Participation Grants and Funding for Sport and Recreation

Participation Grants and Funding for Sport and Recreation

Prepared by : Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Reviewed by network : Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN), May 2019
Last updated : 30 January 2020
Content disclaimer : See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer
Participation Grants & Funding for Sport and Recreation
Sport Australia

Introduction

Australian governments invest in the sport and active recreation sector by leveraging a range of inter-related public policy themes including, community participation, infrastructure, major events, and building a robust sports industry.

This financial assistance is delivered in a number of ways including the provision of grants and other concessions to organisations, community groups and individuals. Our topic here primarily focuses on the financial assistance provided by federal, state and territory governments in Australia.

Key messages

    What

    Australian governments (federal, state and local) invest over AU$1.3b annually in the sport and active recreation sector.

    Why

    Increasing community participation in physical activity, including sport and active recreation, is seen as a key target in helping to achieve health and social public policy objectives at national, state, and local levels.

    Who

    Organisations, community groups and individuals can apply to access a broad range of funding programs and other concessions from government and non-government sources.

Terminology

‘Sport participation’ is generally defined as active involvement as a participant, but may also include involvement in a supporting role, such as a coach, official, administrator, or volunteer. In this topic ‘sport participation’ refers to physical activity organised by an affiliated sporting organisation for the primary purpose of enjoyment, skill development, personal health and social benefit. Competition outcomes may also be included, but they are secondary and this outcome is more important when discussing high performance sport programs and the way they are funded.

For more information please refer to the Clearinghouse for Sport topics Sport Participation in Australia and What is Sport?

Limitations

person with clipboard
The information provided in this topic primarily targets organisations recognised by Sport Australia (formerly the Australian Sports Commission) and the state and territory departments of sport and recreation. This includes National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), their affiliated State Sporting Organisations (SSOs), and local sporting clubs representing each sport. The Australian Sports Directory provides a list of organisations recognised by Sport Australia.

There are many other organisations delivering sport and active recreation programs outside of the network recognised by Sport Australia. This summary does not attempt to estimate the contribution made by local government authorities. Clubs delivering sport at the local level may receive substantial support from local government in the form of grants, facility access and concessions.

Similarly, this summary does not include the contribution made by schools and tertiary education institutions to the delivery of sport and active recreation programs. 'High performance' sport funding, such as scholarship sources for athletes, coaches and officials are also not included. 

The final limitation to this information gathering is the amount of detail provided about government funding sources (in part or full) that comes from departments/agencies outside of the sport and recreation domain. Many government funded programs target specific initiatives, facilities, health promotions, social inclusion programs, tourism, and events that can impact upon the sport and active recreation sector.

National grants & funding

 
 Department-of-Health

The Australian Government is committed to supporting sport in Australia from grass roots to elite; increasing participation in physical and recreational activities to promote physical and mental health; staging world class major sporting events; and utilising sport as a vehicle to address disadvantage and social inclusion challenges.

This commitment encourages greater participation in sport by all Australians and contributes to a competitive and clean Australian sports sector, based on the pursuit of excellence, integrity, and leadership. The Office for Sport also supports two programs to increase participation in communities:

Further information is available on the Department of Health website.

 
 Sport Australia

Sport Australia (formerly the Australian Sports Commission) primarily funds and supports National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) to coordinate and deliver sport participation and development programs, to increase participation, and achieve high performance outcomes.

Sport Australia also partners with state and territory departments of sport and recreation to develop and deliver programs and services to build the sustainability, capability, and capacity of the sport industry in Australia.

The range of grants available are designed to develop sporting excellence and increase participation and achievement by all Australians.  

  • Move it Aus - Better Aging. Provides support to help sporting organisations, non-government organisations, and/or local government organisations to improve older Australians' overall health & wellbeing by improving access to, and understanding the benefits of, regular engagement in sport & physical activity. [applications for 2019 closed]
  • Move it Aus - Community Sport Infrastructure. Supports small to medium scale projects up to $500,000 to improve local community sport infrastructure which will support greater community participation in sport and physical activity and/or offer safer and more inclusive community sporting hubs. [applications for 2019 closed]
  • Move it Aus - Participation. Provides support to help sporting organisations, non-government organisations, and/or local government organisations to get Australians moving and to support the aspiration to make Australia the world’s most active and healthy nation. [applications for 2019 closed]
  • Local Sporting Champions. This program provides financial assistance for 12-18 year old athletes towards the cost of travel, accommodation, uniforms, or equipment when competing, coaching, or officiating at an official NSO endorsed state, national, or international sporting championships, or a School Sport Australia state or national championship competition. [Applications are currently open until 11.59pm (AEST) on 30 June 2019 for Round 1, 2019-20]
  • Sporting Schools. An Australian Government initiative to develop an innovative national network linking schools and sports to encourage more Australian children to take part in sport-based activities, and develop a lifelong interest in sport. Provides a program for primary schools and a targeted program for Year 7 & 8 students in secondary schools. 
  • Women Leaders in Sport. The Office for Women and Sports Australia provide funding and support to help provide women with development opportunities to reach their leadership potential in the sports industry. In 2019 the WLIS program offers leadership workshops for individuals and organisations, development grants for individuals and organisations, and a targeted leadership development program for individuals. [applications for 2019 closed]
  • Play For Purpose raffle. Launched in December 2018 Play For Purpose is a collaboration between the 50-50 Foundation, Tabcorp, and the Australian Sports Foundation, endorsed by Sport Australia. It aims to raise money for charitable grassroots sporting projects.
 
 

 
 
 Australian-Sports-Foundation

The Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) was established to assist community organisations to raise funds for the development of Australian sport. ASF assists the Australian sporting community to raise funds through the Fundraising4Sport program and provides small grants to community and grassroots sporting organisations to grow participation in sport through the Giving4Grassroots fund. ASF is also responsible for distributing money raised by the Playing for Purpose raffle to clubs for relevant charitable grassroots sporting projects. 

In recent times the ASF has also been able to assist individual athletes through direct donations. In 2017/18 the ASF supported nearly 600 athletes and helped them collectively raise over AU$1.1 million.

The ASF’s listing in the Income Tax Assessment Act (ITAA) 1997 as a Deductible Gift Recipient enables donations of $2 or more to be tax deductible. 

ASF Research and Reports

In 2017 the ASF conducted Australia's first ever study into the motivation of Australians who donate to sport. The goal of this qualitative research was to help Australian sporting clubs and organisations better understand why donors donate and how to make the donor experience more rewarding and enjoyable. The key donor motivations examined were: 

  1. Sports giving involves both our emotional heart and rational mind.
  2. The success of fundraising campaigns depends on how well donors are engaged. 
  3. Giving to sport is like a boomerang - it returns powerful psychological rewards to donors. 
  4. Giving to sport affects people's emotional well-being. 
  5. Giving to sport is very personal and is tightly linked to dedication and commitment to the sport and the club. 
  6. The donor giving journey.
  7. Co-creating fundraising campaigns with club members is the key. 
  8. Donors like to be present in their donation experience. 
  9. Satisfaction with the donation experience drives donors' willingness to give again (or more).

A total of 51 donors, randomly recruited from the ASF donor database, participated in the study. They included a mix in terms of age, gender, sport type, location, and donation value ranging from $20 to $1 million. The research revealed that donors are more likely to consider donating if clubs: 

  • show that they care about the donors as individuals;
  • are able to connect with donors on a personal level; 
  • have approached other funding sources, e.g. local government, State/Territory government for infrastructure projects; 
  • have developed commercially sound business plans to base the project on, i.e. professionally developed plans including transparency of the financial situation and future directions of the club;
  • care about improved health and wellbeing; 
  • demonstrate that they are doing their best for the club to prosper and increase chances for its players to win by supporting them;
  • advise how much goes to what and how much gest donated within a period of time, tracking donation activity, donors are likely to give more towards the project if they know the club hasn't received enough towards the cut off date;
  • is aligned to common civil society principles (contribution to society); 
  • clearly communicates the ASF's brand and how it will benefit them, e.g. due diligence process and high level of accountability in handling their money, tax deductibility, reputation of the organisation among sport clubs and their members. 
More information: 
 

A number of national and state sporting organisations provide community sporting clubs with a range of grants:

Bowls-smallBowls 

  • Disaster Relief Fund. Provides assistance to lawn bowls clubs that have suffered damage due to natural disasters, such as fire or flood. 

cricket-smallCricket

  • Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund. The ACIF is open to all clubs, associations, schools, councils and cricket facility managers, acknowledging the important role that these partners play in providing facilities for community cricket across Australia.  

golf-smallGolf

  • NSW Golf Foundation. Provides opportunities for funding for participation, publicity/public relations, and innovation. 

Netball-smallNetball

para-archery imageParalympics Australia

  • Para-sport Equipment Fund. A joint initiative of Paralympics Australia (PA) and Sport Australia, supported by PA's sponsors and donors. It is designed to provide opportunities for Australians with disabilities to participate and compete in Para-sport by addressing the challenges associated with the high cost of Para-sport equipment. 

Equestrian-smallPony Club

State & Territory grants & funding

Active Canberra. Grant programs are available to eligible organisations to support participation in active lifestyles through the delivery of quality programs, services, and facilities for the benefit of the Canberra community. The primary funding programs are:

  • Sport and Recreation Operational Program (SROP)
  • Community Sport and Recreation Development Program (CSRDP)
  • Capital Assistance Program (CAP)
  • Motor Sports Training & Education Program (MSTEP)
  • Women Sport & Recreation Participation & Leadership Program (WSRPLP)
  • Sports Loan Interest Subsidy Scheme (SLISS)
  • Inclusive Participation Funding Program (IPFP)
  • Nature Play Grants Program (NPGP)
  • National League Team Program (NLTP)
  • Indigenous Sports Grants Program (ISGP)
  • Indigenous Sports Partnered Programs (ISPP)

ACT Health Promotion Innovation Fund. Supports innovative activities that help ACT residents to improve their helath and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. 

Office of Sport. Financial assistance and grants are available to sport and recreation organisations through a number of sources. The range of programs include:

  • NSW ICC World T20 2020 Cricket Legacy Fund
  • Sport Development Grant Program 
  • NSW Asian Cup 2015 Legacy Fund 
  • Local Sport Grant Program 
  • Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund
  • Surf Club Facility Program
  • Safe Shooting Program
  • Local Sport Defibrillator Program
  • ClubGRANTS Category 3 Fund 
  • Community Building Partnership Program 
  • Community Development Grants Program 
  • Stronger Communities Program 

Active Kids Voucher program. NSW parents can claim up to $100 per school child (kindergarten to year 12), per calendar year, as a voucher to reduce the cost of sport registration or membership fees for after-school, weekend and structured fitness or physical activity. The voucher is not means-tested and is available to every school child wanting to get active in their community through sport and active recreation. the program is due to run until 2021. 

Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture. Grants are available to organisations and individuals that facilitate sport and active recreation outcomes. Current grant programs include:

  • Grass Roots Development Investment Program
  • Quick Response (urgent funding) Program
  • Remote sport program
  • The Peak Sporting Body Program
  • Officiating Development Program (ODP)
  • High Performance Officiating Program (HPOP)
  • NTIS Coach Scholarships
For further information, please contact the Grant Coordinator on either 1800 045 678 or email grants.sportrec@nt.gov.au

Sports vouchers. All children (preschool – year 12) living in an urban school area are eligible to receive a $100 sport voucher at the start of each semester (January and July). Parents or carers need to apply for vouchers online each semester.  

School age children in remote areas have access to $200 worth of sport voucher funding:remote annually to participate in sport, recreation or cultural activities determined by the community.

Learn to swim vouchers are available for children under 5 years of age who are not enrolled in preschool or school. Each child can receive two $100 vouchers per year. Children must be registered for the water safety awareness program run by the Royal Life Saving Society before you apply for the vouchers.

Queensland Government. The Queensland Government recently launched a 10-year sport and active recreation strategy, Activate! Queensland 2019-2029, working to further enrich the Queensland way of life through physical activity. Under Activate! Queensland 2019-2029 a new suite of initiatives and funding opportunities has been developed, working to improve the coordination of state government investment and effort so more Queenslanders can benefit from an active life. Opportunities include: 

FairPlay Vouchers. FairPlay vouchers has replaced the popular Get Started Voucher program, and is continuing to support children and young people aged from 5 to 17 (inclusive) from families that can least afford to participate in physical activity, sport and recreation. Vouchers valued at up to $150 can be used toward the cost of membership, registration and participation fees for eligible activities with registered providers.


Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing. A wide range of funding is available to help organisations and individuals provide high quality active recreation and sport facilities, programs and activities. These include:

  • Active Club Program
  • Community Recreation and Sport Facilities Program
  • Grassroots Football, Cricket & Netball Facility Program
  • Planning & Research Program
  • Sport and Recreation Development and Inclusion Program
  • Sport and Recreation Sustainability Program
  • VACSWIM Program
Sport Vouchers. All primary school students are eligible for one, $100 voucher, per calendar year, towards reducing the cost of fees in sport or dance.

Communities, Sport and Recreation. Funding is available to increase opportunities for participation in sport and active recreation and to assist the ongoing development of Tasmania’s sport and active recreation sector. Clubs, not-for-profit organisations, and local government entities that provide sport and recreation opportunities to the community may apply for grants.

  • Minor Grants Program
  • Major Grants Program
  • State Grants Program
  • National/International Sport Championships Program
  • Levelling the Playing Field grant program
  • Community Sport Levy

Sport and Recreation Victoria. Grants and funding are available to support groups from local community clubs through to the elite level. Funding is available for a range of activities, from improving or building new facilities to putting in place community projects and programs.

  • Together More Active program
  • Change Our Game Community Activation Grants Program
  • Country Football & Netball Program
  • Change Our Game Scholarship Program
  • Sporting Club Grants Program
  • Athlete Pathway Travel Grants Program
  • Better Indoor Stadiums Fund
  • Female Friendly Facilities Fund
  • Significant Sporting Events Program
  • Change Our Game Workforce Development Program
  • Gender Equality in Victorian Sport and Recreation Pilot Program
  • Community Sports Infrastructure Fund
  • Shooting Sports Facilities Program
  • World Game Facilities Fund
  • Emergency grants: Sports Equipment
  • Community Sports Infrastructure Loans Scheme (low interest rate loans to deliver community sport & recreation infrastructure)

VicHealth. VicHealth’s strategic approach focuses on making physical activity part of everyday living as well as increasing participation in competitive and social sport. VicHealth Sport Investments provides a number of different opportunities for community organisations to apply for grant funding throughout the year. Some grants include: 

  • Active Women & Girls for Health & Wellbeing
  • Growing Participation in Sport
  • Regional Sport Program
  • Innovation Challenge: Sport
  • Active Club Grants
  • Innovation Challenge: Physical Activity
  • Walk to School 2020 grant
Grants Victoria. The Victorian Government grants directory enables you to search for government grants and assistance within the state of Victoria. Find community, education, legal, and business grants or financial assistance that are available. 

Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. The Department provides funding to organisations and individuals that facilitate sport and active recreation outcomes. Grant and funding opportunities include:  

  • Active Regional Communities Grants
  • Community Sporting Club Equipment Subsidy Scheme
  • Country Sport Enrichment Scheme
  • Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF). Includes Small, Annual, and Forward Planning Grants. 
  • Dr Heather MacGowan, OAM, Scholarship
  • Every Club funding - metro & regional
  • Initiative Grants
  • Lotterywest Trails Grants
  • North West Travel Subsidy
  • Organisational Sustainability Program
  • Regional Organisational Sustainability Program
  • Royalties for Regions
  • Targeted Participation Program

Sport Vouchers. The KidSport program enables eligible Western Australian children aged 5–18 years to participate in community sport and recreation by offering them financial assistance towards club fees. A maximum of $150 is paid directly from the local government to the registered KidSport clubs participating in the project. Vouchers are available to children who apply in the local government area in which they live, are aged 5-18 years, and have a Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, or meet one of the four KidSport Financial Exceptions. KidSport vouchers have a 90-day expiry period from the date issued.

Healthway WA. Various grant opportunities for sport and recreation. Organisations may apply for grants to fund new approaches to promoting healthy lifestyles through changing community attitudes and behaviour, and creating environments that support people to make healthier choices.

Many local government agencies and councils provide grants or funding opportunities to sporting organisations and individuals. Contact your local council directly to find out what opportunities are available in your area. Below are some examples:

Further resources & reading

  • Community grants: a quick guide to key internet links. Parliamentary Library guide provides links to selected sources of financial assistance to community groups. It does not include links to scholarships, fellowships, or research grants.
  • Grants & Assistance. Provided by the Australian Government: Business find support, funding, assistance packages and loans for your business from all levels of government. 
  • GrantGuru Community. Database of nationwide grants and funding programs for community based and not-for-profit organisations.
  • Grants Victoria. The Victorian Government grants directory enables you to search for government grants and assistance within the state of Victoria.  
  • Sports Community. Synopsis of broad range of grant for Australian community clubs and how to access grant programs.
  • Each funding program or scheme will establish criteria specific to eligibility, application procedures, expenditure, reporting, and assessment. It is important to clearly identify what your organisation wants to fund/do and then assess whether you will meet the criteria for the funding opportunity before you apply - if it won't then there is no point applying. Make sure you can also articulate what issue or program requires the funding and what solution the funding will provide. 

    Some useful resources for writing successful grant applications:

    • Fundamentals of Grant Writing presentation (PDF  - 437 KB), Regional Development Australia (Tasmania)/Tasmanian Early Years Foundation/Tasmanian Government, (accessed 18 April 2019). 
    • Grants, Club Help. Provides brief tips and information on grant writing including Understanding grant guidelines; The write up; Planning for grants; and additional resources. 
    • Grants Help CentreThe Funding Centre. Provides a variety of resources and information for the grant process from deciding to apply, writing the application, and monitoring the project. 
    • How to win a grantSports Community. Provides a brief overview and tips for understanding what grants are; who offers grants; where to find them; and strategies for writing successful grant applications.  
    • Sponsorship Proposals, NSW Office of Sport. Provides information on writing sponsorship proposals.  
    • What Makes a Good Grant Application? Australian Government Community Grants Hub, (accessed 18 April 2019). 
    • Writing Your Application (PDF  - 960 KB), Sport England. Although this resource is aimed at organisations applying for Sport England funding it contains relevant principles and guidance that can be applied to other grants and funding opportunities. 
    • OurCommunity.com.au – where not-for-profits go for help. Website provides advice, tools, resources, and training for not-for-profit organisations.

    When writing grants you may need to provide information and evidence to support your application. This could include demographics or statistics for your club/region/sport, or evidence to support why your sport/program will benefit a specific or broader community objective. The Clearinghouse for Sport Knowledge Base provides access to a broad range of expert evaluated information resources covering good and promising practice. Some topics and resources that may be relevant include: 

    Population and participation trends and statistics: 

    • AusPlay survey (AusPlay). AusPlay is Sport Australia's large scale national survey to track the sporting behaviours and activities of the Australian population. 
    • Australia's Health Tracker. An interactive website from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration to provide up-to-date Australian data on chronic diseases, conditions, and their risk factors by area. 
    • Mapping Australia's Population (MAP). MAP is a Monash University initiative, with the support of the Scanlon Foundation. It provides information and data on Australian immigration and population issues including trends, population maps, and public opinion of immigration and population issues. The data, statistics and resources can be a valuable reference point for organisations seeking grants.
    • Sport Participation in Australia. Clearinghouse for Sport topic.

    Value of Sport (how sport contributes to the social and economic health of communities):

    Sport & Government Policy Objectives (how sport/physical activity can contribute to meeting government objectives):

    Administration & Governance (good and promising practice for organisational development):

    • Aim for the Stars. This Foundation, established by Layne Beachley, was developed to encourage, motivate, and provide for all aspiring women. Encompassing academic, sport, cultural, and community pursuits, it provides opportunities to receive financial and moral support to achieve their goals.
    • Clubs NSW Club Grants programClubGRANTS funding is available to community groups, charities, and sporting teams across NSW.
    • Holden Home Ground Advantage. Provides grants for local clubs to upgrade their facilities.
    • Hyundai Goals 4 Grassroots. Program is designed to help promote the game of football within local communities by offering financial assistance to junior clubs throughout the Hyundai A-League season. 
    • Sport Access Foundation. Founded by para-triathlete Katie Kelly Sport Access Foundation provides grants for Australian children with a disability so that they can have the opportunity to play and participate in sport.
    • SportsPass. A member rewards program which adds value to Australian sporting memberships while providing a new and ongoing funding source for local grassroots sporting clubs and associations. Half of the cost of every activated SportsPass membership is returned direct to your nominated club.
    • Telstra Kids Fund. Provides $1,200 grants to fund activities and projects run by local non-profit organisations and community groups that connect kids across Australia to their local community in some way: through the arts and culture, the environment, education, or sport and recreation.
    • Wally Foreman Foundation. Provides scholarships from registered Western Australian athletes or coaches who have a specific financial need to assist their progress towards sporting honours. 

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