Basic Grant Tips

Grant Terminology Explainer

Updated 23 April 2024
ayo-ogunseinde-sibVwORYqs0-unsplash Large

Have you ever started a grant application but had to stop midway through because some of the terminology was so confusing? Or maybe you didn't even get to the application stage, as the grant guidelines themselves were so confusing.

You’re not alone! There are some distinct phrases, words and industry lingo used in grant guidelines and application forms. Having a good understanding of commonly used grant terms will help you know you're answering the questions correctly - meaning you'll be submitting a stronger application.

We want to help you to put your best application forward, so below is an A-Z list of common grant terminology.


In most cases that’s you! The applicant is the organisation/entity applying for the grant. 


Activities are what you will do to deliver your project/program. 


In the funding world, this means an arrangement where an incorporated organisation manages grant funding on behalf of an individual, group or organisation. Auspice arrangements are common when a funding provider requires applicants to have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status (explained below!). If an applicant doesn’t have DGR Status but meets all of the other eligibility criteria, the funding provider may permit an auspice arrangement with another organisation (in this example, an organisation who has DGR status). The Auspicing Organisation then manages the grant funding on behalf of the organisation that will deliver the project.

🌟 PRO TIP: Auspice arrangements may or may not be explicitly mentioned in grant guidelines, so contact the funding provider if you think you may need an auspice, and you're unsure if an auspice is allowed.


The financial plan for the project or idea that details expenses (costs) and revenue (income). Some funding providers will request a budget for your total project costs, while others may only be interested in the budget for your funding request to them.

🌟 PRO TIP: Make sure your budget totals the same amount for expenses and revenue! The grant amount you're applying for should be included in the 'Income' column.


A Co-Contribution is the amount that will be contributed by someone other than the funding provider you are applying to. For example, a project may require $50,000 in total and you’re applying for $35,000 from the funding provider, but the balance of $15,000 is covered by another source (e.g. your own contribution, donations, grants, and/or other funding or support). 

Co-Contributions can sometimes also include In-Kind Contributions, which are detailed further below. 

🌟 PRO TIP: Often, Co-Contributions are required by a funding body, so make sure you review requirements carefully before you apply. You may also need to specify whether a Co-Contribution is confirmed, unconfirmed, cash or in-kind.

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status:

A DGR is an organisation or entity that can receive tax deductible gifts and deductible contributions. If your organisation can issue a tax receipt for donations, then you probably have DGR status. There are two types of DGR endorsement for non-profit organisations, which are outlined clearly on the Australian Tax Office’s website

Eligibility Criteria:

Think of eligibility criteria like the criteria for a driving test. If you don't meet the criteria, you won't get the grant, regardless of how nice you are.

To be successful with a grant application, you must meet all of the outlined eligibility criteria. Make sure you check both Applicant Criteria and Project Criteria - these are two different things. Eligibility is normally determined by the organisation type, organisation or project location, intended beneficiaries, and/or previous funding recipients. 

🌟 PRO TIP: Ensure you have also reviewed any Funding Inclusions or Exclusions as these will provide other helpful criteria and insights on what types of organisations and projects they are looking for.


An evaluation helps you assess the effectiveness and impact of your project or program, and is based on data collected throughout the design and delivery of your initiative. Some funding providers will ask detailed questions about your evaluation plan in a grant application, depending on the scale of potential funding and anticipated outcomes.


A funding provider may ask if your project or program is evidence-based. This means that you have investigated and can provide, if needed, evidence to show why you believe your project will be successful. For example, you can demonstrate an understanding of the needs of the community or groups your project will target, strategies that have been proven to respond to these needs, and reasons why you believe your project will have the intended impact.

🌟 PRO TIP: Including evidence that supports the need for your project, as well as your project aims will strengthen your grant application.

Expression of Interest (EOI):

An EOI is sometimes (but not always) the first stage of a grant application process. An EOI is usually intended as an opportunity for the applicant to present a brief outline of the proposed project, and to gauge suitability for a grant program, as well as general funding provider interest in your project.

EOIs are becoming more common in funding rounds, as funding providers are opting for a multi-stage application process that enables applicants and funding providers to ensure alignment before committing to a full grant application process. 

Grant Rounds / Funding Rounds:

The period of time that a grant is open for application. Some grant programs will have multiple rounds available, which open and close at various times throughout the year.

Don't forget to check both the Opening and Closing Date of a grant.


The changes that will occur as a result of your project or program.

🌟 PRO TIP: Impact can be measured over different periods of time, so carefully consider the difference between short-term vs long-term impact.

In-Kind Contribution:

An In-Kind Contribution means the contribution of goods or services other than money. Some examples include donated goods like equipment or materials, or donated services like marketing and professional advice.

Applicant contributions to a project, including salaries, wages, and overheads, are usually considered In-Kind Contributions. Some funding providers will consider voluntary labour (volunteers) as ‘in-kind’ support, while others may not.

🌟 PRO TIP: In-Kind Contributions are generally accepted as Co-Contributions on grant applications. Including In-Kind Contributions as part of your budget will help you provide the funding provider with an accurate picture of the inputs required, and your capacity to deliver the project.


Inputs are the resources or tools that you will use to deliver your project or program. For example, funding, materials, equipment, time, facilities, etc.

Invitation Only:

Some funding providers will specify that a grant round or funding opportunity is by invitation only. This means that they are not accepting unsolicited applications. You can only apply for these grants if you are specifically invited.

Objectives (or Goals):

A specific result expected to be achieved through a project or program. The SMART acronym can be helpful when setting out objectives. Are your objectives:

  • Specific - Your objective should be targeted rather than generalised.

  • Measurable - Make sure you are able to quantify the change you want to see in the specific area you are targeting.

  • Attainable - Be realistic about what you set out to achieve.

  • Relevant - Is the program relevant to your mission, does it align with the context of your grant application?

  • Time based - Set realistic timeframes to accomplish your objectives.

Open Competitive Programs:

The most common form of grant funding. These are funding rounds that are open for applications, where anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can apply for funding. They are defined as 'competitive', as applications are assessed against the outlined selection criteria and against other applications.

🌟 PRO TIP: In a competitive grant round, you may also be able to review the funding provider’s assessment criteria to understand if particular areas of your application carry more weight.

Open Non-Competitive Programs:

Some grant programs may be open all year round, meaning they do not have opening and closing dates. In a Non-Competitive Program, eligible applicants can submit an application at any time and it will be assessed according to the funding provider’s assessment criteria and processes. It may or may not be assessed against other applications received in the same period.


Outcomes are the achievements you anticipate as the result of delivering a project. Example outcomes might be that participants have increased knowledge or confidence, that community members experience a decrease in disadvantage, or that there is increased access to facilities.

🌟 PRO TIP: Outcomes can be strengthened by using indicators, for example, 70% of participants increased their knowledge. 


Outputs are the quantifiable results you expect of your project or program. Outputs are normally represented in a numerical value, i.e. the number of healthy meals served or number of events held. 


Philanthropic trusts and foundations distribute funds for charitable purposes. These can be set up by individuals, families, companies, and not-for-profit organisations.

Philanthropic entities operate differently depending on how they are set up legally, how much funding they have, their timeframe for distributing funding, and their strategic aims. 

Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO):

An NGO is a not-for-profit entity that operates independently of any government organisation. 

Tax Concession Charity (TCC):

A Tax Concession Charity (TCC) is endorsed by the Australian Tax Office to access one or more of the following tax concessions, including Income Tax Exemption, Goods and Services Tax (GST) Charity Concession, Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and FBT exemption.

Discover more