Who is this Resource For?

This resource has been designed to help non-government alcohol and other drug (AOD) organisations develop quality funding applications. A broad approach has been taken to address all relevant aspects of the fund seeking process.

Although this resource was written for alcohol and other drug non-government organisations, the information, principles and tools contained here are generic and can be used by any organisation and/or individual seeking funding. 

This resource is designed to help organisations develop a systemic approach to obtaining funding and implement procedures and processes to generate continuous and diverse sources of funding.  


The FundAssist resource was produced to help organisations and individuals:

  • Develop strategies to reduce the stress associated with applying for funding
  • Navigate the diverse funding options available and understand how funding bodies allocate funding
  • Understand the essential components of a funding application and improve their writing skills.

The resource aims to assist organisations to:

  • Identify and respond to the needs of their community:

See Identifying Needs

  • Define their organisational strategy and develop a database to map their current activities and resources: 

See  About Your Organisation

  • Understand the criteria against which funding applications are assessed:

See Funding Evaluation Criteria

  • Build a team to assist in identifying funding opportunities, developing proposals, and writing applications:

See Funding Development Team

  • Develop and implement a long-term funding strategy and identify potential sources of funding: 

See Funding Sources

  • Develop proposals which address an identified need, are evidence-based, and meet the funder's requirements.

See Developing a Proposal

  • Develop comprehensive and accurate budgets: 

See Your Budget

  • Write clear, accurate, persuasive funding applications: 

See Writing the Funding Application

  • Submit compliant applications: 

See Submitting the Application

  • Review unsuccessful applications and improve your application success rate: 

See After Submission

Four Key Steps

Most organisations rely on external sources of funding to establish and continue their services and programs. 

Organisations, therefore, need a comprehensive strategic funding development approach with dedicated resources that is continuously monitored. 

Developing a sustainable organisation with a strong funding base is not reliant upon luck.

Good funding proposals entail four steps:

  1. Careful preparation
  2. Identification of needs and strategies 
  3. Development of relationships and solutions 
  4. Good technical writing skills.
Follow these steps to reduce the time and stress involved in writing funding proposals.

Remember: An organisation's funding strategy should not start when a funding round is announced or end when the application is submitted.

How to Use this Resource

Each section of this resource contains activities which may be used by individuals or groups. If you choose to complete the activities, it is recommended that responses are saved to a central file that may be readily accessed when funding applications are completed. Creating a Funding Portfolio may be useful to store the information created (see below). 

The resource can be used in its entirety or users can choose to focus on the sections and/or activities which are appropriate to their skill sets and needs without having to complete the preceding steps. 


How is this Resource Structured?

Each section of the resource is independent and self-contained (i.e., you do not need to complete a particular section before moving to the next). Some content therefore has been deliberately duplicated across sections.

It contains activities of varying degrees of difficulty to suit both novice and experienced writers. The activities provided may be completed individually or as a group. Some tips for working on groups are provided. Individual users and organisations can select information and activities best suited to their respective skill sets.

Users can work on any sections and in any sequence and save their progress. This saved information can be retrieved at a later date and easily tracked by going to the Your Funding Portfolio section of this site.

Successful fund seeking involves multiple steps that commence much earlier than the actual writing of the application. The diagram below shows the crucial steps involved, and only one of these entails the actual writing of the application.

This diagram also provides the schema or map for the contents of the website.

Remember: No matter how much experience you have in writing funding applications always carefully plan each new application.

TIPS: Understand the Fund Seeking Process

  • Seeking funds is, and has always been, a competitive process.
  • Treat fund seeking as core business, not an add-on.
  • Understand the funder's criteria or guidelines.
  • Make sure that the funding criteria meet your organisation's objectives.
  • Applications received usually far exceed the funds available.
  • Applications that are poorly written, contain factual or budgeting errors, fail to meet the set criteria, or inadequately explain their proposal may be quickly eliminated.


Working in Groups

Working in groups is a great way to reduce the stress involved with preparing, planning, and writing funding applications. Two methods organisations may employ are the:

  1. Nominal Group Technique
  2. Brainstorming.

Nominal Group Technique

The nominal group technique is a group problem solving process involving problem identification, solution generation, and decision making. It can be used in groups of different sizes, that want to make their decision quickly, but want everyone’s opinions taken into account. For more information about the nominal group technique, see:


Brainstorming is a simple technique for generating a long list of creative ideas. To obtain maximum benefit from the process, use the rules below to enhance group interaction and creativity:

  1. Ask for a volunteer to act as a neutral group leader to facilitate the process (encouraging and prodding other members, checking the time etc.). Appoint one if necessary
  2. Ask for a volunteer to act as a recorder. Appoint one if necessary
  3. Set a time limit. Ten minutes will be plenty
  4. State one question or research problem
  5. Ask the group members to generate and present as many possible solutions to the problem as they can within the time limit
  6. Encourage the group members to piggyback on each other’s ideas (i.e., suggesting a new idea that adds to the one already given)
  7. Record all answers, combining those that are similar. Actual electronic recording of the session is optimal if everyone agrees to it
  8. Avoid any evaluation or discussion of the ideas until the process is over. This rule is critical for productive brainstorming. It is critical that you share ideas in a non-competitive forum. The recorder can ask to have an idea repeated but should allow no comments, negative or positive, from others (e.g., “We can’t do that!” “That’s stupid!” or “I love your thinking!”).

Download the Working in Groups Tip Sheet.