Funding – Where to start and what to know

Where to go to find out about funding?

Fundview and other databases

Computer databases of funding agencies throughout New Zealand. See Funding Information Service section for a list of where Fundview is available.

Funding Expo and Workshops

A Funding Expo is held in Hamilton during March.  The Expo is free to attend and people can talk to funders one on one about a specific project or funding questions.  Keynote speakers also give tips and ideas on fundraising etc.

Local funding workshops are planned for 2011 – for more information on venues and dates, contact the Community Development Coordinator at South Waikato District Council on 07 885 0776.

Local newspapers

Most funding agencies advertise their funding round in the local newspapers.  Keep checking the Public Notices for advertisements.

First priority – plan your group’s fundraising well ahead!

  • Gather information on suitable funders you need to approach for your funding – if they have a website there is usually a lot of additional information to assist your application. 
  • Funding agencies have set dates to consider funding applications – sometimes only once a year.  Have a diary of when the Closing Dates are, (and one month prior), for every grant your group is eligible to apply for, to ensure your application isn’t a last minute rushed effort.
  • Make sure your application arrives in time, or the opportunity will be lost until the next funding round – maybe until the following year. Usually late applications are not accepted.

Getting Organised

Be prepared

  • Consider allocating the task of completing funding applications to one person, so they will become familiar with the processes and information required.
  • The best funding advice is to keep a FUNDING FOLDER.  In this folder, you should keep all information usually required to accompany an application form.  (See page on ‘What information do you need to complete a Funding Application?’ for a full list.)
  • Some funders, like the gaming machine trusts, require that you provide Minutes of previous meetings.  Make sure you note your intention to raise funds in the Minutes.
  • Keep a file of news clippings, letters of support, flyers of previous events or projects, to show your potential funder what your group has had success achieving.
  • Keep in your folder, photocopies of application forms from previous years to help you fill out subsequent applications.
  • Keep a list of the results of applications sent – successful or unsuccessful.  It will provide a good record to fill in subsequent applications when previous grants need to be listed, and allow you to mark off when accountability forms have been returned.
  • Remember – you may not always be the person applying for your group’s funding.  The more organised are your records, the easier it will be for the next person to take up the task.  They will certainly appreciate it!

Establish Your Funding Requirements

Identify suitable funders

List the items/projects you need funding for. Match your ‘wish list’ with the funders you are eligible to apply to for that specific item/project; and take note of the application Closing Dates against your timeframe for needing the funds.

Set goals

Have a specific project that you require funding for.  If your committee has developed a plan to complete the work, this shows the funder you have thought the project through and are more likely to finish the project.

List your resources available

People/labour donated, working bees, funds on hand, donated goods, all add towards your ‘income’ towards a project.  Outlining these in your funding applications shows the funder your willingness to contribute to the project costs.


  • Many funding agencies expect you to contribute a portion of the cost towards your project.  This means raising money in others ways within your group to meet this criteria, not just seeking funder contributions.
  • Some funders will require that you will need to return grants given if they are not used within a specific time.  You will need to ensure you can raise adequate funds to meet the total project cost within the period before unspent grants must be returned. However if you are close to your goal, adviser your funders and request a time extension – they may even suggest they can help with a final top-up.

Application Forms

Check the Application Criteria carefully

  • Make sure the funder you are approaching will consider the reason for your request so that you don’t waste your effort applying for funding which their criteria does not support.
  • If a funders application criteria will support administration/ running expenses only, ask for funding to assist with these costs, and save your on-hand funds for the specific project or event your club is undertaking.

Photocopy the form before you write on it

  • It pays to do a draft application on a photocopied form and have someone else look at it first, before you write the final application.  Also keep a photocopy of the completed application form sent in.  This is important if the funder contacts you with a query and you can’t remember what was written on the form.

Filling in the application

  • Use BLACK pen.  It photocopies clearer when multiple copies are produced for the funding allocation committee.
  • Use the LEGAL name for your organisation – that which is on your bank statement and documents.  Put your commonly-known name in brackets following it, if applicable.
  • Write clearly, or have someone with neat handwriting fill in the final copy.  Alternately produce the answer on a computer and cut and paste the answers into the correct sized space on the application form.  Do not fold over longer pasted-on typed answers; they will not photocopy or may cover part of the following question when unfolded.
  • Funders want brief, clear answers to their questions. ‘What – How – When’ for your project description, ‘Why’ for the benefits or the proposed project/service.  Bullet points are quite acceptable.  Remember, funders have to read through many applications.
  • Do not leave blank spaces.  Always answer every question: if the question is not applicable – say so.  Funders with hundreds of applications to review may put your application in the ‘incomplete’ or ineligible pile.
  • Never print in the answer space “See attached”.  Always write a brief answer, then you can refer to an attached item for more information, which should be clearly marked on the attachment.
  • Remember that highlighter pens do not show up on photocopies.
  • Don’t over-inflate your budget to receive more funds (funders have a fair idea of actual costs) or underestimate project costs and end up with a shortfall.
  • Always check your additions in your project budget figures.
  • Always note on your financial records if Accumulated Funds are tagged for specific purposes, like a new building fund, annual conference/tournament etc.
  • Make sure you only send relevant attachments with your application form, keeping in mind they may need to be photocopied for distribution to members of funding committees.

Daytime contacts

  • When forms ask for contact numbers during the day, make sure the contacts are available.  Most funders are calling from work and if they can have their question answered over the phone it speeds up the process and may work to your advantage.  If they can’t get hold of the contact person named after several tries, the application may be labelled ineligible and not considered for funding.

Ask for help

  • If you have any questions when you are filling out an application form, always ring the contact person from the funder organisation.  They are keen to offer help and answer questions. Quite often a quick phone call or email will save incorrect applications being sent in and the contact person may have some helpful tips for your application.

Best Practice

  • Show appreciation, say and mean “thank you”, send letters/photos of thanks or put acknowledgement of their funding support in your newsletters and annual reports.
  • Keep funders and sponsors informed on the progress of your project.  By keeping a good relationship with funders/sponsors, asking for more funding should be easier next time.
  • Don’t forget to return your accountability statements, if required. If you forget, it may make your group ineligible for further funding.

What information is needed to complete an application?

There are a number of specific documents and information generally required for a funding application.  It is suggested this information is filed into your Funding folder, so it is readily available if and when required.  You probably won’t need it all for some applications – its just being prepared in case you do!

  • Profile or summary of your organisation:  your purpose/activity/services, your history and how long you have been established, your membership numbers, your trustees names, your future plans or goals.
  • Your group’s LEGAL name (on bank account); add commonly-used name in brackets on an application form, if applicable.
  • Type of group – charitable trust, non-profit body, incorporated society.
  • Copy of evidence of group’s affiliation to recognised National or Regional body.
  • GST number, if applicable.
  • IRD tax exemption certificate (letter) if registered as tax exempt.
  • Pre-printed bank deposit slip, or stamped and verified bank deposit slip.
  • Copy of latest bank statement of your group.
  • Financial documents such as Income and Expenditure Statement for the last 12 months certified as correct by group’s Executive, and ‘reviewed’ or audited Annual Accounts.
  • What the grant is specifically required for and the amount requested.
  • Cost breakdown (proposed budget) of your project/expenses.
  • Two or three competitive quotes, or written explanation if several are not available.
  • Sources of other funding for this project, and what funding is already raised.
  • Where do you intend to get further funding for the project (if required).
  • Resolution to apply for funding – included in the group’s Minutes of Meeting and resolved as a true and accurate record are the next meeting, included in the following month’s Minutes of Meeting.
  • Signatures of Secretary and other Executive members – President or Treasurer.
  • Contact details of Referees (usually two) and Auditors contact details.
  • Other supporting material such as news clippings of your intent to raise funds, letters of support from recognised groups/people, can be useful.


If your group is incorporated:

  • Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Common seal may be required to be stamped onto application form.