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School grant application tips - expert advice and useful links

School grant application tips to support waste education initiatives

The implementation of school waste management infrastructure such as bins and organic waste processing equipment can be expensive and beyond the reach of the school budget. You are tasked with writing a school grants application but don't know much about it? With links to grant application portals, this guide will help you become an expert in writing a school grant applications to support waste education initiatives.

This guide provides teachers and administrators with background information they need to apply for school grants to help reduce the waste footprint of their school or early learning centre. It outlines the barriers to success such as queries about eligibility and tax status and the need for partner organisations and gives suggestions for overcoming possible hurdles.

There are a range of resources designed to make it easier for schools to apply for funding that are explained in this guide. The school grant guide also includes a wealth of practical suggestions for sourcing grants, auspicing with other organisations, writing applications that fulfill specific criteria and evaluating and reporting on your project. It lists possible philanthropic and government grants suitable for environmental education projects. Crowdfunding options are also discussed.

School grant application tips for philanthropic and other sources of grants

Funding in the form of grants can come from government departments (federal, state, local) but Philanthropy Australia reports there are also approximately 5,000 philanthropic foundations in Australia, contributing somewhere between $0.5 billion and $1 billion every year to charities and other worthy organisations. Whilst much of this is in the shape of large-scale grants and only about 6% goes towards educational outcomes—and realistically only a small proportion of that goes towards environmental education objectives—it does indicate that there is a largely untapped source of funding that can enable your waste management reform actions.

A 2014 Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) report, Leading by evidence to maximise the impact of philanthropy in education, indicates that schools are still reliant on traditional school-based events (e.g. school fetes) or government sources for fundraising because of a mismatch between schools and the philanthropic organisations, with neither fully understanding the others’ objectives and a misalignment when prioritising objectives.

Think outside the box: As a cross curricular and whole of school initiative, funding for waste education may come from several different sources. Think laterally and look for areas of synergy and commonality from beyond the most obvious sources.

Understanding tax eligibility for applying for school grants

The eligibility requirements of grant-seeking can be a minefield. In the ACER report, sixty-four percent (64%) of philanthropic respondents have tax eligibility requirements that need to be met by potential recipients. The most common of these being ‘Tax Concession Charity’ status (TCC) (58%) or ‘Deductible Gift Recipient’ status (DGR) (52%). What does this mean? This guide explains the difference.

Partnering with other organisations for waste education projects

Schools that do not initially meet the legal eligibility requirements for philanthropic funding tend to stop there, not realising that they can meet the requirements by partnering with eligible schools or auspicing with an eligible not-for-profit (NFP) organisation. In fact, scaling up your project may already increase your chances of success as many donors ‘prefer not to look at supporting individual schools but rather programs that can positively impact on numerous schools’.

Writing your school grant application

A major barrier is negotiating your way through the application process which, whilst having common elements, is not consistent across donors.

The ACER Report outlines time, personnel, and perceived return-on-investment (ROI) are huge drawbacks that prevent schools applying for grants. Don’t be put off as there is a wealth of guidance available on the internet. The Funding Centre initiative of Our Community has a range of free and paywall protected help sheets, templates and books. As a starting point try the free Writing a grant application fact sheet

This document is part of the suite of free waste education resources at www.wasteeducation-qld.org