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.

As a starting point, learn more about writing great grants in this short animation as part of our Grant-Writing Video Series.

My organisation is not disability/gender/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 IT equipment or larger/more expensive equipment/ items?

The Impact Fund may approve funding for expensive and or larger items, but you must clearly demonstrate in your application that there is plan and budget to maintain these items into the future. Examples of how organisations can achieve this are:

  • noting the in-house team who maintain the existing appliances will care for new items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, etc.
  • the organisation storing items in a locked cabinet when not in use
  • the organisation including items in insurance coverage (we acknowledge this is not always possible, depending on location).

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 exchange rates gain 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.

How will grant money be distributed?

Partner organisations that submit successful applications will be funded directly to deliver their project. Applicants are requested to provide their bank details in the Application Form.  

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 impactfund@australianvolunteers.com.au

Payments will be made in AUD within 3 weeks.

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 forex gain/loss or bank fee charge when you provide a final 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.

I still have further questions.

Please email impactfund@australianvolunteers.com for more information. Continue to also check back on this webpage, as we will update the FAQs as needed.

Round 6: Climate Change

What sort of project will be funded in Round 6?

Round 6 is seeking to fund projects or organisations that support climate action. This is a broad theme which may encompass, but is not limited to, the following subcategories:

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Disaster resilience and risk reduction
  • Food and nutrition security
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation

We are seeking projects which effectively respond to local needs and support outcomes. Some examples of the types of projects, include 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 for Round 6 if they:

  • Are a current partner organisation who have hosted a volunteer since the beginning of the Australian Volunteers Program in January 2018, or have a continuing relationship with a former volunteer (including during previous iterations of the program e.g., AVID); and
  • Meet all due diligence requirements of the Australian Volunteers Program; and
  • Are not currently managing Impact Fund projects from previous rounds; and
  • 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 climate action 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 and encourages inclusion and diversity
  • Risks relating to the project are clearly articulated and appropriate mitigations are identified
  • Sustainability of the project is addressed, outlining 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?

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. Stronger applications are those that 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

Additionally, as an organisation that advocates for the value of volunteering, a desirable quality in your application will be the involvement of volunteers in your project. This can include any of the following:

  • an Australian volunteer in-country
  • an Australian volunteer working remotely from Australia
  • an Australian returned volunteer who you really loved working with, or
  • local volunteers
  • We will also be considering how funding is spread across the 26 countries we work in.

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, 4 November 2022.

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

Funds for Round 6 projects will need to be spent and all activities completed by 31 December 2023. The funds will need to be acquitted, and the project reported on to the Australian Volunteers Program one month after the end date of the project.

My partner organisation was a previous Impact Fund recipient, and the project is ongoing. Is my partner organisation eligible to apply fort his round of the Impact Fund?

You will only become eligible once you complete your project and the final report has been submitted and accepted.

We will assess eligibility once the round has closed. This means you may submit an application during the application window (12 September – 4 November), while you still have an ongoing project, as long as you complete the project and the final report is submitted and approved by the Impact Fund team by 4 November.

My partner organisation was a previous Go Back Give Back recipient, and the project is ongoing. Is my partner organisation eligible to apply for this round of the Impact Fund?

You will only become eligible to apply once you complete your project and the final report has been submitted and accepted.

What is the connection between Alumni and the Impact Fund?

To recognise the contribution of past volunteers to development in our region and to celebrate lasting connections between past volunteers and partner organisations, the Alumni previously ran the Go Back<>Give Back initiative. The initiative recognised the contribution of past volunteers to development in our region and celebrated lasting connections between past volunteers and their partner organisations.  

We are excited that the Go Back<>Give Back grants are now part of the Australian Volunteers Program’s broader grant program.