NGO Flood Support Open Grants FAQs

These FAQs are for the Open Grants, and are intended to accompany the Open Grants Administration Guide (PDF , 147.7 KB). Questions and answers below are grouped in topics, in the same order as they appear in the Open Grants Administration Guide.

These FAQs are not applicable to Direct Allocation Grants. For information on Direct Allocation Grants please refer to the Direct Allocation Grants Administration Guide (PDF , 137.8 KB) or contact SPC-GrantsHub@facs.nsw.gov.au.


If you are looking for information on current NSW Government disaster assistance please visit nsw.gov.au/disaster-recovery/disaster-relief-and-support.

Overview of the Grants

What is the NSW NGO Flood Support Program?

The NGO Flood Support Program is a $13.3 million assistance package for non-government organisations (NGOs) from the NSW Government to support Northern NSW communities affected by the floods in February and March 2022. All funding is directed to NGOs serving the seven highly impacted Northern Rivers Local Government Areas: Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Tweed, Ballina and Byron.

The Program includes two tranches of one-off grants - Open Grants ($7.6 million), which are the subject of these FAQs, and Direct Allocation Grants ($4.5 million).

The Program is designed to embed social cohesion, support community-led social recovery and respond to community feedback about local decision making. This funding is to be used in conjunction with, and does not replace, other NSW Government support services and/or Australian Government Disaster Assist services.

For more information please see the announcement from the Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, Minister for Families and Communities “Funding boost for flood-affected communities”.

Where can I find information about other disaster assistance?

Information on others grants and assistance available from the NSW Government can be found on the NSW Disaster Relief and Support webpage.

The Commonwealth Government also offers payments to those affected by the Northern NSW floods, for more information see the Australian Government Disaster Assist services. webpage.

What is the difference between Open Grants and Direct Allocation Grants?

The two different tranches of grants are:

  • Open Grants: These grants were open to all NGOs serving the Northern Rivers LGAs, with eligibility applications due in late June 2022 and invitations to apply sent to eligible applicants to apply sent in early July. $7.6 million in Open Grants are available for any eligible community and volunteer based NGO in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs. The grant will support NGOs to continue to provide critical services to individuals and families, including any new services that NGOs have been providing since the floods.
  • Direct Allocation Grants: These grants were available to DCJ funded service providers that provide critical services in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs, by invitation only. DCJ directly invited eligible service$4.5 million in Direct Allocation Grants will support providers who are able to immediately deliver additional services to meet increased demand in affected communities. Invitations to express their interest to receive grant fundswere sent in early July.
What kind of organisations are eligible for Open Grants?

Open Grants are available to:

  • Incorporated organisations registered and approved as not-for-profit bodies by NSW Fair Trading
  • Not-for profit companies limited by guarantee (must have Deductible Gift Recipient status and/or be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission)
  • Indigenous Corporations registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations
  • Not-for-profit organisations established under Royal Charter or dedicated NSW legislation

Eligible organisations must serve the seven highly impacted Northern Rivers Local Government Areas: Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Tweed, Ballina and Byron.

All organisations that completed an Eligibility Application and were assessed as eligible were invited by email in early July to complete an application for funding.

We were not eligible for the Open Grants, is there any way we can receive funding?

If you are an ineligible organisation or individual who is already providing assistance to those affected by the floods in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs you may be able to enter into a subcontracting arrangement with an eligible organisation that is preparing an application, if you have not already done so.

This arrangement would be at the applicant organisation’s discretion. If you are currently working with an organisation that may have made an eligibility application you could discuss this with them.

For more information see Q: What is subcontracting? below.

What funding packages are available?

Eligible applicants can apply for one-off time limited grants from one of the four packages available:

  • 30 funding packages of $10,000 grants
  • 40 funding packages of $50,000 grants
  • 25 funding packages of $100,000 grants
  • 14 funding packages of $200,000 grants

DCJ may vary the distribution of packages depending on the number of funding applications submitted. DCJ may also offer you a package lower than the amount requested.

Organisations applying for funding from the higher valued packages are required to demonstrate a higher capability and capacity to manage the funds.

Please note, successful organisations will only receive one funding package. For example, an organisation might receive one of the 30 available $10,000 funding packages.

You may also wish to refer to Q. Why can I apply for two different funding packages? below.

How long is the grant period?

All grants must be fully expended by August 2023.

What grant funds can be used for

What can I propose using grant funding on?

Grant recipients can determine how the funds are best spent; however all grant funds, including those for reimbursement and subcontracting arrangements can only be used as agreed to with DCJ and as listed in the application. For example:

  • Staffing costs to meet the need for increased and sustained support
  • Reimbursement of up to 25% of requested funds for providing flood recovery costs directly associated with service delivery incurred since the flood event in 2022. Applications may request up to 50% of funding be applied to reimbursement, however this will require meeting additional conditions and will be considered on a case-by-case basis (refer to application form for more detail)
  • Purchase of minor equipment and other small operating expenses up to $5000 in total
  • Operational costs to deliver critical services, for example vehicle hire and overheads directly related to service delivery  
  • Service delivery minor expenses up to $1000 per individual, such as
    • purchasing food and personal care items not available through other means
    • purchasing phone credit, internet credit, laptops and/or IT connectivity
    • ensuring people remain safe and have access to supports such as caring for pets while in temporary accommodation
How does reimbursement work?

You can use up to 25% of your grant to reimburse costs that your organisation has already incurred which is directly associated with service delivery since the February-March 2022 floods. DCJ does not require a breakdown of expenses.

We may also consider reimbursement of up to 50% of the grant. This will require more detailed information and a business justification in your application form, and additional reporting conditions.

Please note you can also claim reimbursement on behalf of subcontracted organisations.

You can only claim reimbursement for costs that are eligible for funding - for more information see Q: What can I propose using grant funding on? above and Q: What are we not allowed to spend grant funding on? below.

Claims for reimbursement that are not directly related to service delivery by NGOs in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs will not be considered.

What is subcontracting?

In simple terms, for the purposes of these grants “subcontracting” refers to an arrangement between your organisation and one or more other organisations/individuals (referred to as “subcontractors”) to assist your organisation to provide services funded through your grant. In some cases all the service delivery may be undertaken by the subcontractor.

Examples could include:

  • Service delivery provided in partnership between one or more organisations: As DCJ will only provide a grant to a single organisation for a particular activity, organisations can work together through one ‘lead organisation’ using subcontracting arrangements between them. The ‘lead organisation’ would be the one to apply for funding.
  • Eligible providers making an application on behalf of one or more subcontractors: An eligible organisation can apply on behalf of one or more organisations/individuals who would otherwise be ineligible for grant funding, as long as appropriate subcontracting arrangements are in place.

A subcontracting arrangement requires the eligible organisation to enter into an agreement with the subcontractor to conduct the work, but the applicant (lead) organisation will retain the contractual obligations to DCJ under the Grant Funding Agreement for delivery and accountability.

For this reason, it’s important you carry out the necessary due diligence before entering into such an agreement and applying for a grant on one or more subcontractors’ behalf.

Responsibilities of the applicant organisation include:

  • Completing and submitting the application form and providing its own bank account details and authorised signatories (rather than those of any subcontractor/s).)
  • Accepting grant funding on behalf of the subcontractor/s
  • Providing grant monies to the subcontracted organisation in accordance with the details provided in the application
  • Providing project management assistance to the subcontractor/s
  • Providing any required reporting and financial acquittals
  • If your application for grant funding is approved you will need to seek formal permission in writing from DCJ to enter into subcontracting arrangements using one of the available forms, unless you have already done so in relation to other DCJ funding.
Is subcontracting the same as auspicing?

“Auspicing” is a form of subcontracting. Please note the term “subcontracting” is used for the purposes of this grant program.

Please note that even if your organisation already has a formal auspicing agreement in place you will still be required to seek formal permission in writing from DCJ to enter into subcontracting arrangements using one of the forms available available forms should your application be successful, as per Q. What is subcontracting? above.

What does ‘Minor expenses up to $1,000 per individual’ mean?

This refers to providing direct assistance to members of the community living in one of the seven Northern Rivers LGAs affected by the February-March floods, which could include:

  • purchasing food and personal care items not available through other means
  • purchasing phone credit, internet credit, laptops and/or IT connectivity
  • ensuring people remain safe and have access to supports such as caring for pets while in temporary accommodation

No more than $1,000 of grant funding can be spent on any particular individual.

What are we not allowed to spend grant funding on?

Proposals for the following items will not be considered, nor can NGO Flood Support Open Grant funding be used for:

  • Expenses that are already covered by other government grants or insurance payments, for example replacement of items lost or damaged in the 2022 floods
  • Temporary accommodation arrangements
  • Infrastructure and major equipment and assets, including the purchase of vehicles
  • Commercial activities
  • Existing debts or budget deficits prior to the February-March 2022 floods
  • Costs not related to service delivery
  • Interstate or overseas travel

Funding can only be used for activities outlined in your application.

Can I receive funding if I’ve already received an insurance payment, government grant or government funding?

You can receive grant funding if you’ve already received an insurance payment or a Commonwealth or NSW Government grant, but not for the same expense/s covered by that payment or grant.

You can also use grant funding to extend, increase or “top up” services funded by the NSW, Commonwealth or local government, due to increased demand, as long as this is described clearly in your grant application with information on why you need to provide increased services. You will need to differentiate between services provided with grant funding and other funding in your reporting to us.

Please note that you may be required to advise the government agency or body that already provides your organisation with funding for a service if you then receive additional grant funding.

Completing your application

Is it too late to apply?

If you did not submit an Eligibility Application it is now too late to apply. All applicants that submitted an Eligibility Application and were assessed as eligible were sent an invitation to apply for a grant in early July. The email invitation to each eligible applicant includes an application link. Each eligible applicant has until at 5pm on Wednesday 3 August 2022 to apply.

I completed an eligibility application and received an invitation to apply, what now? How do I apply?

First, please review the Grants Administration Guide.

Next, in your invitation email you will find a private link to your application form on SmartyGrants. Each eligible applicant has their own individual link.

You can log in to SmartyGrants using the same username and password that you used for your Eligibility Application (if you have forgotten either there is a link on SmartyGrants to recover these details). You are not required to complete your application in one sitting and can save and return at a later date to complete and submit.

Once your application has been submitted you will receive an automated response from SmartyGrants.

If you have not received this email, your application has not been successfully submitted, or the confirmation email has ended up in your junk mailbox.

You can also log in to the online system and click ‘My Submissions’ to view all submitted and unsubmitted applications. Submitted applications are identified by a green tick.

Carefully check your application prior to submitting. If you realise that you have made an error once you have submitted your application please contact SPC-GrantsHub@facs.nsw.gov.au for assistance before the closing date. Applications that are late or incorrectly filled out or incomplete will not be accepted.

Please do not email additional attachments such as support letters or references as only your response to the application form will be used to assess your application.

Submission of an application does not guarantee funding and the cost of preparing an application is the responsibility of the applicant.

Do I have to use SmartyGrants to apply?

Yes, applications will only be accepted that are submitted via the SmartyGrants website. If you need assistance with this process please refer to Q: Is there support available to help me apply or answer questions? below.

Can I review the application form before starting my application?

Yes, when you log on to SmartyGrants and view the application you can also choose to download as a PDF to review whenever you like. You can also preview the form online.

Please note that PDF copies of application forms do not show which questions are conditional, so you may see questions that do or do not apply to your organisation.

Can I provide letters of support or references to support my application?

No, only your application form and any documents requested and submitted through the form on SmartyGrants will be considered.

You are encouraged, however, to describe any work or partnerships with other organisation that have and/or will help you to provide support to those affected by floods in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs in your application.

Is there support available to help me apply or answer questions?

There will be an online information session to support eligible organisations with their applications and to answer any questions about the grants program on Thursday 14 July 2022. Details for this, including a link, are listed in your invitation email.

Northern District DCJ staff and Resilience NSW Local Recovery Coordinators in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs will also be available to assist organisations with their grant applications.

Additionally, the DCJ Grants team can assist organisations with any queries regarding the application process. Organisations can contact the Grants Team at SPC-GrantsHub@facs.nsw.gov.au, please quote your Application ID in all correspondence.

If you are not familiar with the SmartyGrants management system, the SmartyGrants Help Guide for Applicants is available please refer to the SmartyGrants Help Guide for Applicants. or their help page. You can also contact SmartyGrants directly if you are having technical difficulties with the application form or your SmartyGrants account/password, for contact details visit their help page.

I may miss the online information session, will a recording be available?

Yes, a recording will be available. You may also wish to consider having someone else from your organisation participate, so they have the chance to ask a question if they wish.

Can my organisation submit more than one application?

No. Each organisation can only submit one application inclusive of all costs, including increased and ongoing service delivery costs, subcontracting arrangements and/or any reimbursement requests.

Why can I apply for two different funding packages?

In simple terms, we will use your answer to this question to decide whether your organisation would be able to spend funding provided in a lower or higher funding package than your first choice, should this be the Grant Assessment Panel’s recommendation.

For example:

  • If you nominate a higher amount as your second choice, we will understand that you are indicating that your organisation has the capacity and capability to spend this extra funding on service delivery to those affected by floods in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs, should the higher amount be offered to you
  • If you nominate a lower amount, we will understand that you are indicating that you would still be able to provide a reduced version of the activities proposed in your application, should the lower amount be offered to you.

We encourage all applicants to apply for the package as their first choice that represents the most services they can provide to those affected by floods in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs, bearing in mind your organisations capabilities, expertise, available staffing and resources in the funding period (August 2022 to August 2023).

What is the difference between an ACCO and other organisations that serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

Please refer to our page on Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations  (ACCOs), which also provides information on our commitment to building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector.

Should I include GST when deciding which funding package to apply for?

Your funding request should exclude any GST that you will be charged by contractors or suppliers as part of the cost/delivery.

If your application is successful and your organisation’s ABN is registered for GST, you will be paid GST on top of the approved grant amount. If your organisation ABN is not registered for GST or you do not have an ABN, you will only be paid the approved grant amount.

Who needs to sign off on our application?

The Applicant Declaration must be made by two of your organisation's authorised signatories, who will also be responsible for signing the Grant Funding Agreement via DocuSign should your application be successful

More information on DCJ authorised signatories is available on our website.

Please note, you must provide the contact details (email address, phone number, name and position) of the relevant authorised signatories, or their delegates, in your application form. Please contact SPC-GrantsHub@facs.nsw.gov.au immediately if these details change. 

Why would we want to provide the details of a third (optional) person in our Application form to view the Grant Funding Agreement?

DCJ administers Grant Funding Agreements to successful organisations via DocuSign, which only allows those who receive an individualised link to access the document for viewing. Therefore, all of those who wish to either sign or view the Grant Funding Agreement must provide their contact details.

You may wish to include any relevant legal or administrative staff to review a copy of the Grant Funding Agreement before it is signed. 

Assessment

What are the assessment criteria?

Eligible organisations will be invited to submit an application against the following assessment criteria whereby the applicant:

  1. Demonstrates there is an increased demand for their services.
  2. Has the capacity to meet the increased demand for their services.
  3. Has the capability to deliver high quality, flexible and sustainable services.
  4. Demonstrates an ability to understand and respond to the changing needs of local communities.
  5. Is able to fully expend the grant by August 2023.

The assessment criteria applies to the lead applicant in a subcontracting arrangement. The lead applicant will be held accountable for all subcontracted organisations against the criteria above.

Are there any funding priorities for Open Grants?

The assessment process will prioritise organisations that primarily deliver services to:

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and people
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse groups

Applications may also be prioritised to ensure equitable geographic distribution across the seven Northern Rivers LGAs.

Applications received from DCJ service providers who accept a Direct Allocation Grant will be deprioritised.

Why aren’t you asking me to provide a project plan or budget?

It is important to understand that these grants are not project-based. Instead, they are intended to boost funding for existing service delivery to the community affected by floods in the seven Northern Rivers LGAs, whether those services are the same as those provided before the floods or new services that you have provided since the floods and intend to continue.

We understand that all organisations deemed eligible for funding have faced increased demands for the services since the February-March floods, and require funding that is provided flexibly to meet this demand (and in some cases, reimburse some costs already incurred).

On this basis we do not require a project plan or budget to provide evidence that you have planned a new project, or to ask you to report later in a high level of detail. Instead we wish to allow you the opportunity to boost your services without incurring substantial new reporting requirements, and to have the ability to make minor changes to how you spend this funding to address the changing needs of communities without seeking permission from DCJ unless the nature of your services substantively change (see Q: What happens if situations change and we wish to change the details of our program after we receive funding?)

How will you judge my application?

Please see Q: What happens when you receive my application? below.

Other requirements

What insurance is my organisation required to maintain?

Your organisation is required to provide a valid Certificate of Currency for Public Liability Insurance with a minimum cover of $10 million in your organisation’s name, which you will upload as part of your application. Your organisation must also retain any other insurance required under Commonwealth and NSW law for the performance of its activities funded by this grant, if successful.

Your organisation is responsible for ensuring it has appropriate and current insurance coverage in place to cover any liability of the grant recipient that might arise in connection with the performance of its obligations under its Grant Funding Agreement, which includes activities carried out by any other individual or organisation that you may subcontract.

What is the NSW National Redress Scheme?

The National Redress Scheme is part of the Commonwealth Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The National Redress Scheme provides support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

The Scheme:

  • Acknowledges that many children were sexually abused in Australian institutions;
  • Holds institutions accountable for this abuse, and
  • Helps people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse gain access to counselling, a direct personal response, and a Redress payment.

The Scheme started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years. The NSW Government will not award a grant to a non-government organisation with Redress Obligation (or to any of its Related Entities) if that non-government organisation:

  • Has declined to join the Scheme, or
  • At the expiry of six months after the time it is notified to join the Scheme, has failed to do so.

For further information aboutplease visit the NSW National Redress Scheme sanctions NSW National Redress Scheme Sanctions Policy webpage.

Where can I find out my responsibilities in relation to COVID-19?

Please refer to the up-to-date information on current public health orders and advice on the NSW Government’s COVID-19 webpage. Due to the changing impacts of COVID-19 across NSW, it is the successful applicant’s responsibility to keep track of current NSW Government public health orders and advice, and adhere to them.

Do I need to provide banking details?

Yes. It is your responsibility to provide the correct banking details, including the authorised signature to verify your bank details, in your application form. Funds transferred to an incorrect bank account may not be recoverable. This applies even if you have provided your banking details to DCJ in the past, or are currently receiving other payments from DCJ.

How important is it to keep my contact details up to date?

Your application, Funding Agreement and acquittal for the grants will be managed using the SmartyGrants online grants administration system and DocuSign. We will contact you and your organisation’s authorised signatories using the details provided in your application on SmartyGrants.

It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to keep DCJ up to date with any change in contact information, including the contact details of authorised signatories. Please email SPC-GrantsHub@facs.nsw.gov.au to update contact details.

DCJ is not responsible for any consequences should your grant offer be withdrawn due to out-of-date contact details in SmartyGrants.

After applications close

What happens when you receive my application?

Applications will initially be reviewed by DCJ for general program compliance, and then assessed by a Grant Assessment Panel which will include DCJ Directors and/or Managers, and at least one independent assessor.

Assessment will involve considering your answers to the questions in your application (as well as your Eligibility application) against the assessment criteria (see Q: What are the assessment criteria? above), in the context of any prioritisation required (see Q: Are there any funding priorities for Open Grants? above).

All assessors will sign confidentiality agreements and conflict of interest forms prior to viewing your application.

Applicants will be formally notified in August 2022 if their application has been successful or unsuccessful. Applicants must ensure their contact details on SmartyGrants remain up to date.

Will the information in my application be kept confidential?

Information received in applications and in respect of applications is treated as confidential, and all assessors will sign a confidentiality agreement before reviewing your application.

However, documents in the possession of the government are subject to the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

If you are successful, the NSW Government may share or publicise information on your program. An agreement that this may occur will form part of your Grants Funding Agreement.

When will I know if my application was successful?

You will be notified via email in August 2022. Applicants must ensure their contact details on SmartyGrants remain up to date.

If I’m successful, what happens then?

You will be notified via email in August 2022, and shortly after a Grants Funding Agreement will be sent via DocuSign to the authorised signatories, and any additional reviewers, as provided in your application form. Successful applicants are required to return the signed Funding Agreement within seven days of receipt.

Grant Funding Agreements can only be signed by authorised officers of your organisation. This may be a member of the executive/committee as deemed under the Articles of Association or Constitution if you are a not-for-profit organisation. Please refer to the following for further details on authorised signatories and delegation.

Please note, you must provide the contact details (email address, phone number, name and position) of the relevant authorised signatories, or their delegates, in your application form. Please contact SPC-GrantsHub@facs.nsw.gov.au immediately if these details change.

It is your responsibility to ensure staff availability to complete and sign documents, to carefully read the terms and conditions of the Grant Funding Agreement, and to sign the Grant Funding Agreement using the correct authorised signatories.

Once we receive your signed Funding Agreement via DocuSign, your Grant Funding Agreement will be countersigned and sent to you by email.

What happens if situations change and we wish to change the details of our program after we receive funding?

In your application you are not required to provide a detailed project plan or budget, therefore minor changes to proportions of funding devoted to each type of expense can be made without seeking approval from DCJ.

This grant funding is intended to be flexible, and give providers the ability to make changes based on changed circumstances. We would encourage fund recipients that face an unexpected underspend or overspend in a particular area to offset this with higher or lower spending in another area.

However, any major variations to the approved purposes outlined in your original application form on SmartyGrants must be formally requested and approved in writing before any related work takes place, as your application form will form part of your legally binding Grant Funding Agreement with DCJ. Failure to do so may result in you being required to return the grant monies in full.

To discuss a variation, please contact the Grants team by email SPC-GrantsHub@facs.nsw.gov.au

What reporting will be required?

Successful applicants will need to submit a simple financial acquittal in September 2023. The acquittal will include an expenditure breakdown on:

  • Staffing costs
  • Reimbursement
  • Minor equipment and assets
  • Operational costs
  • Minor expenses for individuals

An officeholder in your organisation will be required to certify that the grant funds have been expended as per your financial acquittal.

In addition, those that receive funding packages of $100,000 or $200,000 will also need to provide information monthly about the number of services delivered using this funding.

What are the monthly reporting requirements for those that receive $100,000 or $200,000 funding packages?

NGOs that receive these funding packages will need to provide basic figures on the number of people they assisted using this funding each month. It will not require extensive activity reporting or expenditure breakdowns.

This is in addition to the simple financial acquittal required to be submitted in September 2023.

Last updated:

11 Jul 2022

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