes

  • Increases access and participation opportunities for Merri-bek residents
  • Helps build skills in the Merri-bek community
  • Collaborates with other Merri-bek community organisations
  • Encourages diversity of activities and opportunities available to the Merri-bek community, and
  • Addresses a genuine and demonstrated community need and supports Merri-bek’s disadvantaged communities.

Demonstrates a capacity to deliver

  • States clear aims and objectives for the project
  • Shows evidence of planning, such as resources, safety and risk, and design
  • Demonstrates innovative or new initiatives resulting in increased participation/programming outcomes in line with the Council Plan and strategies
  • Demonstrates capacity to deliver on the project and meet conditions of funding
  • Seeks, were possible, other sources of financial or in-kind contribution

An internal multidisciplinary assessment panel will propose recommendations on funding allocations. Officers from across Council are consulted where specialist advice is required in formulating recommendations.

The funding allocations recommended by the Assessment Panel are reported to Council for consideration, and if appropriate, final approval.

Applications that require an expression of interest process will undergo a preliminary assessment process and be shortlisted for Council endorsement before further evaluation and final determination by Council.

Notification to applicants is made in July each year.

Assessment of minor grants

Quick Response grants, Membership Activity grants, Female Participation grants. Youth Initiative grants and Individual Development grants are assessed throughout the financial year and are available until all monies are expended.

Applications are assessed by a Council Officer to ensure all eligibility criteria have been met.

Officers from across Council are consulted where specialist advice is required in formulating recommendations.

The Community Development Grants Officer then makes a recommendation to a Senior Council Officer for approval.

Allow at least 4 - 6 weeks for the application process.