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

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

It’s important that you understand how we assess a grant application. For some grants you’ll just need to answer some simple questions. Other grants will be competitive and we award them based on the merit of an application. 

You should also understand the submission process. By learning about the online grant application system, you’ll be able to plan your time better. You should allow enough time to: 

  • collect the required evidence 
  • complete your application 
  • review everything 
  • 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.

You should learn as much as possible about the grant before you start an application. The program guidelines will include all the information you need to apply. They’ll detail all the requirements you and your project will need to meet. These may include whether:

  • your business or organisation is eligible to apply for the grant
  • your project meets the priorities for that particular round, as they often change
  • 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.

After reading the guidelines you may be still unsure of your eligibility. If you are unsure, you can contact us using the details supplied on the program page.

Grants are a way for the Australian Government to achieve the objectives of its policies. This means that in most occasions we’ll fund specific projects and not a business or organisation. So you should consider your funding needs in relation to a specific project.

You’ll need to be able to:

  • define your project
  • have it costed
  • 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.

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

The amount of time to compile, write and submit an application can vary between grants. This may take time away from other important business activities. So you should establish if the effort is worth the return.

You can view a sample application form to see what information is required.

You should work out how long it’ll take to:

  • retrieve and compile relevant business information
  • gather supporting evidence required 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
  • populate your application content into the grant portal and complete any trouble shooting.

Working out the time it’ll take to do everything will help you understand when you have to start. Each grant will have a date and time when it will close to application. You must plan to ensure you can complete your application in time. For most programs, even if you start an application before the close date, we’ll not accept a late application.

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!

For most grants, you must meet certain criteria to be eligible. 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. 

Applications are easier to write 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 to supply some documents. 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. We can only assess what you submit. If there are errors or missing documents, we’re unlikely to consider any requests for changes or additions. 

We’ve produced resources and templates to help you create common business documents. These include: 

  • How to create a business plan 
  • How to create a marketing plan 
  • How to create a budget 
  • Develop a new product 
  • How to develop an innovation strategy 

Writing a grant application can be difficult and may need some experience at writing. You must be accurate in your description of your organisation and activities. You’ll also need to be make a convincing case for why you should receive funding.

When applying for grants, generally you'll need to ensure you:

  • address all the merit criteria
  • show you've done your research
  • use evidence to support your claims and reference your data.

Make it clear

Make your application easy to read. We need to see how your application fulfils all the selection criteria.

This may include:

  • 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

We often have to read many grant applications. Unnecessary detail makes it hard for us to assess an 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 in both content and the figures
  • 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 the next time.

  • Seek feedback from us if available. 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 improve your application 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 some grants that may run out of funding before the close date.

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.