Application form

How do I prioritise my projects?

Start with a conversation within your organisation. Of all the things you’re requesting funding for, which are vital right now and which are future projects? Does your Strategic Plan give you some guidance about the key priorities of your organisation?

Listing what’s most important to you helps our Grants Advisory Committee make funding recommendations when faced with limited available funds. If you don’t set priorities, members of the Grants Advisory Committee will make recommendations based on what they believe are priorities in your application.

The priorities you set will be considered, but you may be funded a proposal that is not your first priority. This may be due to funds being available for specific purposes, or one of your lower priority proposals more closely meeting the grant category objectives and assessment criteria.

Why are some sections of the application form grey?

Some sections of the application form may appear in a faded grey, and you won’t be able to type responses. If a section of the form is greyed out, skip past it because it means you don’t need to complete it based on your answers earlier in the form. Alternatively, check back over your responses to earlier questions to make sure you didn’t miss a question that is relevant to your application.

Why is the CBF asking questions about gender inclusion and equity?

Supporting diverse communities sits at the heart of the CBF. Unfortunately, women are underrepresented in community media, accounting for only 42% of paid staff and 41% of volunteers. We have a responsibility to invest our grants in projects and organisations that will help bridge this gap.

We want community media organisations to think how to address gender imbalance and diversify gender at the station – e.g. volunteers (presenters, committees, Board members) or gender diverse content. We’re interested to hear about your plans to address any gender imbalance and how we can support you to do this work.

Increasing the number of women and gender diverse people you have at your station helps to bring different perspectives and can diversify your audience. For the people involved, it can be life-changing.

Importantly, if there is a gender imbalance at your station you don’t need to be reticent about telling us this and you won’t be marked down because of it. What assessors will be considering when reading your responses is your understanding of the problem and the steps you are considering to address it. If you answer ‘there is no gender inequity at our organisation’ in your application, not only is it not answering the questions it will affect the score of your application in relation to the Impacts criterion and persuade the committee to favour other applications over yours that score similarly. 

If we receive two very similar applications and one can demonstrate a commitment to increasing involvement of women, it’s more likely that organisation will receive the grant. It’s about striving for equality and achieving the greatest benefit for the community.

Read more about our approach to gender-wise grant making and view our stories of Dee-Brief, The F-WordWonder Women and 4RPH QNews radio reading for examples of programs focused on gender equality we have funded.

* CBAA 2017 Financial Health of Community Radio Survey Report

How do I complete the budget table?

Each grant application requires a budget for operational support requests and individual project budgets. A detailed description of how to complete the budget table is in the application form.

The budget should give an overview of the total Income and total Expenditure for the project, not just the amount you’re asking the CBF to contribute. List each income stream under the Income column, with the CBF grant at the top. You can use the income sources as listed in the form or write your own. Then list all items required for the project under the Expenditure column. By remembering to list all income and expenditure (not just in relation to the CBF grant funds) you will show Grant Assessors that you have a plan to cover costs the CBF grant is not covering. Tip: Your total income minus expenditure should equal zero. Make sure all funds coming in for the project (income) will be going out via expenditure.

See the table below for more guidance (click to zoom).

Table detailing Budget examples. Income column - insert CBF grant funds in first line i.e. how much you want the CBF to contribute to the total cost - can be full or part funding. Other income sources - in income column list all income streams for the activity detailing who is giving that money e.g. your station, another funding body or fundraising. Demonstrate your contribution. Amounts greater than $30K much have contributions from other sources. Expenditure column - lists costs related to the activity

What are in-kind contributions?

In your grant application budget we ask you to include any financial and in-kind contributions from your organisation and partners. An in-kind contribution is a contribution of goods or services other than money. Some examples include: voluntary labour, donated goods or donated services. In-kind contributions demonstrate that your organisation is helping to cover costs associated with your project or activity request and indicate the financial worth of such activities. They assure the assessors that you are committed to the project or activity and make for a more robust budget. A common in-kind contribution included in applications from community media organisations and content-makers is volunteer labour e.g. Audio Production @ $40p/h * 1 hours p/w * 12 weeks (in-kind) = $480. Other in-kind contributions may include Studio hire, technical support, infrastructure/IT. The calculation of your in-kind contribution is based on your best estimates. Our Wage Rates Guide may assist you with calculating volunteer labour.

For more information on in-kind contributions see: Grants: Understanding in-kind contributions

Do I have to provide supporting documents?

Your application will be stronger if you attach documents that help demonstrate evidence of need, partnerships or project planning, e.g. run sheets. Supporting documents help Grant Assessors understand your proposal more clearly and are particularly useful for larger requests. Check the section of the grant guidelines titled ‘what should you include in the application?’.

What if we don’t have a Strategic Plan?

Apply for help to get one! Our application forms ask you to attach a Strategic Plan, but we recognise that not all organisations have an up-to-date plan. If that’s the case for your organisation, you can request funding assistance to undertake a planning process as a development project in your Development & Operations grant application.

Grant funds might be used to help your organisation access a facilitator to guide this process, cover meeting expenses, printed materials or implementation resources to get planning documents together. You’ll be better placed to connect your grant application with your new Strategic Plan in the next grant round. Many facilitators are experienced in community media – view our Planning Assistance Guide for more information.

An application without a Strategic Plan or a timeline to develop one may be disadvantaged.

What are the Annual Report and financial statements requested in the application?

An Annual Report is a document in which the organisation tells its members about who was on the Board/Management Committee and what was accomplished during the year. The report should also include the annual financial statements. Typically, this would include a Statement of Income & Expenditure (or Profit & Loss), a Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet) and a Statement of Changes in Net Worth (Cash Flow Statement).

The CBF prefers but does not require that an auditor prepares financial statements provided with a grant application. If your state or national regulatory authority (e.g. Consumer Affairs Victoria, NSW Fair Trading) does not require you to submit audited statements to them, we will accept the unaudited annual financial statements approved at your Annual General Meeting. If you are one part of a larger organisation, please supply financials that provide insight into your business area only.

Why do we ask questions about your organisation’s current cash balance?

When assessors consider your Audited Financial Statements in applications, we ask them to consider the financial health and management of your organisation. Resilient community media organisations are financially and operationally fit with sufficient income from a diverse range of sources. Maintaining cash reserves is a good practice for organisations particularly if emergencies arise and grant support is not available. Demonstrating a healthy cash balance strengthens your application and will not disadvantage you when applying for CBF support.

You will however be asked ‘Why do you need CBF funding to continue or start these activities? And ‘Why can’t you fund this yourself? and the assessors will need to know why you can’t use your organisation’s own funding (as demonstrated by your cash balance and other financial documents) to complete your project or activities. You are also provided with a section entitled ‘Financial statement comments’ where you can provide further context around your cash reserves/balance e.g. income from radiothon before the end of last financial year carried over to cover operational costs in this financial year.

For more information see the CMTO’s Financial Management resource booklet

What is meant by a Strategic Plan or Business Plan?

These are planning documents developed by your organisation to guide future activities.
A Strategic Plan would usually define the values and objectives of the organisation and outline achievable goals to meet those objectives over a defined timeframe (e.g. 3-5 years).

A Business Plan is usually focused on the financial development of the organisation, outlining in detail how the organisation will meet its goals through a marketing, financial and operational perspective. View more resources on business planning.

Does your organisation need to develop your first or a new Strategic Plan? There are various planning consultants experienced in community media who may be able to assist. View our Planning Assistance Guide or view the CBAA Community Radio Station Health Check (funded by the CBF) as a start.

What does building capacity mean?

Building capacity essentially means ‘what do you need to do to make your organisation better’? This can relate to governance, operations, technical capacity or community engagement. Examples of capacity building include:

  • Developing your capacity to broadcast at the level you’re licensed for through ACMA. This might mean getting a stronger transmitter, so your signal reaches more of your allowable broadcast footprint.
  • Developing your operational capacity and financial sustainability by creating resources to help your team approach potential sponsors.
  • Seeking technical advice on your software systems to develop a membership database.
  • Reaching out to local community groups to engage them with your organisation.
  • Projects to develop the financial literacy skills of your Board members, such as accessing resources on the Our Community website.

We encourage you to view our other Frequently Asked Questions and explore our website to learn more about successful grant recipients, managing your grant, reporting, how to acknowledge the CBF and other funding opportunities. Also, don’t forget our Top 10 Tips for Applications!

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