Grant writers' guide for tourism events

This guide contains valuable information, helpful hints and contacts to assist you in completing the Tourism Events Sponsorship application form on behalf of your organisation.

Council’s events team can help you at any stage of the grant writing process. Please contact us with any questions or if we can help review your draft applications:

Make sure you check the eligibility criteria. Are you a not for profit community group or commercial event operator? Have you received funding already through a Eurobodalla Shire Council Community Grant Program?

It is a good idea to have a look at Council’s Event Strategy. Get a feel for the sort of events we are looking to fund and the priorities, look for themes or terminology that might be handy to use.

Decide if the grant program looks suitable for your needs and fits the purpose of your organisation. We encourage you to contact us and discuss your application before you submit it. Do this earlier rather than later—it could save you a lot of time and effort. Talk your event idea through, be up front and clear about the event. We will advise if the event is suited to the grant program and may give helpful hints on tailoring your event to suit.

If you are feeling confident that your organisation is eligible to apply, the next step is to discuss your project idea in more detail with your committee. It is important to remember that planning and writing grants takes time. You might ask committee members to contribute to different aspects of the application. Set yourself a timeline for when certain tasks need to be completed to get your application in on time.

Delivering a project once the grant is successful, and acquitting the grant once the project is complete, takes even more time. You should take this into account when deciding whether to proceed.

Project costing tips

  • Produce basic budget estimates for your event.
  • Provide the best, most accurate information.
  • Avoid guesswork.
  • Get quotes for work or purchases.

Some grants require a contribution by the group applying for funding. This is often “in kind” contributions such as the unpaid work of volunteers from your group. Don’t underestimate the value of this in kind or volunteer labour in your costings. Volunteer labour is usually costed at around $33 per hour per volunteer. Grants are not available on an ongoing basis, so consider how your event will be funded in future years. Events that rely on grant funding are not financially sustainable long term.

Keep all information accurate, clear and succinct. Don’t make any assumptions - write the application as though the person who will read it knows nothing about your event or your capacity to deliver the event. Never assume we know what you’re trying to achieve.

Read all questions carefully and answer each one

Organise all legal, financial and administrative paperwork. If you keep this information on hand you will be able to apply for funding at short notice. You are usually required to provide supporting evidence with your application.

This may include:

  • a copy of your organisation’s incorporation certificate and constitution
  • Event Budget
  • Event Marketing Plan
  • Event Business Plan
  • evidence of GST registration and ABN
  • evidence of public liability insurance
  • resumĂ© for any personnel involved.

You must register before you can make an online submission

Registration gives you secure access to your forms allowing you to work on them over time, rather than having to complete them all at once. It only takes a moment to register and you can get started on your submission straight after registering.

Here are some tips to consider when completing your application:

  • Pay attention to every single tiny detail of the format and instructions, including directions about page limitation, attachments, uploads etc. The application format is not the place to be creative. Even if you think your own layout is better, do NOT stray from the prescribed application format.
  • Answer every question. This demonstrates you are thorough, savvy, responsive and able to complete tasks.
  • Be reasonable. If your goals seem too ambitious for the resources you have available we may be inclined to question your application and ability to complete the event on time and on budget.
  • Don’t look greedy. Ask for an amount that is reasonable and match the budget to the scale of the work.

Get started

Once you've confirmed you event is eligible, login or register to SmartyGrants through our Council page Tourism Events Sponsorship Program.

Events must be held in Eurobodalla and must appeal to Eurobodalla’s key visitor markets.

  • At least 80% of your event needs to take place in Eurobodalla (we understand that events with bike, run and car routes may move between shires as may some elements as part of a larger event).
  • Your event will also need draw at least 40% of visitors from Canberra/ACT and Sydney (primary), Regional NSW and Victoria (secondary) targeting families, retirees, visiting family and relatives with the intention of attracting them to stay longer.

Events must not have not received any funding or grants from Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Community Grant Program this financial year.

  • If your event has received any funding from another grant program under the Community Grant Program you are not eligible to apply for further funding in this program. This includes but is not limited to Community Events Grant, Healthy Communities Grant, NAIDOC Week activity grants, Youth Development Grants and Seniors’ Festival Grants.

All previous funding, donation or grant allocation from Eurobodalla Shire Council must be satisfactorily acquitted.

  • If you have any outstanding debt or loans with Eurobodalla Shire Council you are not eligible to apply for additional funding until they have been resolved. All previously approved grants must have been fully acquitted.

Events must have a minimum of $20M Public Liability insurance coverage and must provide a copy of the Certificate of Currency for Public Liability Insurance to Council.

  • Unless you are covered under Council’s Casual or Regular Hire Public Liability Policy, you must obtain and maintain Public Liability Insurance cover of $20 million. You are not required to have the Certificate of Currency in place at the time of application but you should ensure you are either covered by a partnering entity or have sought a cost to obtain cover for your event. Funds will not be released until a Certificate of Currency has been provided.

We want to learn more about your organisation. Ensure you provide contact details of the most suitable person to speak to in relation to the grant application, it is best to allocate one person to be the point of contact for the funding application.

This section is an opportunity to establish your credibility and qualifications to manage the sponsorship funds and deliver a quality successful event.

We want to know about your organisation’s main objectives. Tell us about the short term and long term goals that your organisation seeks to accomplish. Just because you are running an event doesn’t mean you’re not doing other things as well.

Some examples are:

  • provide social interaction between seniors and the wider community
  • strengthen local identity and local pride
  • build the self-esteem of young people
  • bring families together
  • promote a healthy lifestyle
  • promote the region.

Be specific

Provide a summary of your event management committee’s structure and organisation, its key personnel and their roles and responsibilities.

  • Events can be run by a variety of different management models. Some events may be run by professional event managers or your event may be delivered by a volunteer committee who have engaged contractors to undertake some works or perhaps volunteers are delivering the entire event.
  • Provide details on who will manage your event and ensure that you can achieve the objectives that have been set.
  • The more you recognise your group’s position as a community asset the more likely you will secure funding to deliver events to our community.

Outline other events you have delivered that are of a similar nature or scope.

  • We are looking for event managers who can deliver a successful event. This means track record is very important. If you’re an up and coming organisation without much to boast about yet, one option is to find someone with experience to undertake the project with you.

Tell us how many people are likely to attend this event.

  • This is the total visitation over the duration of the event. This is simply each unique attendee and does not reflect how many days or components they attended. Count each person just once.

How many of those attendees live in the Eurobodalla Shire?

  • This provides an idea of how many local people will attend and how many are visitors to the region. Ideally your event will draw at least 40% of visitors from outside the Eurobodalla Shire. Events that have a larger focus on the local community should apply for funding through the Community Events Grant program.

Where will the event be held?

  • It is important to identify all the spaces and places that your event will activate. This could be one single public reserve or it may be a combination of parks, halls, clubs and pubs. Make sure you list them all.

Tell us about the big picture of what your event is and what you would like to achieve by running the event.

Why were these dates selected?

  • Events occurring outside peak tourism periods will be given higher priority. Events that occur during the Christmas or Easter holidays bring no additional economic benefits as accommodation houses are often at full capacity. Consider choosing a weekend or mid-week during low or off peak seasons and encourage visitors to stay. We still encourage events during our busy seasons but we are unable to provide financial assistance to these events.

Start and finish times

  • Longer events, multi day events or events that start early or finish late will encourage visitors to stay overnight. Include your start and finish time for each day of your event.

Provide an event program as an attachment or a draft outline

  • We will be looking at how long your program engages attendees and who your target audience is. Simply writing entertainment from 10am to 4pm will not be sufficient.
  • If you have not confirmed an actual artist or activity for your event program, please show it as a time slot with wording ‘program to be confirmed”.

Let us know the objectives of your event. We know you are running an event, but why? What do you want your event to achieve? How will you know if you achieved what you set out to do? These objectives ensure you have a purpose for running the event and can measure your success each year.

  • Set a specific goal bullets. eg. I want my event to increase the number of Sydney visitors attending.
  • Set a measurable goal. eg. I want to generate 20% more Sydney visitors this year.
  • Have a performance measure. eg. Increase online ticket sales by Sydney residents by 20%

How your event will enhance the tourism identity of our local region

There are a number of ways your event can enhance the tourism identity of our local region. Some simple ways are through:

The style of photography:

  • Images evoking energy through people interacting with the environment actively. They show a sense of movement eg. splashing in water, riding through bush, camping with friends by the river.
  • The key visuals – Bright and engaging, subtle lens flare, similar colour palettes and fonts.

Tone of headlines:

  • Short and authentic, write headlines that will make people want to find out more. eg. Explore Eurobodalla’s beautiful bays, Savour Eurobodalla Oysters, Dance along the Batemans Bay break wall, Run along the white sands of Tomakin etc.


  • Wording should be authentic and down to earth. Focus on the feelings people receive from their experience at your event, keep it fun and energetic. These can be demonstrated through your event marketing channels and should be consistent across:
    • website
    • social media
    • Pprint media
    • advertising
    • messaging.

Target audiences

Outline your key target audiences, that is, the demographic and geographic audience groups you will be directing the marketing of the event to and why?

  • A key action item of the Event Strategy is to attract: Domestic overnight visitors from Sydney (primary) targeting couples and families with children 8 – 15 years, ACT/Canberra, Regional NSW and Victoria (secondary) targeting couples, families and visiting friends and relatives with the intention of attracting them to stay longer.
  • Domestic daytrip visitors from the South Coast and Canberra targeting families, retirees and visiting family and friends with the intention of converting them to stay longer in Eurobodalla.
  • Knowing who you are aiming to attract and where they are coming from will assist in developing your marketing plan.

eg. A paddling event

  • Primary target audience: People who currently compete in the Paddle NSW Marathon series of races held throughout NSW and the ACT. Paddle NSW has 38 affiliated paddling clubs and a combined membership exceeding 1800.
    The largest age category is 46-60 years (38%) followed by 19-45 years (30%), 61 years and over (20%) and 5-18 years (12%). 69% are men and 31% are women with strong membership growth in juniors.
  • Secondary target audience: People who have not previously competed in our event (or possibly other events) but are currently active water sport enthusiasts. They include people from Canberra, Sydney, South Coast and regional locations across Victoria and NSW, own a paddle vessel and currently paddle recreationally.

Marketing activities

What are 3-5 marketing activities that will be implemented to attract people to the event from outside the Eurobodalla?

Marketing activities are all measures taken by you to make the public aware of your event. This may include:

  • advertising
  • direct mail
  • telemarketing
  • events and trade fairs
  • brochures
  • newsletters
  • websites
  • social media.

What additional promotional support do you expect to receive from other partners and sponsors, excluding media partners?

  • Sometimes an event sponsor will use their own marketing outlets to help you promote your event. They may promote your event through their membership newsletter, on their social media pages, website or emails to their clients. Some large organisation like a licenced club may have thousands of members they can reach which you may not have access to.

Information on attendees

Council’s aim is to increase visitor expenditure and overnight visitor stays by 25% by 2021 and to encourage visitor dispersal throughout the year and across the Shire. The more overnight visitors your event attracts to the region in the off peak seasons of the year, the more it aligns with the funding program.

  • We are interested in not only the number of patrons attending your event but also the people who may be event staff, entertainers, stall holders, marshals, media, support crews, contractors etc as they all contribute to the local economy.
  • Providing both previous year’s numbers and expected year’s numbers allows us to see potential growth areas.
  • Please provide a clear explanation for how the visitation data in the attached table was determined, including any audience research/ surveys undertaken.
  • Attendee count is a basic measure for all sporting, arts and cultural event. The total number of attendees refers to the total number of individual people who attend your event or activity.
  • For ticketed events this is a fairly straightforward measure, as the number of tickets sold is a reasonable indication of attendee numbers (though it does not account for those pre-event ticket buyers who may not turn up on the day or people who buy multiple tickets to different activities within a larger event).
  • The challenge is much greater for medium and large scale events that are non-ticketed. There is a significant risk of double counting people and over-estimating numbers if clear strategies for counting attendees are not thought through as part of event planning.

Tell us how you came up with the figures you have provided. This lets us know how accurate they are and identify areas for improvement.

You may be able to determine figures by:

  • the number of entry tickets sold
  • online registrations – great for collecting postcodes
  • gate counters
  • number of show bags given out
  • surveys
  • ‘proxy tickets’ such as wristbands, whereby the attendee count becomes ‘number of wristbands distributed’
  • dividing the space into segments or grids and organising staff or volunteers to count the number of people in each segment at regular intervals, with the final estimate worked out using counts across all segments
  • calculating the maximum possible crowd size prior to your event and estimating the number of attendees relative to the maximum size (eg. if your event is approximately half-full, your baseline estimate would be 50% of the maximum crowd size).

Variables and accuracy

Once you have established a baseline estimate, it is critical this figure is adjusted to account for a range of variables that increase the risk of double-counting. These variables include repeat viewing (people coming and going through the day or returning over multiple days), the movement of attendees around the event (the average number of different points people view the event from) and casual spectators who happen to be in the area but are not specifically attending. Attendee surveys are important for gathering data to enable these adjustments to be made.

Inflated attendee counts present a number of problems:

  • they do not allow you to properly plan for future events based on an accurate assessment of attendees, which in turn can result in wasted resources if you over-supply facilities and services, or safety and other issues if you under-supply
  • they set an unrealistic benchmark to reach for future events
  • they may not appear credible to your public and sponsors
  • they make calculations of flow-on economic, social and environmental impacts unreliable
  • they can over-state the negatives associated with your event such as environmental impact.

Maximum audience capacity:

  • This is the number of tickets you would be able to sell based on your event constraints. eg. a venue may be able to fit 10,000 but you are expecting 3,000 with enough resources to provide for up to 5,000. Your maximum audience capacity would be 5,000.

Partnering with local business

Make sure you tell us how your event will stimulate local business activity and/or employment.

Spending by visitors is a large factor in stimulating the local economy but spending by event organisers is another important aspect.

Some ways your event may have stimulated local business activity include:

  • equipment hire
  • catering
  • contractors
  • purchase of materials and supplies
  • purchase of beverages and food
  • casual employment
  • advertising
  • rental of premises
  • additional of capital assets.

Be sure to tell us how your event adds to the cultural life of the Eurobodalla community, and how it promotes a vibrant, diverse and fun place to live and visit.

  • There are a number of ways that events benefit the local community. What elements of your event bring people together to either watch something in common or participate in with friends or family?
  • Does your event celebrate local traditions or create new ones? eg. a harvest event or cultural event. Does it bring like-minded people together to share ideas and skills? eg. a blues festival with music workshops.

How does your event provide benefits to the wider community by encouraging opportunities for skill development through organising and/or participation?

  • Is there an opportunity for the community to volunteer at your event?
  • What roles are available and what skills do they develop. eg. strategic planning, site management, budgeting and financial planning, marketing and sponsorship, human resource management and volunteer recruitment, and event evaluation.

What considerations have been made for increasing accessibility for marginalised and/or disadvantaged groups?

  • When planning an event, we can all agree that there’s one universal goal; to ensure that everyone is able to have a fantastic time. How does your venue cater for people with disabilities or low incomes?
  • Have you communicated what areas are accessible, do you have free or discounted event options, have you arranged transport options?

Does the event have partnerships with local organisations to support the planning and delivery of the event?

  • Does your event work with any organisations such as the surf clubs, football clubs, Lions Club etc eg. A surf club may provide water safety for your event or the local BMX club may be engaged to do the cleaning during the event.

Does your festival/event have demonstrated support from the community and/or groups that would benefit from the festival or event?

  • How does your event assist any local community groups? Is the local football club running a food stall at your event as a fundraiser, does your event help boost local participation rates in local sporting clubs? Does your event encourage people to join a local fishing club? Does your event highlight a local group in your marketing? Are you running a skills clinic for a local club?

What considerations have been made to ensure the event minimises impact on the environment?

  • You might think you have enough on your plate when organising an event to worry about being environmentally friendly. However, there are many low-effort, small changes you can make, that will have a big impact on the sustainability of your event.

Events can be expensive and securing the necessary funds to successfully deliver your event will be essential.

It is essential to have an accurate budget in place to determine what your income and expenditure will be and ensure you have adequate contingencies built in, or set specific targets to achieve within certain time-frames to assess whether to proceed or not.

Government grants can be a good way to raise funds for your event, particularly in the initial stages of the event development. However you should keep in mind that grants are generally a ‘one off’ or over a small number of years so you should try to put these funds towards making your event more financially viable in the future, and avoid an ongoing reliance on grants.

Provide details on where any event profit will be directed.

  • Events that donate a large portion of their surplus funds at the cost of being financially sustainable will not be considered for Tourism Event Sponsorship Funding. It is important that you retain sufficient funds from your event to reinvest into future years.

Who will underwrite the event in case of a loss?

  • An underwriter is somebody, either a business or an individual, that agrees to pay the cost of any outstanding expenses as a result of the event income not being able to pay the expenses. This may be costs owing to the caterer, hire company or performers etc.

Acknowledgement of Council’s support

Outline how you intend to acknowledge Council’s support if your application is successful.

There are a number of ways to acknowledge Council’s support, these may include:

  • Including the Council logo or a suitable statement of Council’s support on all marketing material and advertising associated with the event.
  • Emcee announcements acknowledging Council’s support on the day of the event
  • Providing the opportunity to display Council banners at the event.
  • Mentions on social media.

Finding other funding opportunities

  • Ask: When you admire another organisation’s event, ask them where they obtained the funding to deliver their event. You can then do your own research to see if you could apply for the same funding to develop a similar event in your organisation.
  • Email/Web: Check out relevant government department websites - each website will usually have a page on grants or funding. Often government departments or larger grant funding bodies have email alert systems, whereby you register your email address and when grants become available, you are sent an email alert.
  • Contact: The Grants Coordinator at Council receives grant and funding information from various networks and can give you advice on where to look.

Festival Australia Grants

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications offers a Federal government funding program providing approximately $1.2 million each financial year to support the presentation of arts and cultural activities that will enable community members living in regional or remote Australia to participate in or attend an arts driven experience at a festival, or significant one-off community celebration. There are two rounds of funding which generally close in October and March each year.

Destination NSW Regional Event Fund

Eurobodalla Shire Council collaborates with the NSW Government‘s tourism and events agency, Destination NSW, which is responsible for the development of festivals and events in Sydney and Regional NSW. The key program aimed at developing festivals and events in regional NSW is the Regional Flagship Events Program.

The Regional Flagship Events Program identifies and supports events in Regional NSW that have the potential to act as ‘cornerstone’, or Flagship, tourism events for their area by attracting overnight visitation and delivering long term benefits to their region.

Events in Eurobodalla have been regularly supported through this program as both recipients of the one off and triennial funding.

The three funds that sit under the umbrella of this program are:

  • The Incubator Event Fund
  • The Flagship Event Fund
  • The Event Development Fund

For further information visit Destination NSW.