Development & Operations grant

What does the CBF Development & Operations funding objective mean?

The current objective for Development & Operations grants is to support community media organisations to be healthy, resilient and robust. In turn this will help create a stronger society based on greater participation, engagement and cohesion.  

This year, as we continue to recover from the impacts of a pandemic, we will support community media organisations to engage with their communities through this difficult time.  

As part of your community broadcasting licence, you’re required to encourage members of your community to get involved at your station. This means engaging the diverse members of your community to ensure you’re representing the diverse voices of your community on air. 

Community engagement also refers to engaging with community media audiences. 

To find out more about what we mean by community engagement see CBF grants: What does community engagement mean? 

See also Inspiration for your Development & Operations grant application for more info.

How much should we apply for?

You should apply for what you need to continue your good work and also for seed funds to get new ideas established.

As part of your Development and Operations grant submission, you should consider applying for core operational costs such as:

1. Transmission expenses for primary and secondary/translator sites (site rental, electricity at the transmission site/s, ongoing studio to transmitter linking costs if you do not use a microwave link).
2. Salary subsidies for key personnel and technical support (be aware it is unlikely we will cover the full cost of wages and on-costs)
3. Costs associated with your financial management such as accountant and auditor services.

You can also apply for infrastructure requirements to maintain and develop your services, including the cost of equipment, freight, installation and testing.

Alternatively, you can also request support for development projects such as strategic planning, promotional activities, training activities, business development and income diversification plans or any range of activities that meet the objectives of the Development & Operations grant category as outlined in the grant guidelines.

Your application will be assessed based on how the amount of funding requested compares to your expected outcomes. For example, you could apply for funding to support your transmission electricity costs while committing to review your governance policies and improve the gender balance at your organisation.

What is an exceptional business case?

Due to the highly competitive nature of the Development & Operations grant program, if your organisation has an average annual income over the past three years greater than $700,000 and you intend to seek support for core operations in your application, you will need to make an exceptional business case in order to be successful. Applicants with this level of income are discouraged from seeking support for core operations except where your organisation supports high levels of specialist programming content or where there are extenuating circumstances.

An exceptional business case may demonstrate the following:

  • a clear justification and explanation of why the CBF should support your request for funding. What has happened that would encourage the Grants Advisory Committee to consider making an exception for your organisation in this instance?
  • Options for possible solutions. Make a strong link between what you are requesting and the solution it will provide and if possible, provide multiple solutions for the Grants Advisory Committee to consider.
  • Strong demonstration of impact – what are the significant outcomes for your organisation and for the sector that make your case exceptional?
  • Tell a story. While the facts and the numbers help you make your case, tell the story that emphasises your need
  • Explain clearly why you need CBF support and why you can’t cover these operational costs from your own funding sources

Are some activities prioritised over others?

Some activities may be prioritised depending on available funds as defined by CBF funding providers.

How much funding is available?

The Department of Communications and the Arts allocates funds to the CBF to support particular activities. There are dedicated funds to support:

  • Transmission expenses
  • Indigenous broadcasting
  • Ethnic broadcasting
  • RPH broadcasting
  • Training
  • Other purposes (general funding)
  • Occasional funds allocated to particular purposes, e.g. support 800Mhz transfer requirements.

Funding is allocated to support activities that fall under those objectives, e.g. stations broadcasting weekly ethnic programs may be allocated grants from ethnic broadcasting funds.

The amounts available for each allocation to support particular activities are published in the grant guidelines for each grant round. It is worth noting that the majority of funding is allocated in Round 1 grants, with Round 2 primarily supporting unforeseen needs that have emerged during the year.

In addition to your grant application, we encourage you to look at other ways of raising income. We have some inspiration for you – see our other funding ideas!

What is meant by membership fees?

Membership fees refer to organisational and individual memberships of other organisations. We expect broadcasters will self-fund membership to relevant organisations such as the CBAA, NEMBC, the Funding Centre or relevant industry unions.

What happens if we don’t supply three supplier quotes for infrastructure requests?

Your application will most likely receive a lower score against the implementation assessment criteria if you have fewer than three quotes for each piece of equipment you want to purchase. It signals you have not demonstrated clear planning for the activity. You have an opportunity in the form to explain why you did not include three quotes, however.

Our Supplier list may provide insight into different companies able to help.

Are basics like studio rent, power and insurance considered operational support?

Yes, those basics can qualify for support through a Development & Operations grant. You can apply for support for any expenses that your station has – but you’ll need to describe in the application what you are requesting support for and why your organisation needs the CBF to help with it.

If you are applying for operational costs, please attach previous invoices from providers or identify these costs in your financial statements. Demonstrate the support you need for our Grant Assessors. Please do not upload dozens of bills to demonstrate that you have basic operational costs.

You will already be attaching your most recent audited financial statements with your application which may provide some context for your request. It is helpful if you provide some supporting documentation for any expected increases to your costs or reasoning for why you need help with a particular request.

Can we apply for funds to keep just in case some equipment breaks down unexpectedly?

The failure of some equipment may be difficult to predict which is why we offer Round 2 of grant funding each year. Your station may need to borrow equipment or use backup equipment in between grant rounds. We would encourage stations to develop a cash reserve for equipment emergencies wherever possible through income-generation. While it’s good practice for stations to have backup equipment, it’s unlikely that our funds can extend to provide backup equipment for all community media.

Our Quick Response grants help stations to replace damaged or destroyed essential equipment to restore basic transmission following an unforeseen event. You can apply for an Quick Response Grant at any time, but it’s best to contact us in the first instance to confirm if your circumstances qualify.

Where can we get advice about which equipment is best?

There are many avenues for researching the best technological solutions for your station’s needs. One quick option is to post a question on Technorama’s Community Radio Tech Q&A Facebook group, and the techs on that page might be able to point you in the right direction.

Could we employ a full-time Station Manager funded by an annual grant?

You can request funding support for the full amount of an annual salary but keep in mind, funds are limited. If that’s a need within your station, be mindful that our Grants Advisory Committees will be balancing salary requests against other station needs such as equipment and the funding priorities in the Development & Operations grant guidelines. You are most likely to receive support if you are undertaking or planning activities that meet those objectives and if your submission demonstrates the potential to sustain an ongoing salary in the future. That said, if funding support to this level is a priority for your station, you can certainly explain that in your grant application.

What should I include in a Position Description?

If you are applying for funding to support a new role, it’s important to demonstrate strategic thinking and planning. Attaching a Position Description helps our Grant Assessors better understand why the role is needed. Download our Guide to Writing a Position Description.

What is an organisational chart?

An organisational chart graphically represents the structure of your organisation including paid staff and volunteers. An example is below – click to enlarge.

Example of an organisational chart including Board, Admin, Station Manager, Technician, Broadcasters, Fundraising Committee, Programming Committee and Membership Admin. Each details if a role is voluntary or paid and how many people work in this role.

What additional documentation should I provide to support my application?

Any evidence that supports the claims in your application, either regarding information or finances, will help verify your grant request. This includes:

  • Scanned documents such as recent bills, invoices, lease agreements and quotes.
  • Supporting documentation for partnership arrangements such as letters of support or short video files expressing community support for a project proposal.
  • Do you quote research or support for your project using data? Attach a copy to your application.
  • Are you applying for studio infrastructure? Provide a diagram of your set-up – how many studios, the purpose of each (on-air, training, production). If you are applying for transmission infrastructure, provide a block diagram of your primary and secondary (translator) sites and methods used to link them, including backup systems.

Attach documents in Microsoft Excel, Word and PDF format rather than msg or jpg. Please ensure you present multi-page documents as a single attachment, not separately loaded pages.

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!

Stay Informed