Creative grant application tips

Grants are becoming more and more competitive. Here are some tips and points to ensure your grant application has the best chance to succeed.

How to Apply

1. Read the guidelines thoroughly and preview the application form. Applicants are limited to one application per round of either Creative Sparks OR Lord Mayor’s Creative Fellowships.

2. Attend a grant information session either online or in person. Go to details and bookings

3. Allow ample time to plan, research, gather support material and to draft your application.

4. Remember to ensure you consider accessibility. Applications with a diversity of income will score strongly against assessment criteria.

5. Complete and submit only one online application by 3pm on the closing date. Late applications will not be accepted and no changes to your application can be made once the round is closed.

Take your time

Plan and start your application early and make sure you leave enough time to complete and submit your application.

Answer every question by providing clear and succinct information for the assessors and ensure you respond to the fund objectives and assessment criteria.

Substantiate your claims and demonstrate the quality, demand and stakeholder and community support for your project. Upload relevant and targeted support material that supports the claims in your application. For example:

  • support letter from Auspice organisation, collaborators/partners, peer/industry, community groups
  • artistic CV summaries for key artists (compulsory)
  • examples of current, proposed, or past works (compulsory)
  • reviews
  • survey results from past audiences, participants or community members
  • tentative booking quote or email communication from the venue manager
  • quotes
  • promotion plan and distribution plans
  • for projects involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples, relevant support or consultation with community, Elders and/or Traditional owners is essential
  • proof of Public and Products Liability.

Stand out

Remember the assessment panel will read hundreds of applications. What will make your project memorable?

How does your project stand out from the crowd?

What makes your project exciting, innovative or fresh?

Consider the benefit 

If you are funded, what is the outcome?

How will the project benefit Brisbane residents? Will it also build the capacity and skills of you and the members of your organisation?

Who is your audience and how will you promote your idea to this audience? 

Be clear, concise and compelling

Grants are very competitive. Your application is a sales pitch to convince the reader why it should be funded.

Describe your idea or project and how you will make it come to life.

Does your grant application show its purpose and the benefit to our community?

Use plain language and make it easy to understand who you are, what you need funding for and why the project is important. Avoid using jargon and acronyms. For example:

  • Avoid saying:
    “Movement explores the complex physical and emotional language humans have developed to interact in today's society. Using a transdisciplinary collaboration of contemporary dance and physical soundwaves this work uses movement and multiple auditory configurations to mimic body language. This first stage creative development will be fully documented and will culminate in a WIP showing”.
  • Instead say:
    “I/we are seeking funding for the development of a new dance/music work called Movement. This work uses a unique combination of vibration and movement to explore how people communicate their ideas in today's society. The outcome of the project will include a work-in-progress presentation for a test audience. We will also document the project through images and video."

Public Liability Insurance

If your project involves the public in any way, as creative participants, workshop participants or audience members, you are liable for any claims of personal injury property damage that a third party may make as a result of these activities. In order to protect yourself and/or your organisation, you must have Public Liability Insurance (PLI). The level of insurance you will need will be dictated by the size of your event. You will need to provide evidence of appropriate cover (if relevant) as part of your support material in making your application.

Consider resources

If your group doesn't have the right professional skills for the project, engage a professional. The grant funding can assist to pay their costs.


  • Clearly show how you will use the grant funds by itemising each expense and the portion of grant funds that will be used.
  • Check out the guidelines to make sure all items listed are eligible.
  • Be realistic with the budget and obtain more than one quote to show the budget estimate is accurate.
  • For Creative Sparks you cannot apply for 100% of the project costs.
  • Ensure you are paying award industry rates.

Award Industry Rates

Council is committed to fair wages and conditions for arts practitioners. When preparing your budget please ensure the aritsist receive a fair return in line with industry standards. For futher information please refer the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Arts Law, Artour, National Association for the Visual Arts, Theatre Network Australia, Ausdance Queensland, Australian Writers’ Guild, Australian Society of Authors, MEAA, Access Arts, BlakDance, Museums and Galleries Queensland.

Balancing your budget

Double check your figures and make sure your budget balances. Your total project income must equal your total project expense. That means you are not making a profit or a loss for this project.

In-kind support is both an income and expenses and must be added to both columns. For example if you are being offered free venue hire, you would add the actual venue hire as an expense. The in-kind support for the venue hire is considered an income. This means that the expense and the income off-set each other.

Ensure you are familiar with the guidelines as some items are not eligible for 100% of funding.

Completing your budget table

You must complete a budget table to support your application. See the budget tips and examples for help.

Indicate how much of the grant is funding each item within the 'funded by this grant' column.

Applying for multiple grants for your project?

Make sure your application shows if other grants funding (outside of Council) is confirmed or the date when you expect to hear about your application.


Expected income may include:

  • Brisbane City Council - your grant funding
  • other grants - Queensland or Australian Government, foundations and/or Australia Council for the Arts
  • earned income - product sales, ticket sales, workshop fees and/or partner contribution
  • your own contribution - cash, equipment, materials and/or in-kind support (e.g. historian fees, staff and volunteers time)
  • sponsorships, fundraising and donations - crowd funding, organisational support, other cash and in-kind support.


Expected expenses may include:

  • salary, fees and allowances - participating project staff, professional personnel (e.g. historians, curators, exhibition designers, producers, directors etc.) and/or researcher fees
  • production and development costs - hire fees, venue/space fees, workshops, consumables, equipment and/or materials
  • administration costs - auspice fees, audit/tax/accountant fees, insurance/s, travel, permits and/or office consumables
  • promotion, documentation and marketing costs - design, printing, distribution, photographer, publicity, website and/or advertising fees.

In-kind contribution or in-kind support

This is the dollar value of non-cash contributions to a project e.g. ‘. volunteer labour, administrative support, rent-free accommodation or donations of materials or equipment. These contributions should be given a dollar value and must be included in the proposed budget.

To ensure your budget table balances the in-kind income line item must match the in-kind expense line item. 

Please note that for assessment:

  • all budget figures provided must be GST exclusive i.e deduct GST from quotes and invoices
  • if your organisation is GST registered 10% GST will be added to your grant as an itemised GST gross-up.

Budget table

An example budget table for the Creative Sparks Grant Program is below:

Income budget table

This table provides an example of income budget including expected income, amount and if it's confirmed.
Expected income (source of funding)Amount (ex GST)Confirmed
Brisbane City Council$10,000No
Queensland Government$4000No
Australian Government$16,025Yes
Crowd funding$2025Yes
Own contribution$1665Yes
In kind venue hire$2400Yes
Ticket sales$4500No

Total income amount = $41,615

Expenses budget table

This table provides an example of expenses budget including expected expenses, amount and if it's funded by this grant.
Expected expenses (description of work)Amount (ex GST)Funded by this grant
Artist fees$10,000$5000
Visual design$10,000$3000
Design, tech and front of house$2000$2000
Production costs$6875N/A
Administration costs$550N/A
Promotion fees/marketing$5500N/A
In-kind venue hire$2400N/A
Permits and insurance$1665N/A

Total expenses = $41,615 (must equal your total income)

Total grant amount sought = $10,000


Ask someone not connected with your project to proofread your application. If they can't understand it, it is likely the assessment panel won't either. 

Be aware of the notification date of the grant when you find out if you are successful or not. Make sure your project starts after this date.

More information

You can contact Council and ask to speak with a Creative and History Grant Program Officer or send an email.

Having technical difficulty submitting your application?

Contact Council and speak with a Grants Administration Officer.


Visit the Arts Queensland, Arts Acumen website or Flying Arts  more information on grant writing, budget preparation and grant examples.

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