Community Development Grants - 2017 Funding Guidelines

NOTE: The Community Development Grants program and its Funding Guidelines are reviewed each year for continuous improvement and changes are made. You are encouraged to read the following even if you have successfully applied for a grant in the past.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Purpose

Baw Baw Shire Council (BBSC) has a proud history of working in partnership with the community and volunteers to meet local needs. One of the ways Council supports community and volunteer groups is through the annual Community Development Grants (CDG) program. The program delivers funding for community led projects and activities that reflect our community’s priorities and vision (as set out in the Council Plan 2017-2021), strengthen communities and provide opportunities for enhanced participation in public life and community groups, provide benefits to the local and/or the Baw Baw community and contribute to the social, cultural, environmental and economic development of our region.

The overarching purpose of the CDG program is to:

  • build relationships and allow Council to partner with community to support shared outcomes;
  • provide the opportunity for community to identify and respond to local issues, concerns and priorities that link with our priorities;
  • build community capacity and empower the community to take an active role in improving their quality of life;
  • foster community development, involvement and participation; and
  • promote access and equity to ensure a socially inclusive society.

Principles of Grants Operation

Baw Baw Shire Council’s approach to working with the community is underpinned by community strengthening and governance principles. These principles guide how Council work with community and help determine the projects which are prioritised for funding. These principles include:


Community Development Grants provided by the BBSC are community-driven—not donor-driven—with proposals reflecting the input of community.


Funds will be provided to successful applicants once Funding Agreements have been returned. Baw Baw Shire Council reserves the right to disburse funding based on demonstrated performance.


Baw Baw Shire Council utilises the SmartyGrants online system to provide recognised best practice grants administration.

Performance-Based Funding

The two pillars of the performance-based funding are:

Performance-Based Disbursements

BBSC decides on a staged release of funds based on demonstrated project progress and financial accountability (i.e. beginning, identified key stage and completion of acquittal - depending on the grant category and project risk).

Phase 2 Grants Champion

Successful grants recipients who demonstrate completion of a project or event and comply with all grant conditions will be in an advantageous position for the next round of funding.

Roles and Responsibilities

As the grants administrator, Baw Baw Shire Council will:

  • Develop and maintain CDG guidelines
  • Accept applications
  • Assess applications
  • Provide support to applicants.
  • Oversee the delivery of the Funding Agreement and payment
  • Review grant recipient’s reporting and provide feedback

As part of agreement of grant, the recipient will:

  • Deliver the grant in accordance with these guidelines and project scope, and subject to the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement.
  • Undertake service planning and reporting on activities and outcomes through the SmartyGrants system.
  • Share best practice with partners and/or community groups/organisations/clubs/schools

Community Development Grants Outcomes

Community Development Grants are provided to support work with the community in achieving our vision for the Baw Baw Shire, and improve the quality of life in the region. Grants are provided to not-for-profits and community organisations with priority placed on proposals that:

  • target sectors of the community that face barriers and are excluded from participation; and/or
  • focus on addressing disadvantage and strengthening social cohesion.

Applicants are required to outline how the application will contribute to one or more of the outcomes listed below. These outcomes are reflected in the community’s priorities and vision as set out in the Council Plan 2017-2021.

Vibrant Communities:

  • A vibrant, healthy and inclusive community
  • Thriving town centres, rural and remote communities.
  • People having an understanding of other people, their culture and identity.

Thriving Economy:

  • Supporting innovative, thriving and sustainable local business and industry providing local employment.

Community Safety and Sustainable Environment:

  • Protecting and sustainably managing Baw Baw’s environment.
  • Community safety and protection.

Funding Level and Category

The total budget for the 2017-18 CDG Program is approximately $300,000. There are four levels of funding available within the CDG Program: Levels A, B, C, and D.

A. Up to $3,000 for Youth, Community Events and Programs

  • This level of funding is aimed at smaller, ongoing social support or communications activities that build community connections.
  • The Youth, Community Events and Programs category provides financial support to conduct festivals, community, sporting, cultural and major events, developmental programs and programs for disadvantaged groups. Events and programs for youth aged 12-25 are encouraged.
  • Generally applications are made by local community groups with minimal or no staffing, run by volunteers. Generally the organisations are membership based with little other opportunities for funding.
  • These applications have a shorter application form.
  • Successful applicants will be required to sign a Funding Agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of funding.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide participation data.
  • Successful applicants will be required to demonstrate if the funded application has achieved Community Development Grant Outcomes.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide a report as part of their acquittal.

B. Up to $10,000 for Minor Capital Works

  • The Minor Capital Works category provides for financial support for minor repairs, renovations and equipment to buildings, clubrooms, sporting, school and other community facilities in consultation with BBSC. Examples can be coaches' boxes, synthetic grass, kitchen and toilet upgrades, access ramps, shade shelters, water tanks, building extensions, etc.
  • A letter of support for the project to apply for Community Development Grant must be provided by the landowner. This is a mandatory requirement. Applications that do not provide a letter of support will not be assessed.
  • A $1 to $1 contribution is required for all applications. Council will provide $1 for every $1 contributed by the applicant (i.e. if your project is valued at $4,000, Council will consider funding 50% or $2,000). Applicant must commit at least 25% of cash and up to 25% in-kind (which can be volunteer labour or materials).
  • The evidence of need linked to outcomes and the evaluation of the project will need to be appropriately addressed in the application.
  • Successful applicants will be required to sign a Funding Agreement.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide participation data.
  • Successful applicants will be required to demonstrate if the funded application has achieved Community Development Grant Outcomes.
  • Under this category applicants are required submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) prior to submitting their main application. To see what information is required, download this sample EoI form (print version)(PDF, 26KB) .
  • EoI is a process to assist prospective applicants to write a quality application. It also allows Council to assist with providing support for a project. The process will also ensure that the relevant landowner consents to the works and the desired project outcomes are met.
  • An EoI should be submitted by email by 9 July 2017. Once you have submitted the EoI, Council Officers will be in contact with you within a week to provide advice on your application and a letter of support.
  • An EoI is not mandatory this year but is strongly encouraged. In the following years an EoI will be mandatory.

C. Up to $ 2,000 for Environmental Projects

  • The Environment Programs category provides funding for activities that will enhance a community group’s capacity to run or promote programs with a benefit to the environment.
  • Applicants can propose projects to support natural and built components of environment, sustainable gardens and/or capacity building of an environmental group. For example: Natural components can be any direct input into environment through tree planting, water quality testing, vegetation protection etc. Built components can be supporting energy sustainability. For example, the installation of a solar power/panel in a local community hub. Capacity building can support training or workshop cost of an environmental group.
  • These applications have a shorter application form.
  • Successful applicants will be required to sign a Funding Agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of funding.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide participation data.
  • Successful applicants will be required to demonstrate if the funded application has achieved Community Development Grant Outcomes.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide a report as part of their acquittal.

D. Up to $5,000 for Minor Equipment Purchase

  • It is envisaged that equipment/s would be quintessential for successful operation or delivery of services for communities. For example, a club may need very special equipment such as hearing aids, communication boards, or wheels chairs to improve the accessibility. For a community garden, the equipment can be a lawn mower, etc.
  • The evidence of need linked to outcomes and the evaluation of the project will need to be appropriately addressed in the application.
  • Successful applicants will be required to sign a Funding Agreement.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide participation data.
  • Successful applicants will be required to demonstrate if the funded application has achieved Community Development Grant Outcomes.
  • Applicants should, where possible, seek to buy locally.

Overview of General Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for a CDG applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be a not-for-profit constituted body, such as an incorporated association (or be auspiced by one) or have an established legal entity.
  • If the organisation is not incorporated or doesn’t have an ABN you will be required to provide the details of an auspice organisation. The auspice will receive the grant funding on your behalf and will ultimately be responsible for the acquittal.
  • Applicants must be located and/or offer a project within in BBSC’s municipal area.
  • Applications must have a focus on BBSC’s local communities and/or communities who are considered vulnerable.
  • Applicants must have fully acquitted previous completed grants and have no outstanding debts to BBSC.
  • Activities must be accomplished by 31 December 2018.
  • Only one application per applicant will be considered.
  • Applications must be submitted on time. Late submissions are not considered.

Note that a single project, event, activity or project will only be considered for one grant category at a time.

What Will Not be Funded

  • Commercial activities, organisations and individuals.
  • Fundraising activities, competitions, prizes and award exhibitions.
  • Permanent staff costs.
  • Organisational core operating costs such as funding for staff members, insurance and utilities.
  • Interstate or international travel costs, including costs for facilitators, performers etc. to travel to or from BBSC municipality area.
  • Projects that duplicate existing services and programs.
  • Projects with a sole religious or political purpose.
  • Activities, projects, programs and events that have already taken place.
  • Activities, projects, programs and events that have already been funded through other BBSC programs or activities, another grant and sponsorship program, or through an existing funding agreement with the BBSC.
  • BBSC owned or run activities, projects, programs and events.
  • Projects that have previously received funding three times.
  • Applicants who have outstanding debt to Council and/or overdue acquittals.

Assessment Process and Criteria


After the grants program has closed and once your application is received:

  • Applicant will receive an email confirming receipt of application.
  • Council officers review all applications for eligibility. Ineligible applicants will be notified that their application is ineligible.
  • An independent external assessment panel made up of community members along with designated Council officers use the ‘Assessment Criteria’ to assess all eligible applications
  • Assessment panel members are not published online
  • The external panel and Council officers make recommendations to Council for funding
  • BBSC considers the funding recommendations at a confidential council meeting
  • BBSC makes the final decision on the outcome of all eligible applications
  • All applicants will receive a letter with the result of their application
  • Information about grant decisions will not be released over the telephone


The Community Grants program is a competitive application process. Applications are assessed against the assessment criteria below. BBSC receives more funding applications than it can support. Therefore, successful applications are those that best respond to the assessment criteria.

BBSC reserves the right to reject any application that does not meet the eligibility criteria or the assessment criteria. BBSC also reserves the right to request further information in considering applications. Assessment panels may recommend part funding. This decision is carefully considered with the view of maintaining the integrity of the proposal. To give your application the best chance, ensure the information included in the application addresses these criteria.

The general assessment criteria are provided below and apply to all applications.

Level A: Planning and Capacity

This section will determine has the applicant:

(Each criterion weights 5 points with a total of 30 points under this level)

  • Planned their project;
  • Completed all sections of the application;
  • Provided a realistic project timeline and budget;
  • Attached relevant support material;
  • Does the applicant have the ability to deliver the project?
  • Is the project achievable?

Level B: Community Outcomes

For applications up to $3,000 for Category A and C

Given the small level of funding for applications up to $3000, there is a shorter application form and simpler assessment criteria are applied. They are listed below;

Alignment to the Community Grants outcomes:

(Each criterion weights 5 points with a total of 20 points under this level)

  • How does the application support the Community Grants outcomes? (The extent to which the project addresses a community need, or reflects a clear community benefit.)
  • Demonstrated partnerships between community, groups and organisation.
  • Is there a clearly identified need for this application?
  • Does the budget accurately reflect the scope of the application?
  • Is the application financially viable?

For applications over $3000 for Category B and D

Alignment to the Community Grants outcomes :

(Each criterion weights 5 points with a total of 35 points under this level)

  • How does the application support the Community Grants outcomes? (The extent to which the project addresses a community need, or reflects a clear community benefit.)
  • How many local and / or vulnerable people are likely to participate? (The extent to which the facility is made available for use to the general public.)
  • Is the facility accessible to all including those with a disability or is there a plan to improve accessibility for all? (Note: This criterion is not applicable for Minor Equipment Purchase instead how the equipment will add value to its user will be assessed.)
  • Does the budget accurately reflect the scope and scale of the application?
  • Have other funding sources been identified?
  • Have the resources that are required to deliver the project been clearly identified?
  • Is the application financially viable and does it demonstrate sound management?

Applications to be assessed based on merit. Environmental Projects and Youth, Community Events and Programs will be assessed out of 50 points. Minor Capital Work and Minor Equipment Purchase will be assessed out of 55 points).

Grants Terms and Conditions

If your application is successful, you will be required to:

  • Sign a funding agreement or a letter of agreement with BBSC that provides details about the terms and conditions of funding that includes implementation, and reporting.
  • The funding agreement or letter of agreement will outline data collection and reporting requirements specific to your application.
  • In some instances, you may be required to meet or discuss your project with the Community Development Officer and provide revised information.
  • Issue the BBSC with a tax invoice for the grant amount. If the applicant is GST registered, BBSC will pay the grant plus GST subject to receipt of a valid tax invoice.
  • For any single purchase or item of expenditure between $500 to $3,000, applicants must provide at least two quotations. For expenditure items valued over $3,000, applicants must provide three quotations from a competent vendor during application. If quotes are provided by family, friends or committee members, you are required to declare this. Applications that do not provide adequate quotes will not be assessed.
  • Supply all requested information prior to any funding being released.
  • Submit paperwork within the allocated time frames. Funding is allocated from specific financial year budgets and if paperwork is not submitted within the allocated time frame, then funding is forfeited by the funded organisation.
  • Use the funding allocated for the purposes specified in the application. Grants may not be used for any purpose other than for which it is granted, without the written permission of BBSC.
  • If there are significant changes that you would like to make to your project, applicants must submit a Community Grant Variation Form and have it approved by respective Council Officer.
  • Deliver the project within the allocated budget. BBSC will not be responsible for shortfalls in project budgets if the applicant is unable to meet project costs.
  • BBSC must be acknowledged in all promotional materials relating to the successful application, including use of the logo.
  • Mayor and Councillors are to be invited to attend any significant launches or events associated with this project.
  • Complete the project by 31 December 2018.
  • Provide an acquittal report at the end of the project that includes the data collection requirements agreed to in the funding agreement or letter of agreement.

Stages of Grant Management Process

Community Development Grants program management will follow different stages to ensure that the grant is managed efficiently and effectively. The stages are:

  • Pre-eligibility Screening
  • Assessments
  • Notifying Successful and Unsuccessful Applicants
  • Agreement Signing and Fund Disbursement
  • Progress Reports
  • Acquittals
  • Variation

Other Factors that Influence the Final Decisions for Funding Include:

  • Supporting as many local organisations as possible and providing opportunities for new and emerging organisations and communities.
  • Other funding provided to organisations by BBSC.
  • Supporting a variety of organisations, community outcomes and community target groups.

Essential attachments for all applications

Ideally applicants must provide a certificate of currency for public liability or other relevant insurance etc. where applicable. Alternatively, applicants can provide a risk assessment document identifying risks associated with their application and explaining how these risks will be managed. Council may determine that the risk assessment document is inadequate and require appropriate insurance coverage prior to releasing funding.


Canvassing or lobbying of councillors, employees of BBSC or assessment panel members in relation to any grants and sponsorship application is prohibited during the application process.

No further consideration will be given to an application submitted by an applicant that canvasses or lobbies a councillor, BBSC employee or assessment panel member in relation to their application.

Completing your application

Applications will be submitted and managed online via a dedicated SmartyGrants application page.

Applications will automatically be closed by the SmartyGrants system at 3pm on 18 August 2017.

Do not leave submission of your application until the last minute. If there is heavy use of the system with others submitting applications, there may be delays which will affect your ability to fully lodge your application before the deadline.

Applications submitted after 3pm on 18 August 2017 will not be accepted.

When your application is fully submitted you will receive an automated email containing a PDF copy of your application and confirmation that it has been received.

If you experience technical issues with the SmartyGrants system contact them directly via email or by phone on (03) 9320 6888.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kind of things can I apply for?

A: To get an idea about the type of applications that have been funded in the past, visit the website and review last year’s recipients Grants.

Q: My organisation is located in Morwell, can I apply?

A: To be eligible, organisations must be located within, or offer a project within, the Baw Baw Shire Municipality.

Q: My group is not incorporated, can I apply?

A: To be eligible, applications must come from a not for profit community organisation that is a legal entity. If you are an individual or an unincorporated group, you will be required to find an auspice prior to applying for a Community Grant. If you apply under the auspice an organisation, the BBSC requires that you provide a letter from your auspice confirming that they agree to this arrangement. Note that for successful applicants that have an auspice, BBSC pays the grant to the auspice

Q: How many applications can I submit?

A: Council will only fund one application per organisation per funding round. Applications can be made to other parts of Council for different projects and initiatives.

Q. What is an EoI?

A: Expression of Interest (EoI) is a process to assist prospective applicants to help writing a quality application. It ensures that applicants are well prepared in writing project activity and understand the budget properly in advance. It also aims to ease Council to decide on funding to support the project. For the current grant round EoI is essential for all Minor Capital Work projects which will become mandatory for future rounds.

Q. Do I need to put an EoI for Minor Equipment Purchase?

A: No for Minor Equipment Purchase program EoI is not required.

Q. What is a Section 86 (3) Committee of Management?

A: This is a delegation made under Section 86 (3) of the Local Government Act 1989 and in accordance to the Council Resolution dated 23rd October 2013. This delegation provides certain power and responsibilities to a Committee of Management (the COM, or Committee) to act as an agent of Baw Baw Shire Council and not as an independent entity in managing the council assets entrusted in the committees care.


Got questions or need help?

Information sessions

Information Sessions provide a brief overview of the CDG program. Council officers will be in attendance to provide general advice and also to discuss your specific project. There are currently two sessions scheduled:

  • Wednesday 28 June 2017 at 6-8pm at Logan Park, Warragul.
  • Tuesday 4 July 2017 at 6-8pm at the Drouin Golf Club.

Application assistance

Council Officers are available to assist with the application process. You are encouraged to contact the Strategic and Community Planning Team on 5624 2411 or by email to make a booking for assistance. Assistance will be provided particularly where there is:

  • difficulty with the language on the forms
  • difficulty with access to or familiarity with technology (i.e. the online application system, etc.).

Please come prepared. It is asked that you thoroughly read through the guidelines and application forms so you are aware of the type of information required.

It is also asked that you please bring with you:

  • An idea that you plan to apply for
  • A draft version of the application you may have started already online
  • An idea of budget and in-kind support
  • If you can’t access the application form, let us know when you book and we will provide you with a hard copy.

General Enquiries

For general enquiries about Community Development Grants, please contact the Strategic and Community Planning Team by email or by calling on 5624 2411.