Grant Writing in Australia: The Complete Guide

Last Updated, 29 April, 2024
Written by <a href="" target="_self">Nicole Wren</a>

Written by Nicole Wren

person typing at a computer
Having a solid understanding of effective grant writing is an important first step to securing funding to support your project or program. In this post, we discuss what grants are, the types of grants available in Australia and how to write a successful grant application (including how to write a budget proposal for a grant). […]

Having a solid understanding of effective grant writing is an important first step to securing funding to support your project or program. In this post, we discuss what grants are, the types of grants available in Australia and how to write a successful grant application (including how to write a budget proposal for a grant). We’ll also highlight common grant writing mistakes to avoid. Whether you’re a small business owner, a nonprofit organisation, or an individual seeking funding for a project, this article has everything you need to succeed in grant writing.

What is a Grant?

If you’re new to grants, you may be wondering what a grant (and grant application) is. A grant is a sum of money provided by a government, organisation, foundation, or institution to support a specific project, program, research, or individual. Unlike a loan, grant funds usually don’t need to be repaid, meaning they are highly sought after! They are often awarded through a competitive process where applicants submit proposals outlining their project or program and demonstrating how it aligns with the goals and criteria set by the grant provider.

image of a set of grant criteria with green ticks

Writing Grants in Australia – What Grants Are Available?

In Australia, there are a range of grants available! These include:

  • Government Grants
  • Business Grants
  • Small Business Grants
  • Grants for Sports Clubs, including sporting grants in Queensland
  • Women in Sport Grants
  • Community Support Grants
  • Social Enterprise Grants
  • Environment Grants
  • Indigenous Business Grants
  • Female Founder Grants
  • Mental Health Grants

…and more! It’s important to find the right type of grants for your organisation and project.

Components of an Australian Grant Application

Once you have found a suitable grant to apply for, the application guidelines will advise which grant portal you need to submit your application through. Popular grant portals include: smartygrants, community grants hub and grant connect.

Grant management systems typically organise grant applications into several main sections to streamline the process and ensure all necessary information is collected. These sections often include:


The “Eligibility” section of a grant application is where applicants provide information to determine if they meet the criteria set by the funding organisation to receive the grant.

Contact Details

In this section, applicants need to include the contact details of the person(s) responsible for managing the grant. This is often the head of an organisation.

Organisation Details

This section collects details about the organisation or individual applying for the grant, including contact information, legal status, and eligibility criteria.

Auspice Information

“Auspice Information” in a grant application refers to details about a fiscal sponsor or auspice organisation if the applying entity does not have its own legal status or nonprofit status.

Subcontractor/Partner Information

This section requires details about any external organisations or entities that the applicant plans to collaborate with or subcontract to in order to carry out the proposed project or program funded by the grant.

Project Location

Sometimes, projects funded by grants are required to be completed in certain locations or electorates. In this section, the applicant can detail the address of the proposed activities.

Project Details

Here, applicants provide information about the project or program for which they are seeking funding. This may include the project’s objectives, activities, timeline, and expected outcomes.

Budget Details

Applicants detail the budget for their project or program, including revenue sources, expenses, and any other financial information required by the funding organisation.

Evaluation and Monitoring

This section may require applicants to outline how they will evaluate the success of their project or program and monitor its progress. It may include metrics, indicators, and evaluation methods.

Attachments and Supporting Documents

Applicants often need to submit various supporting documents, such as resumes, letters of support, financial statements, and project plans. This section allows applicants to upload these documents as needed.

Declaration and Certification

Applicants typically need to certify that the information provided in their grant application is accurate and that they comply with all relevant regulations and requirements.


Finally, applicants review their application to ensure accuracy and completeness before submitting it for review. They may also receive confirmation of submission and any further instructions for the review process.

These sections may vary slightly depending on the specific grant program and its requirements, but they generally cover the essential information needed to evaluate grant applications effectively.

How to Write a Grant Application in Australia

Grant writing can be complex. They require a thorough review of guidelines and requirements and careful planning. There are a number of steps involved with how to write a grant application in Australia, including:

Research grant opportunities and check eligibility.

Look for grants offered by government agencies, foundations, corporations, and other funding sources. Pay close attention to eligibility criteria, application deadlines, and funding priorities.

Thoroughly review the grant guidelines and instructions provided by the funding agency or organisation.

Understand the specific requirements for the application, including formatting, word limits, supporting documents, and evaluation criteria.

Get clear on what you want funded.

While sometimes, you may need to adjust your project slightly to meet grant requirements, you should have an overall project in mind that you want to get funded.

Develop a budget and project timeline. 

Break down expenses into categories such as personnel, equipment, supplies, travel, and overhead. Justify each budget item and ensure that your budget is realistic and aligned with the funding available. We explain more about how to write a budget proposal for a grant in the next section.

Gather required documentation.

Gather any required supporting documents, such as letters of support, resumes of key personnel, organisational information, and other relevant materials. Make sure these documents are organised and clearly labeled according to the grant guidelines.

Respond to grant criteria, effectively communicating the significance of your project or program.

Clearly state the purpose and goals of your proposal. Use persuasive language to highlight the importance of your project and its potential impact.

Proofread your grant application carefully to check for errors in grammar, spelling, and formatting.

Seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, or grant writing professionals to ensure clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness. Revise your proposal as needed to strengthen your arguments and improve its overall quality.

Submit On Time.

Submit your grant application before the deadline specified by the funding agency or organisation. Double-check that you have completed all required sections and included all necessary documents.

How to Write a Budget Proposal For a Grant

An important part of grant writing is writing a budget proposal, as it demonstrates how you plan to allocate the funds you’re requesting.

First, you’ll need to review the grant guidelines carefully to understand what expenses are eligible for funding and any specific requirements for budget formatting or documentation.

You can then create a detailed list of all expenses associated with your project. This should include both direct costs (e.g., personnel, equipment, supplies) and indirect costs (e.g., administrative overhead, facilities). You should research current market prices for equipment and supplies, and obtain quotes where needed.  Tip! Make sure you allow plenty of time for suppliers to send quotes, as this can be a significant source of delay. Provide a rationale for why each expense is necessary for the successful implementation of your project.

In-Kind Contributions

If you have any in-kind contributions, such as donated equipment or volunteer labour, include them in your budget proposal. Provide documentation to support the value of these contributions.

Budget Justification: Write a budget justification narrative that explains and justifies each line item in your budget.

How Many Hours Does It Take To Write a Grant Application?

The number of hours it takes to write a grant application can vary widely depending on the complexity of the grant proposal, the amount of research required, and the experience of the grant writer.

Some grants may take only a few hours to write, while others may take several weeks or even months.

On average, it can take anywhere from 20 to 200 hours to write a grant application. It’s important to carefully review the grant guidelines and requirements before starting to write, and to allow enough time to thoroughly research and prepare a strong proposal.

Using ChatGPT For Grant Writing in Australia

While ChatGPT can provide guidance and assistance with various aspects of grant writing, such as offering tips, reviewing drafts, or helping brainstorm ideas, it’s important to remember that it’s ultimately up to you to develop a compelling and effective grant proposal.

ChatGPT can help by providing information, suggestions, and feedback based on its training data, but it’s essential to supplement this with your own research, expertise, and understanding of the specific requirements and context of your grant application. Using ChatGPT for grant writing is just one resource among many that you can use to support your efforts.

Common Grant Writing Mistakes

Often, people new to grant writing tend to make similar mistakes. These include:

Not Following Guidelines

Failing to carefully read and adhere to the grant guidelines can lead to disqualification. Ensure you understand all requirements and follow instructions precisely.

Lack of Clarity and Focus

Unclear or overly complex language can confuse reviewers. Clearly state your objectives, methods, and expected outcomes in simple and concise terms.

Insufficient Supporting Documentation

Often, people underestimate the time needed to gather supporting documentation. This includes items like quotes and letters of support. We recommend starting to gather this documentation as one of your first steps. So, before you’ve started writing your application, you should contact suppliers and get the wheels in motion.

Insufficient Planning

Inadequate project planning can undermine the feasibility of your proposal. Provide a detailed project plan, including timelines, milestones, and resources required.

Overlooking Budget Details

Inaccurate or unrealistic budget estimates can weaken your proposal. Ensure your budget is well-researched, detailed, and aligned with project goals.

Ignoring the Funder’s Priorities

Failing to tailor your proposal to the funder’s priorities and goals can decrease your chances of success. Align your project with the funder’s mission and demonstrate how it meets their objectives.

Lack of Collaboration or Partnerships

Failing to demonstrate collaboration with relevant stakeholders or partners can signal a lack of community support or expertise. Highlight partnerships and collaborations that strengthen your project.

Overpromising or Unrealistic Expectations

Making unrealistic claims or promises can damage your credibility. Be honest and realistic about what you can achieve with the proposed project.

Poor Writing and Presentation

Sloppy writing, grammar errors, and formatting issues can detract from the quality of your proposal. Proofread carefully and ensure your proposal is well-written and professionally presented.

Grant writing can be a complex and challenging process, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can increase your chances of success. Hopefully you now understand what a grant is, and how to write an effective grant application. With these tips and resources, you can confidently apply for Australian grants and secure the funding you need to bring your project to life. Good luck!

If you need further assistance with your application, get in touch.

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