How do I apply for funding?
All Expressions of Interest must be submitted through the on-line form on SmartyGrants. We cannot accept applications directly or via any means other than SmartyGrants.
Does my organisation need Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to apply?
No. Unlike many grants programs, you do not need DGR status. However, you do need to be a not-for-profit organisation, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
How much funding can I apply for?
The minimum grant is $20,000. There is no set maximum, and a grant may be spread over several years. However, to give an indication, we expect an initial grant of over $500,000 would be unusual. If you are thinking of applying for a large grant (over $50,000), we encourage you to talk to the General Manager-Grants about potential budgets.
Make your budget realistic to cover the amount you actually need to be effective. Don’t pad your budget, in case you only get part-funding. We prefer to either support the project with the requested budget, vary the scope or decline the project. We will not give a percentage of the request and expect you to do the same activity.
What time period can the grant cover?
Grants can range from a short project (3-6 months) through to a multi-year project (eg 3 years). For multi-year projects, it is normal that the exact direction of future years may depend on progress and lessons from the early stages. Approval for funding in future years will be subject to satisfactory progress in the early stages, and the project may be refined as it progresses.
We are happy to fund projects in stages. For example, we have funded several pilot projects, and may fund the next phase if the pilot is successful.
Is our project within the scope of ‘financial literacy’?
“Financial literacy” (= financial capability) is the financial knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours necessary to make sound financial decisions, based on personal circumstances, to improve financial wellbeing.
There is no rigid boundary line. Some successful financial literacy programs are integrated with other programs. We don’t want to stifle people’s creativity, but it may be useful to give examples of what isn’t financial literacy.
Financial literacy is one of the steps towards achieving a better outcome for financial consumers and investors. There are many important steps towards a better outcome for financial consumers and investors that are not financial literacy – consumer protection regulation, dispute resolution processes, advocacy, etc.
Financial literacy is a key part of achieving financial inclusion, but delivering a more affordable financial product (such as micro-insurance or micro-finance) is not financial literacy. However, you might use your connections with product users to also deliver a financial literacy program.
One-on-one client advice services like financial counselling or financial planning are not within the scope of the grants program. However, you might use your connection with clients to also deliver a financial literacy program.
Where can I find out more about evaluation?
Evaluation is important to Financial Literacy Australia (FLA). It is critical to improving existing programs. It helps the broader financial literacy community by building up solid evidence about ‘what works well’ and what doesn’t, and why.
Where a project is shown to be successful, that is useful information – for the host organisation, for the funders and for other organisations in the field.
Where a project has operational problems or (despite best efforts) is not very effective in meeting its goals, that is useful information too. Other organisations can try to prevent that operational problem in future. They can use the experience of other pilot projects to avoid approaches that will not work well.
The FLA website resources section has helpful information on evaluation. There are useful resources on the ASIC financial literacy website, including links to evaluations of Australian financial literacy programs.
What supporting documentation is required?
If you have an evaluation report on an earlier stage of the project or relevant research that your project is built on, please attach it.
No other supporting documentation is needed for an Expression of Interest. If you are invited to submit a full application, we will clearly indicate what supporting documentation is needed.
My organisation wants support financial literacy overseas. Am I eligible to apply?
No, we only fund projects that advance financial literacy in Australia.
If my organisation has funding from another source, can we still apply?
Yes. Just mention current or potential funding (or major in-kind support) for the project in your application. We will not rule out your application because you have also sought support elsewhere. We are open to proposals for co-funding of projects or proposals from a consortium.
Our application contains sensitive information. Will the information be kept confidential?
We will respect the confidentiality of any application information that is directly related to the business activities of the applicant. FLA works with the not-for-profit organisation Our Community (SmartyGrants) to process your application. They also respect the privacy and confidentiality of application information.
As part of the application assessment process, we may need to share information from your application with referees, peer reviewers or other organisations working in the field (especially at the full application stage). You can flag certain information in your application as confidential, and we will respect that confidentiality. However, this may affect our ability to assess your application and conduct due diligence.
What makes a good application?
A good application succinctly addresses each question while giving all the information required. We encourage you to read the information on suitable projects and eligibility. Ensure your application has been proof-read to check the information is correct and clear.
What are my chances of success?
In 2016 we received 180 Expressions of Interest and funded 9 projects (some big, some small). Our website has details on funded projects.
What are common reasons for unsuccessful applications?
These insights are based on our experience and that of other grants programs.
- It is not clear what the organisation does, who it targets or how it plans to address the issue.
- The request is for the general revenue for an organisation, not a specific project.
- There is a lack of evidence that the project will give tangible benefit to a section of the community, or as much potential benefit compared to other proposals.
- It is unclear how the program will reach out to the relevant audience.
- The proposal overlaps with or duplicates a service that is already being provided.
- The project will not produce clear evaluation results, nor inspire others to do similar projects.
I need more help with my application, who can I contact?
If you need help with your application please contact us. Please leave a message with your contact details and we will call you back as soon as possible. Due to the volume of applications, we are unable to give detailed assistance with each application.
I am having technical problems with the SmartyGrants application form, who can I contact?
Please contact SmartyGrants directly during business hours on 03 9320 6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I know if my application has been received?
You will receive an acknowledgement email from SmartyGrants confirming that your application has been received. This email will include your application number along with a copy of your application.
Can we vary project details after submitting an Expression of Interest?
If you are invited to submit a full application, you can vary project details from the earlier Expression of Interest. Details are likely to change as a project is planned in more detail.
How are grant applications assessed?
Eligible applications are first assessed against the selection criteria. These assessments are then considered by a selection committee, which includes at least three directors of Financial Literacy Australia (FLA). The final decision will then be made by the FLA Board of Directors.
What happens if our Expression of Interest is successful?
If you are invited to submit a full application, there will be a streamlined application process for grants up to $50,000. Grants over $50,000 will require more detail in the assessment process. We will work with shortlisted organisations to refine proposals and consider evaluation processes (where relevant).
When will applicants find out if they are successful?
The grant round closes for Expressions of Interest mid-year (exact date varies from year to year). All applicants will be contacted about 8 weeks later about whether they will be invited to submit a full application.
If we get a grant in this round, will we be able to apply again?
Yes. We want to support effective programs. Past success will not be a bar to consideration for another grant in future (for the same project or a different project). We are very open to funding staged experiments and trials.
However, we provide limited-term project funding, not on-going funding. We want to help organisations to become self-supporting through other means over the medium term.
If we were unsuccessful before, can we apply again?
Yes. You are welcome to apply again with a varied proposal. Please review the information on the FLA website about suitable projects and selection criteria before re-applying as it may help you with your new Expression of Interest. If your previous Expression of Interest (or concept proposal) was not successful in a previous round, the same Expression of Interest is unlikely to succeed without some improvements.
Can I get feedback if I am unsuccessful?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide individual feedback due to the volume of applications we receive.
When will the next grant round open?
If you sign up to our newsletter, you will be notified when the next grant round opens.