Frequently Asked Questions

The Impact Fund

Application Process

What is the Australian Volunteers Program Impact Fund?

The Impact Fund is part of the Australian Volunteers Program, which is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The Australian Volunteers Program Impact Fund offers small grants of up to AUD$10,000 to partner organisations of the program. This initiative is intended to help strengthen the capacity of partner organisations and support the progress of their development objectives in key priority areas.

We believe small grants can make a big difference.

How do I apply for a grant for my organisation?

All applications for Impact Fund grants are managed through SmartyGrants. You can start your application on the SmartyGrants website.

Learn more about writing great grants in this short animation as part of our Australian Volunteers Program Grant-Writing Series. 

My organisation is not disability or gender or inclusion focused. Do I have to answer the mandatory questions about inclusion?

Yes, gender equality, diversity and inclusion are values and priorities of the Australian Volunteers Program, so we encourage all partner organisations to consider how they can utilise funding to enhance these important areas in their projects and day-to-day work.

Are there items or activities that the Impact Fund will not cover?

The Impact Fund will not support costs associated with:

  • Projects or activities that have already started, or reimbursement of costs in relation to submission of an application, or any costs related to the proposal incurred prior to the signing of the Grant Agreement
  • Activities where duplicate services are already in operation or planned for in a targeted community
  • Construction, purchase of land, or capital assets
  • Loan funds, contingency funds, or sub-grants
  • Recurrent operating costs (e.g. rent and utility costs, and/or activities establishing expectations of ongoing funding)
  • Proselytizing - any religious activities
  • Activities supporting political campaigns or parties
  • Consultancy fees for services of Australian volunteers who are currently participating in the program.
  • The Impact Fund may cover costs associated with refreshments related to project activities. However, this does not include the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

Will the Impact Fund support the purchase of large items or expensive equipment?

Generally, the Impact Fund won't cover large items and capital assets.

However, in certain cases, the Impact Fund may approve funding for expensive and or larger items where these items are not the majority of the budget, and instead are part of a broader project which has positive, clear and sustainable outcomes. If you do include large items or expensive equipment in your budget, you must clearly demonstrate in your application that there is plan to maintain these items into the future. You can note these measures in your response to questions around risks and sustainability, or if for example, the organisation is paying an insurance premium, include this in the budget and enter the value in the PO contribution column.

Can my organisation include staff costs in my project proposal?

The Impact Fund will not support recurrent operating costs, however, there are some instances where staff costs will be funded. Where a staff member’s role is supporting the implementation of the project, we can fund the relevant portion of their salary for the fixed period of the project. We request proof of timesheet or similar to justify this. 

What information needs to be included in my budget?

Make sure you include one-off costs, and all recurring costs associated with your project. This could include staffing or project oversight, workshop costs (including participant per diems), printing or design for resources. 

Please be specific and include contingencies. 

It is important that your budget matches the description of your project activities in your application. We recommend using references to link budget lines to activities for clarity, e.g. “Venue hire for workshop (Activity 2)”. 

Given that we provide funding in Australian dollars please include bank fees and other potential administration costs. Please also consider the effect of foreign currency exchange gains or losses. 

Learn more about putting together your project budget in this short animation as part of our Australian Volunteers Program Grant-Writing Series. 

How will I know if my organisation is successful?

Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email after the assessment process is complete. All decisions are final and are not subject to further review. Unsuccessful applicants can ask for feedback on their application, but the provision of individual feedback is not guaranteed.

What are the tax implications for being an Impact Fund grant recipient?

Applicants should consult their local taxation authority or seek professional advice on the implications that may arise from being a recipient of grant funding.

What does the due diligence involve?

Due diligence is part of our risk assessment processes and involves assessing the current programs, approaches, systems and identified needs of our partner organisations. It is a standard process that is conducted on a regular basis with all partner organisations of the Australian Volunteers Program.

Before providing a grant, we need to assess if you will be able to implement the project as described and in accordance with the requirements that we are obliged to comply with.

We, therefore, need to assess your organisational capacity, risk management capacity and safeguards management. As we are providing funds, we also need to verify that partner organisations have the ability to manage those funds, monitor and report on expenditure, keep records and have fraud control practices.

Our in-country teams will work with you to complete this process.

What is the funding agreement?

Successful applicants will be required to enter into a funding agreement with the Australian Volunteers Program. It is recommended that applicants review the terms and conditions before applying to ensure all obligations can be met as the terms and conditions will not be negotiable.  

How will I receive the funding?

Once the following conditions are complete:

  • Your organisation is successful in its grant application
  • All due diligence and related conditions are met
  • The funding agreement has been signed by both parties and returned to the Impact Fund team 

Then grant payments will be made in AUD within 3 weeks. However, international transfers can sometimes take longer than 3 weeks to reach certain bank accounts.

Please note that bank fees and foreign exchange conversion may mean the specific amount received is different to the amount requested in your budget. This can be reflected as a foreign exchange gain or loss or bank fee charge when you complete your acquittal.

We have a great relationship with a former volunteer and would like to pay them consultancy fees as part of the grant project. Is this allowed?

The Impact Fund does not allow for consultancy, or other fees, for volunteers currently or previously engaged with the program.

My organisation is managing a project funded by a previous round of the Impact Fund – can I still apply?

If a partner organisation is currently managing a project funded by the Impact Fund, or a project is finished but final reporting is outstanding or incomplete, they cannot apply for new funding. If the project is complete and the final report has been submitted (and accepted), an application can be made for an open round.

What will be expected of my organisation throughout the project?

  • Check-in meetings with your in-country team. These can be done via phone, or in person
    • the first meeting must take place within two months of the project commencing
    • the second meeting must take place one month before the project finishes
    • if the project is shorter than six months, only one check-in will be conducted
  • An acquittal report, including:
    • a short narrative of what happened during your project
    • a budget/financial acquittal showing where and how the grant funds were spent
    • photos or your project
    • all receipts.

The final report is to be completed in SmartyGrants. Exchange rate gains and losses can be accounted for through the acquittal. 

Learn more about what happens after you receive your funding in this short animation as part of our Australian Volunteers Program Grant-Writing Series. 

Can we submit multiple applications for each round?

In general, due to the limited amount of funding available, we will only accept one application per partner organisation. 

Some rounds, however, may have different requirements, so please see individual round guidelines to check.

How do I acknowledge the Australian Volunteers Program’s support?

Successful applicants must acknowledge the financial or other support provided by the Australian Volunteers Program, funded by the Australian Government, in any publications, promotional materials, announcements, events and activities in relation to the activity, or any products or processes developed as a result of it.

Impact Fund: Gender Equality (2023)

What sorts of projects will be funded this round?

This round the Impact Fund is seeking to fund projects that support gender equality and or women's empowerment.

In assessing applications, priority will be given to organisations with a primary focus on gender equality and women's rights or women led organisations. 

We are seeking projects which effectively respond to local needs and support outcomes, for example those which:

  • Strengthen knowledge and leadership within communities
  • Create a network of stakeholders to share knowledge and resources
  • Build awareness and promote and share knowledge
  • Prevent, mitigate or reduce exposure to identified risks
  • Increase resilience
  • Demonstrate opportunities for adaptation and mitigation
  • Support local volunteers

What are the eligibility requirements?

Partner organisations are eligible to apply if they are:

  • Are a current partner organisation who have hosted a volunteer since the beginning of the Australian Volunteers Program in January 2018
  • Meet all due diligence requirements of the Australian Volunteers Program
  • Are not currently managing Impact Fund projects from previous rounds
  • Can demonstrate they have successfully managed funding/grants in the last two years.

What are the criteria for assessing my application?

Eligible projects will be assessed against the following criteria to determine the successful applicants:

  • Clearly sets out the focus of the project on gender equality and or women’s empowerment and outlines positive and realistic outcomes
  • Activities map out a clear project plan, are related to identified outcomes, and are set to a realistic timeframe
  • Demonstrates engagement with the relevant community, includes inclusive consultation, and encourages participation
  • Demonstrates an awareness of the risks relating to the project and identifies appropriate mitigation measures
  • Outlines adequate sustainability measures, including how the project will continue to positively impact the community beyond implementation
  • Budget provides sufficient detail, is clearly linked to the activities, and represents reasonable value for money

What types of risk should I be addressing?

  • Your project may be delayed or interrupted due to COVID-19 disruptions, severe weather events, or political instability.
  • You may face challenges with other commitments of your organisation or securing funding from other donors.
  • You may be requesting equipment in your application and anticipate potential safety issues. 

The above are just examples. We are looking to ensure you understand the risks that could impact your project. Also, importantly, we want to make sure you have a plan to mitigate or manage these risks in case they do arise.

What else will be considered when reviewing my application?

The application process will be competitive. Priority will be given to organisations with a primary focus on gender equality and women's rights or women led organisations. In addition, stronger applications are those which both meet the criteria and advance program values and priorities. These include:

  • Building capacity
  • Ensuring sustainable outcomes
  • Ensuring ethical soundness
  • Showing a clear link to the broader work of the applicant’s organisation
  • Demonstrating the value of volunteering

How many grants will be awarded?

The number of grants awarded will be dependent on the quantity and quality of applications. Partner organisations can only submit one application. 

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications close at 11:59 pm AEST on Friday 28 April 2023.

If my organisation is successful, when do funds need to be spent by?

Funds for Impact Fund: Gender Equality (2023) projects will need to be spent and all activities completed by 30 June 2024. The funds will need to be acquitted, and the project reported on to the Australian Volunteers Program Impact Fund team one month after the end date of the project.

Learn more about what to do after you receive your funding in this short animation as part of our Australian Volunteers Program Grant-Writing Series. 

My partner organisation currently has an Impact Fund grant, and the project is ongoing. Are we eligible to apply for this round of the Impact Fund?

Your organisation will only become eligible once your project is complete and the final report has been submitted and accepted by the Impact Fund team.

We will assess eligibility once the round has closed. This means you may submit an application during the application window (6 March – 28 April 2023), while you still have an ongoing project, as long as you complete the project and the final report (Acquittal Form) is submitted and approved by the Impact Fund team by 28 April.

I still have questions...

Sorry that we weren't able to answer your query above.

Please reach out to the Impact Fund team or contact your local in country team, and we'd be happy to assist.