The process of applying for a grant can vary between each one. However, for most grants you’ll need to: 

  • meet the grant eligibility criteria
  • invest time to write your application 
  • report on how you'll spend funding. 

It’s important to understand how applications for the grant you are applying for will be assessed. For some grants you’ll just need to answer some simple eligibility questions. Other grants will be competitive and awarded based on the merit of your application. 

You should also understand the submission process. Understanding the online grant application system will help you plan your time better. Make sure you allow enough time to: 

  • collect the required evidence 
  • complete your application 
  • review your application and evidence
  • submit your application. 

Competitive grants have limited funding

Not all applications will be successful. You’ll need to write a compelling application if you’re to get funding.

Try to learn as much as possible about the grant before you start an application. Generally, the program guidelines will include all the information you need. From the guidelines, you can work our whether:

  • your business or organisation is eligible to apply for the grant
  • your project meets the priorities of the program or the particular round of funding
  • you can deliver your project or program in the required time
  • you can manage and report on the funds you would receive
  • you meet both the applicant and the project or program requirements
  • you're based in the right geographic area
  • you have suitable partnerships if required
  • you understand your obligations if you get the grant.

If you're unsure of your eligibility after reading the guidelines, you can contact the grant administrators or providers for more information.

Government funded grants are a way for government to achieve the objectives of its policies. This means that on most occasions, funding is provided for you to complete a specific project rather than for your business or organisation as a whole. When applying for a grant, consider your funding needs in relation to the specific project the grant is for.

You’ll need to be able to:

  • define your project
  • work out costs
  • show how it relates to the grant objectives.

You must show that your application meets the selection criteria. The grant guidelines will detail what evidence is required to show your project’s objectives. These may include:

  • customer surveys
  • letters of support
  • market research
  • growth forecasts
  • feasibility studies
  • forward projections
  • competitor analysis
  • resumes of key staff showing their abilities
  • examples of other projects you've completed
  • risk analysis for larger projects
  • links to government policies and agendas.

Start the process as early as you can. Strong applications take time and effort to get right. It can be difficult to write a clear and compelling application if you're rushed.

If it's available, take a look at a sample application form to see what information is required in the application.

From there, work out how long it’ll take you to:

  • retrieve and compile relevant business information
  • gather the required supporting evidence in the right format
  • write compelling application content, especially if it's a competitive application
  • review your application and get approval from all business stakeholders
  • submit your application and complete any trouble shooting.

Working out the time it’ll take to do everything will help you understand when you have to start. Most grants will have a date and time when it will close to application. Plan ahead to make sure you can complete your application in time. Programs generally won't accept a late application, even if you started the application before the close date.

Also, make sure to establish if the effort is worth the return. The amount of time needed to compile, write and submit an application may take time away from other important business activities.

Start early, submit early

Leaving it to the last day to submit your application may lead to errors, confusion and stress. Try and start things as early as you can!

To show you are eligible for a grant, you may need to provide evidence that shows: 

  • your business's annual turnover 
  • how long you've been running your business 
  • what problem you're trying to solve 
  • project overview and costings 
  • why you need funding 
  • your customers or market 
  • how your product or service helps meet a specific need. 

It's easier to write applications if you collect your documented evidence first. Each grant application has specific criteria that you'll need to address. So don’t cut-and-paste information that doesn’t fit the criteria. 

It may be mandatory for you to supply some documents in  your application. If you don't have the required documented evidence available, consider how long it’ll take to create them. Then include this time into your grant application timeline. 

You must ensure all documents are correct and completed before you submit them. The assessors can only assess what you submit. If there are errors or missing documents, they may not allow for changes or additions. 

When you're writing a grant application, make sure you:

  • accurately describe your organisation and activities
  • make a convincing case for why you should receive funding
  • address all the merit criteria
  • show you've done your research
  • use evidence to support your claims and reference your data.

Having a clear, concise and well written application can increase your chances of winning a grant.

Make it clear

Make your application easy to read. Make it clear how your application fulfils all the selection criteria, including:

  • what you plan to do
  • how it connects with the government's objectives
  • your ability to do it
  • how much money you need and what will it pay for
  • what you expect the results to be at the end of the project
  • who is likely to benefit in the broader community.

Make it concise

Your application is likely one of many. Having unnecessary detail will make it harder for assessors to assess your application. Try to keep to the point.

  • Don't repeat yourself. Each criterion seeks different information, so don't include the same information.
  • Use quality information rather than including too much quantity.
  • Avoid using language that is wordy or vague. Use short phrasing when possible. For instance, use 'because' and a not 'owing to the fact that'.

You can learn more about writing plain language content from the Australian Government's Style Manual.

Make it compelling

Make sure the information you supply:

  • is accurate and factual 
  • provides credible data to support your proposal
  • shows you consulted key people and represented their views
  • presents a strong case with clear links between the project, your business and the grant objectives
  • includes all evidence and financial information required
  • explains how you plan to meet the grant program's objectives and outcomes.

If you're not confident in writing, allow more time in your application timeline. You may also ask someone you trust to help with proofreading.

Even if you weren't successful in your last grant application, don't let it discourage you. See previous applications as a learning opportunity for next time.

  • Seek feedback if you can. You may be able to ask for details on why your application wasn’t successful. Even if the feedback is limited, it may still help you improve future applications.
  • Review everything again afterwards. You may notice things you missed when you first wrote your application, especially if you were rushed. Keep these notes to help you next time.
  • Be proactive. Keep your project or business plans up-to-date. That way, you're ready to act as soon as you find a new opportunity. This is especially important for grants that are open based on the funding limit being reached.

To learn about new grant opportunities as early as possible, use our grants and programs finder. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates and details on new grant opportunities.

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for sharing your feedback with us.

Why not?

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.