Inspiration for your Development & Operations grant

December 18, 2019

Looking to apply for a Development & Operations grant? Here’s some inspiration for the types of activities we’ve supported in the past.


Good governance it at the heart of all successful organisations. Our grants can help support community media organisations enhance their governance practices including strategic planning, developing policies and procedures, risk management, recruiting and managing staff and volunteers and and technology planning. Here are some ways we have helped other organisations.

Health check

We helped the CBAA develop the Community Radio Station Health Check . This free online self-assessment tool can help you see how well your station’s processes, activities and relationships align with best governance practices and identify areas for improvement. Your report is a good supporting document for your grant application.

Strategic planning

It’s important to actively planning for the future. This is why we strongly encourage organisations to undertake a thorough strategic planning process to identify their goals and what they need to do to achieve those goals in the short and long term.

We have helped lots of community media organisations undertake a strategic planning process (including 3MDR) covering costs like a consultant/facilitator, venue hire and catering. If this is what your organisation needs, check out our Strategic Planning Resources  for tips on developing a strategic plan on a page.

Transparency, policies and procedures

In our grant applications we encourage applicants to provide links to strategic plans, annual reports and governance policies. Having these documents readily available encourages a culture of openness and transparency between you, your community and potential funders. .At the CBF we publish our Strategic Plan, Annual Reports, Constitution and other policies on our website.

The benefits of greater transparency include:

  • less time spent explaining goals and strategies to potential funders and donors
  • stronger and more open relationships with funders, donors and other stakeholders
  • increased community trust.

Technology planning

Planning for the future includes considering your technology needs. It’s important for your organisation to have adequate equipment to stay on-air.

It’s also important for your organisation to perform regular checks, maintenance and redundancy tests, and in some instances routinely swap and rest equipment like transmitters, to prolong the life of equipment.

This simple technology replacement plan template can help you to track and budget for computer and equipment replacement. Computers are usually replaced every five years (or refurbished computers every three years), with smaller equipment like cameras and recorders updated every three years. Larger equipment like transmitters and studio mixers are replaced approximately every 10 years.

Recruiting and maintaining a diverse and skilled Board/Committee

A number of studies have found that having a diverse board can bring about better organisational performance – both financial and non-financial. Increasing the variety of people who serve on your board offers the opportunity to tap into a rich pool of talented candidates, bringing new voices, experiences and approaches to the decision-making process.

Some ways you can improve your Board/Committee diversity include:

  • articulating your commitment to reflect the diversity of your community on your website and in promoting Board/Committee positions
  • reviewing your governance policies to formalise appropriate behaviours and attitudes to support of your commitment to diversity
  • updating your Constitution to require gender balance
  • regularly tracking and promoting your progress in meeting diversity targets for your Board/Committee and volunteers
  • promoting board/committee opportunities widely using websites like the Institute of Community Directors Australia and Women on Boards.

Sustainable operations

We want to improve the financial sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of community media.

Increasing and diversifying income sources

We believe it’s important to encourage community media organisations to leverage CBF funding to increase and diversify other income sources including sponsorship, donations, crowdfunding, memberships, events, sales/services and other grants (see The Seven Pillars of Fundraising).

When considering how you might diversify other income sources, ask yourself: What are the best ways for your organisation to earn funds from new sources?

For C31 Melbourne and Geelong, the potential loss of access to free-to-air television energised the station to look for other income sources to compliment the sponsorship model. Using their story-telling, video production and social media skills C31  established Community Builder – a social enterprise supporting non-profits to tell their story using video and social media. In 2017 we partnered with C31 and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to kick-start Community Builder, which is already making a profit.

Sharing resources to reduce costs

A great way for community media organisations to save costs is to share resources.

We helped set up the Christian Media Hub to support four Christian radio stations in regional NSW – Life FM Bathurst, Dubbo’s 94.3 and 103.5 FM Orange. This hub shares programming, sponsorship, donor, community engagement, fundraising and administrative services, saving each station money while accessing skills they couldn’t afford separately. The Christian Media Hub also coordinates shared outside broadcast equipment for use between the stations to cover and share content from local events.

We also supported SACBA, the peak body for community broadcasters in South Australia, to establish an Equipment Bank for member stations to borrow items when breakdowns occur or to try out a new piece of equipment and experiment with different set-ups.

Environmental policies and action plans

The CBF’s Environmental Sustainability Policy encourages community media organisations to consider how they can reduce their impact on the environment.

The first step towards reducing your environmental impact is to establish or review your Environmental Policy to emphasise your commitment to reducing your environmental impact. Once your policy is in place you can begin brainstorming actions you will undertake. We’ve written this resource to help you establish or review your Environmental Policy and Action Plan.

Reducing energy consumption/costs

Your Environmental Policy and Action Plan may include an action to undertake an Energy Assessment. An energy assessment is a review of all the ways your organisation could save money and the environment by making changes to your facilities and processes. You’ll receive a report with more actions to add to your Action Plan which might include upgrading your lighting, heating/cooling, water systems, equipment, insulation and potential for solar power.

With this report you can begin to prioritise, plan and budget for actions you should take to make your organisation more environmentally friendly and reduce operational costs.

Your Environmental Policy and Action Plan and Energy Assessment report can also be used as evidence to help build your case for support in your Development & Operations grant application.

In 2018 Richmond Valley Radio received a Development & Operations grant of $37,000, plus a NSW Community Building Partnership grant of $8,000, towards solar panel infrastructure at their transmission site. The station is saving an estimated $9,600 per year in electricity costs, alleviating pressure on station resources to focus more on content production and freeing up more CBF funding for other purposes.

Building community

Reflecting the diversity of your community

For licensed community broadcasting stations, it’s important to be aware of the demographics that make up your community of interest, and ensure you are representing the diverse voices for and by your community.

You can find information about your community from many sources including:

You can help address inequality in the media sector by comparing the diversity of your participants with the diversity of participants at other local commercial, public and community media organisations. For example, women and girls are under-represented in Australian media which is why the CBF is committed to gender-wise grantmaking, and why our Diversity, Access and Equity Policy ensures the CBF reflects the diversity of the community media sector.

You could establish or review your Diversity Policy to emphasese your commitment to reflecting the diversity in your community. Then you can begin brainstorming how to support more First Nations people, women, young people, seniors, people with a disability, LGBTIQ+ people, culturally and linguistically diverse people and economically disadvantaged people to participate at your organisation.

Training new (and old) volunteers

You’ve identified who you need to engage in your community, you’ve run outside broadcasts at community events, signed up new volunteers, and now it’s time to train them. Learning new skills in media-making and running a community station can be a transformative experience for your volunteers, staff and Board. It can also breathe new life and ideas into your whole station!

With help from the CBF, your station could access experienced trainers to deliver training that meets your needs. From developing your broadcasters’ presentation and production skills to expanding your team’s governance, financial and leadership skills, we have specific funds available to help you build your station’s capacity through training.

For more information, see how to apply for training funding.

4TVR 92.3 received a grant in 2018 to train their team in the technical aspects of running a successful outside broadcast, making engaging content for live audiences and audio editing.

Outside broadcasts in your community

Running outside broadcasts at local events is a great way to engage your local community. In the past,  we’ve supported stations to cover local government meetings, local sports events, community celebrations and school lunchtime activities.

In 2018 Radio MAMA received a grant to upgrade outside broadcast equipment to make it easier for their team to get out into the community.

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