What is a Government Grant?

Grants, whether they are from government or non-government sources, are considerably different in nature to commerical sponsorship. The methods involved in applying for a grant are also quite different from sponsorship.

The essential differences are as follows:

Sponsorship

Sponsorship is a business deal between two parties. The deal usually involves a commercial enterprise that is seeking to expand their business, generate more sales, and increase their profile and standing in the community. The organisation being sponsored must provide benefits for the sponsor enterprise that assists in achieving these objectives.

The difficulty with sponsorship is providing an acceptable return for the sponsor's investment. For example, if the enterprise provides a sponsorship to a recreation organisation of $20,000 how will they get this money back in the form of increased profits. It may be necessary for the sponsorship to generate an extra $100,000 in sales to reach an increased profit of $20,000.

Grants

Organisations that provide grants also want a return on their investment but for entirely different reasons. If a government agency provides a grant to a sport and recreation organisation it is not seeking to increase profit. The goal is to provide a benefit to the community in some form.

Typical goals might include:

See Types of Grants

Grants can also be obtained from non-government agencies. Some organisations exist for philanthropic or humanitarian reasons such as The Sidney Myer Fund. Other organisations such as the Jupiter's Casino Benefit Fund provide funds for the community benefit largely because law requires them under section 52 of the Casino Control Act, 1982.

Applying for a Grant

Generally, funding agencies provide comprehensive guidelines that determine what types of organisations can apply, what types of projects can be funded and how much funding can be obtained. In many cases, the funding agency provides an application form and the applicant must carefully complete each and every section, and provide information as required (see Key Questions in Funding Applications).

Applying for a grant can be a complicated process and often takes many hours. One of the best strategies for success is to put questions to the funding agency directly in the weeks and months before the deadline for applications. Put questions such as:

  1. Does my project fall within the funding objectives?
  2. How can I increase my chances of success in winning a grant?
  3. How will my application be evaluated? What criteria will be used?

Competitive Nature of Grants

The process of obtaining funding from government or non-government agencies is very competitive. Funding agencies usually receive, and must assess, a large number of written submissions. For this reason, funding applications need to be easy to read and appear very professional. If the assessor has any difficult with a funding application, it stands a high chance of being rejected. Organisations often hire a sponsorship consultant to prepare the funding application.

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