Application process

What is community media?

The Community Broadcasting Sector Compass (PDF, 627 KB) maps out the focus, vision and aspiration of the community broadcasting sector to be media that is authentic and excellent, innovative, sustainable, accessible, trusted and diverse.

Community media is community-owned media: radio, TV and their related online activities. It is independent and not-for-profit and predominantly relies on community volunteers to produce, present and develop their own programs and share information in languages relevant to the community served.

Although there is no single definition for community media, there are at least four general characteristics widely agreed on.

– It is not-for-profit: any surplus made is reinvested in the station and the community.
– Participation is possible for community members at all organisational levels – governance, programming and operating.
– Community media outlets support and contribute to their community’s social, economic and cultural development.
– It is independent from governments, advertisers and donors.

If you are an incorporated not-for-profit organisation producing content or auspicing on behalf of an independent producer you will need to demonstrate in your grant application that you have an agreement for the distribution of your content via a recognised community media organisation. Please refer to the conditions in the grant guidelines and contact the Grants Support Team before applying.

* References: The Community Broadcasting Sector Roundtable, Media for the community, by the community by Esther Dorn-Fellerman

What grants are available?

There are two grant categories that stations can apply for:

How are CBF funding streams allocated?

Each year we receive funding from the Australian Government to distribute to the community media sector via our grants programs. Our formal agreement with the Government specifies the funding streams available which include funding for specific target areas and sector wide development initiatives. After the CBF’s administration levy is taken out, the remaining funds from the below streams are split between Content, Specialist Radio Programming, Development & Operations and Sector Investment grants as follows:

When do I apply?

There are two grant rounds in the year. Organisations are encouraged to apply for support for the upcoming financial year in Round 1 (opens January) and seek support for unexpected needs that arise in Round 2 (opens July). For the next grant round closing dates, see our key dates.

We understand that sometimes unexpected things happen – emergencies occur, and opportunities arise that might not time well with our grant rounds. Outside of our regular grant rounds, projects meeting specific criteria and funding conditions may be eligible for a Quick Response grant.

How do I apply?

  1. Read the grant guidelines for the two grant categories: Development & Operations and Content. Make sure you’re eligible to apply and take note of what may be funded and the maximum amount you can apply for. It may be useful to view what the CBF has funded previously (see our Annual Report) and our Top 10 Tips for Applications.
  2. Make a plan outlining your organisation’s various funding requests. These can be for:
    -specific projects or programs, e.g. addition of an online shop to a station website, continuing a weekly environmental program, station open day.
    -infrastructure requirements e.g. studio equipment upgrade, transmission site relocation
    -operational expenses e.g. salaries, electricity for transmission site, accounting software
  3. Engage your management committee, the people who will help write your application, manage the project, report back
  4. Identify the grant categories your requests fall into either Development & Operations or Content. Review the details of each category on our grants page and contact a member of our Grants Support Team to chat about your proposed approach.
  5. Preview the application form to get an idea of any attachments or information to you’ll need for your application, e.g. your station’s strategic plan, supplier quotes, financial reports etc.
  6. Prepare your budget. Ensure it’s realistic and accurate as you’ll be reporting back on it if you’re successful.
  7. Start work on your application in the SmartyGrants online grant application system. First-time users will need to create a log-in.
    -Development & Operations grants – one application can include multiple items and projects. You will need to detail information about the ideas, impacts and expenses for each project.
    -Content grants – you can submit multiple applications for different content projects. Firstly, complete a primary Content application form including your organisation details. For all the subsequent content applications in this round, you don’t need to fill out your organisation details; we will link them up for you.
    -For Specialist Radio Programming, you will need to complete a separate Content grant application form if your organisation is seeking support for ongoing ethnic, Indigenous or RPH programs.
  8. Review your grant application to ensure it’s easy to read. Poorly presented applications may be more difficult to read and may be scored lower when assessed. Ensure you ask others to review your application before submitting to ensure your writing is clear and free of errors.
  9. Submit your grant application by the grant deadline, ensuring all fields are completed and supporting material provided. There’s a handy checklist at the end so you can confirm everything is included.

Can I apply for more than one grant?

Yes. You can apply for a Development & Operations and a Content grant in the same round. You can also apply in both Round 1 and Round 2 within the same year.

How long does a grant application take to complete?

Generally, the time spent in producing an application and the level of detail involved depends on the amount requested, and the complexity of the project, e.g. The CBF would expect more planning and detail in a grant application for a $10,000 regional conference than for a $1,500 equipment purchase. Grantees have reported that applications take less than 12 hours to prepare.

Can I get help using SmartyGrants?

SmartyGrants is software used by the CBF to capture the information needed from our grant applicants. For technical support specifically related to SmartyGrants, view their Help Guide or contact a member of the Grants Support Team who may be able to guide you over the phone.

What if I miss a grant deadline?

Late applications will rarely be accepted unless you can make a case for truly exceptional circumstances (e.g. station fire or death in the family). Don’t risk missing out on grant funding – start your application well before the due date. We encourage all applicants to submit your proposal before the due date to avoid last minute issues.

What if my organisation received funding in Round 1?

You can apply in both Round 1 and Round 2 within the same year. The majority of grant funding is allocated in Round 1, with Round 2 primarily supporting unforeseen needs that have emerged during the year.

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