Four Year Funding program FAQs

All grant applications are submitted through our online system.

We have anticipated a few of the questions about the application process below.

The Australia Council’s Four Year Funding program provides multi-year funding for arts organisations. The next round of Four Year Funding will support organisations from 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2024.

Read the frequently asked questions for information on assessment criteria, the selection process, support material, and how to submit an application. 

Find a list of the current Four Year Funded organisations here.

Eligibility

  • We are an international organisation, can we apply?

    No, only organisations that are registered under Australian law can apply. Further detail on who can apply to the Four Year Funding program is available on our website.

  • Can we apply if we are a commercial / for profit organisation?

    Yes, as long as you can demonstrate that:

    -  the funding will support services or activities with a clearly defined arts component

    -  there is a compelling financial rationale for subsidising these services or activities

    -  none of the Australia Council funds will be distributed to shareholders.

    Further detail on who can apply to the Four Year Funding program is available on our website.

  • Will we still be eligible to apply for other Australia Council grants if our Four Year Funding application is successful?

    Yes, you will be able to apply for other Australia Council grants. This includes the Arts Projects for Organisations category, opportunities offered through our International team, and government programs like Playing Australia. 

    Other applications you submit to the Australia Council will need to demonstrate that the funds are for activities outside the scope of your Four Year Funding application or agreement.

    We will clarify the exact number of applications you can submit to the Australia Council while in receipt of Four Year Funding later in 2019. 

  • Does the Expression of Interest count as one of the applications I can submit in a calendar year?

    An Expression of Interest does not count towards your application total, however, if you are invited to submit an application to Stage 2, the Stage 2 application will count as one of your applications for the 2019 calendar year.

    You will be advised of the outcome of your Expression of Interest in August 2018

    • Organisations currently receiving Four Year Funding should not submit any applications to the Arts Projects – Organisations category until they know the outcome of their Expression of Interest in August 2019
    • Organisations that do not currently receive Four Year Funding should submit no more than two applications to the Arts Projects – Organisations category until they know the outcome of their Expression of Interest in August 2019
  • We are a business unit within a larger institution and share an ABN with other parts of the institution. Can we apply?

    Yes. However, be aware that the number of applications that you can submit in a calendar year is determined by your ABN, not your business unit name. To ensure you are eligible to apply, we recommend you check with the other business units in your institution to determine whether they are planning to apply to Australia Council grant programs in the calendar year.

    • If none of the business units that share an ABN receive Four Year Funding, you can submit three applications in 2019.
    • If one of the business units that share an ABN receive Four Year Funding, you can only submit one additional application in 2019.
  • Can we apply if our organisation doesn’t receive multi-year funding from our State or Territory arts agency?

    ·  Yes. You will need to demonstrate that your organisation generates diverse income streams; however, those income streams can come from any source.

    ·  Further details on who can apply to the Four Year Funding program is available on our website.

  • I have an overdue acquittal that I cannot complete as reports are not available in your Application Management System. Will this stop me from submitting an Expression of Interest?

    ·  Due to some technical difficulties with the migration of data from our old system to our new Application Management System, acquittal reports are not yet available. Please don’t worry though – there will be no penalties or repercussions for overdue acquittals during this transition period.

    ·  If you have an overdue acquittal, and you plan to submit an Expression of Interest on 2 April 2019, your application will not be made ineligible because of that overdue acquittal.

    ·  We hope to have this issue resolved soon.

  • We don’t have a board or governing committee. Can we still apply?

    Yes, as long as your organisation is registered under, or by, Australian law. If you do not have a board or governing committee, you will need to explain what mechanisms you do have in place to oversee the effective management and sustainability of your organisation.

Application Process

  • When will Expressions of Interest applications open?
    • Online applications for Stage 1 Expressions of Interest will open in mid-February 2019.
    • Information on the application process and key dates for the Four Year Funding program is available on our website.
  • Do I need to submit an application to a particular arts practice panel?
    • Yes, you will need to submit your application to one of the following panels: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts; Community Arts and Cultural Development; Dance; Emerging and Experimental Arts; Literature; Multi-arts; Music; Theatre; Visual Arts.
    • Further detail on the application and assessment process is available on our website.
  • Why is it a two-stage application process?

    The Australia Council expects to receive a high volume of applications to the Four Year Funding program. The two-stage application process will:

    • minimise the work required from organisations that are less competitive, and maximise their notice period
    • allow time for organisations to respond to the Australia Council’s new strategic plan (due to be published in August 2019) in their Stage 2 application.
  • When will we know the outcome of our application?
    • Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their Stage 1 Expression of Interest in July 2019
    • Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their Stage 2 application in March 2020
    • Key dates for the Four Year Funding program are available on our website.
  • When will I need to provide a strategic plan?
    • Strategic plans will form part the Stage 2 application, closing 12 November 2019. 
    • We will provide further guidance on the strategic plan later in 2019. 
    • Further detail on the application process is available on our website.
  • Can I submit an Expression of Interest to more than one arts practice panel?

    Yes. However you will need to tailor your application form and support material to make the case for your organisation’s contribution to the particular area of arts practice represented by that panel.

    You can use feedback on your previous applications to the Australia Council as a guide to assist you in deciding which arts practice panel is best for you.

    We do not recommend you submit an Expression of Interest to more than two arts practice panels

    If you submit more than one Expression of Interest, and you are invited to submit a full application at Stage 2, you will be advised which arts practice panel to apply to. Only one invitation at Stage 2 will be offered to an organisation.

  • Will you extend the 2 April 2019 closing date because of delays in accessing the application form?

    No, there will be no extension of the closing date. The program guidelines have been available since mid-December 2018. The guidelines provide details of the application process, and set out the information you will be expected to provide. The application form was made available a few days after the target date of 25 February.

Organisation Type

  • Can service organisations apply? How will service organisations be assessed?
    • Organisations providing services for the arts with a national and/or international impact are eligible to apply for Four Year Funding
    • Service organisations will be assessed alongside organisations that make and present artistic work
    • Service organisations can choose whether to have their application assessed by the Quality of Services for the Arts, or by Artistic Merit
    • Further detail on the program guidelines is available on the Australia Council website
  • As a service organisation, do we need to have a national reach or impact?
    • Yes, service organisations need to demonstrate their services have a national (and/or international) impact for the arts
    • Further detail on the assessment criteria is available on our website
  • As an arts organisation, do we need to have a national reach?
    • No, arts organisations do not need to have a national reach, they could work at any scale
    • However, arts organisations must be able demonstrate the artistic merit of their work is recognised nationally as an exemplar of its kind
    • Further detail on the assessment criteria is available on our website

Funding Request

  • How much funding can we apply for?
    • You can apply for a minimum of $100,000 per year ($400,000 over the four years) up to a maximum of $500,000 per year ($2,000,000 over the four years).
    • Further detail on program guidelines is available on the Australia Council website
  • Will you vary the amount of funding we request / offer a reduced amount?
    • If your organisation is invited to submit a full application at Stage 2, you will receive guidance on the value of the grant request you can make. That value may be higher or lower than your original request.
    • This guidance may vary from your request in your Stage 1 Expression of Interest, and may include a range in which to pitch your grant request at Stage 2.
    • We will only vary the amount you can request if peers consider there is a small mismatch between your four year vision and the resources required to deliver it, and this is supported by our review of the financial information you provide.
    • Think carefully about the amount you request in your Stage 1 Expression of Interest. If the mismatch between your four year vision and the resources required is too great, you may be less competitive than other applications and not be invited to Stage 2.
    • If you are successful at Stage 2, you will be funded at the amount requested.
  • Does increasing the amount of money we can request mean fewer organisations will be funded overall?
    • This is possible. However, the situation will be different for each arts practice panel given that the scale and diversity of organisations in each sector varies widely.
    • We encourage you to make realistic and well evidenced requests for funding at the Expression of Interest stage. The request should be informed by your current financial position and capacity, and your vision for Four Year Funding.
    • Further detail on the assessment process is available on the Australia Council website.
  • Does increasing the amount of money we can request mean there will be less money for project funding?

    There are no plans to reduce the project funding available through Arts Projects for Organisations or Individuals & Groups.

  • Will more money be available for the Four Year Funding program?
    • Our current allocation to the FYF program is around $28 million.
    • At this stage, we do not anticipate the overall budget allocation for Four Year Funding will change significantly. $28 million is the minimum that we would invest in the next cohort of organisations.
  • How much will be available for each arts practice panel / State or Territory?
    • There is no set amount to award by State or Territory.
    • The amount of funding available for each area of arts practice will be informed by an analysis of the funding requests for the Four Year Funding program and for the other funding programs we offer.
    • We want to ensure Council’s funding reflects where each arts practice area needs it most, whether that is for individuals and groups, or project / multi-year year funding for organisations.
  • Why hasn’t the funding cap increased more / been lifted, given that the Catalyst money has been returned?
    • Uncommitted Catalyst funds returned by the Department of Communication & the Arts have been directed towards the Australia Council’s grant program, including the current Four Year Funding contracts.
    • The $500,000 maximum reflects our analysis of the current levels of organisation funding provided by Council and through Catalyst, and our projected budget from 2021.
  • What about organisations that need more money above the cap, which were previously supported through Catalyst?
    • The maximum funding request has been increased from $300,000 to $500,000 in recognition that other sources of Commonwealth funding like Catalyst are no longer available.
    • Organisations receiving Four Year Funding will be able to access other sources of Australia Council funding between 2021 and 2024, including Arts Projects for Organisations, Playing Australia and opportunities offered through our international team.
    • We will clarify the exact number of applications you can submit to the Australia Council while in receipt of Four Year Funding later in 2019.

Assessment Process

  • Who will assess my application?
    • Applications to each arts practice panel will be assessed by experienced and representative peers from the relevant arts sector.
    • Both Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications will be peer assessed.
    • The names of peers are only released once decisions have been made.
    • Further detail on program guidelines, applications and the assessment process are available on the Australia Council website. 
  • Why don’t you assess service organisations separately from artistic organisations?

    Assessing service and artistic organisations together is consistent with how the previous Four Year Funding program and our Arts Projects for Organisations category are assessed.

    We believe it is necessary for peers to have an overview of the full range of organisations in their area of arts practice when ranking and making recommendations.

    Service organisations with a strong track record of service delivery, and a compelling four year vision, are likely to be competitive – as was the case in the previous Four Year Funding round.

  • What is the likely success rate at the Expression of Interest stage? What is the likely success rate at Stage 2?
    • We expect a high volume of applications at the Expression of Interest stage.
    • Only the most competitive organisations will be invited to submit a full application. Therefore we expect the success rate for the Expression of Interest stage to be low.
    • There will be a smaller number of organisations invited to submit a full application at Stage 2; we are aiming for a success rate of somewhere between 80-85%.
    • The success rate at each stage is dependent on the number of applications, the size of the grant requests, and the overall budget available.

Other Funding Frameworks

  • What impact will the review of the Major Performing Arts Framework have on Four Year Funding?
    • Submissions to the Major Performing Arts Framework consultation closed on 26 November 2018.
    • Ministers have indicated they will consider proposed enhancements to the Major Performing Arts Framework in 2019.
    • The Australia Council will update applicants should there be potential impact on the Four Year Funding program.
  • Will the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS) be part of the FYF process?
    • Current VACS recipients have had their contracts extended by a year to bring it into line with the Four Year Funding contracts (ending 31 December 2020).
    • Ministers will consider the next iteration of the VACS framework at the Meeting of Cultural Ministers (MCM) in late 2019.
    • We will update organisations about future VACS funding arrangements and any impact on Stage 2 applications to Four Year Funding as soon as possible following the MCM.

Application Form and Support Material

  • The Expression of Interest application form asks me to supply my organisation’s four year vision. What period of time should the vision cover?

    Your four year vision should cover the period 2021 – 2024 inclusive.

  • Our organisation reports on a financial year basis – what time period should I provide financial data for?

    The Stage 1 Expression of Interest requires you to supply:

    • a summary of your audited or equivalent financial data for each of the previous two years, i.e., 2016/17 and 2017/18
    • projected high level income and expenditure for the next three years, i.e., 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21
    • The latest two years of your audited accounts, i.e., 2016/17, 2017/18. 

    The stage 2 application asks for the following information:

    • projected financial information for the next three years entered into a budget template, i.e., 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22.
  • Can our organisation apply if we don’t have two years of audited accounts / we are a new organisation?
    • Yes. However, to be competitive, you will need to demonstrate your organisational capacity and viability. Factors that will strengthen your organisation’s capacity and viability include confirmed future funding and the track record of your key staff and board.
    • Further detail on applications, support material and the assessment criteria is available on our website.
  • We currently receive Four Year Funding and provide the Australia Council with our financial and statistical data. Do we need to provide this again with our application?
    • Yes, please be sure to include the relevant support material and data with your application, so peers can assess your application
    • During 2019, the Australia Council is implementing a new grant management and reporting software, and we cannot guarantee at this stage that we can directly link your current reporting with your Four Year Funding application
    • If this changes, we will let you know.
  • Our organisation isn’t required to provide audited accounts to our regulator / other funders. What should we provide with our application?
    • You can use the certified accounts that you do produce to complete the financial data in the Expression of Interest application form, and you can attach these accounts as support material.
    • If you are awarded Four Year Funding you will be required to provide us with audited accounts as part of your regular reporting, so be sure to include the resources required to do so your future projections. 
  • We are applying for support of a specific program. Do we need to provide financial information for all our activities?

    Yes. Please provide your organisation’s audited or equivalent financial data, and the forward projections for your whole organisation.

  • We are applying for support of a specific program or business unit, and are part of a much larger institution; do we need to provide financial information for the whole institution?
    • We consider this applies to larger institutions like Universities, local government or major galleries.
    • Please contact our enquiries team to discuss your situation, including what financial data you are able to access for your program or business unit.
    • You will need to provide past audited financial data and accounts for your whole organisation. However, we may give you an exemption to provide forward projections that relate to your program or business unit only. 
  • Can we submit late support material after the closing date?
    • The only support material we will accept after the 2 April 2019 closing date are audited accounts for the 2018 financial year.
    • If you need to submit these accounts after the closing date, please send them to enquiries@australiacouncil.gov.au by Friday 17 May 2019. Be sure to include your application reference number in the email

      Please note: any late support material is not distributed to peer assessors with your application. We make a note of it on file and bring it to the attention of peer assessors during the assessment meeting at our discretion.
  • Our organisation reports on a calendar year basis – what time period should I provide financial data for?

    The Stage 1 Expression of Interest requires you to supply:

    • a summary of your audited or equivalent financial data for each of the previous two years (i.e., 2017 and 2018 if you have audited accounts for 2018) by the 2 April closing date. If you do not have audited accounts for 2018, provide your 2017 and 2016 audited accounts.
    • Projected high level income and expenditure for the next three years, i.e., 2019, 2020, 2021.
    • The latest two years of your audited accounts. These will be 2017 and 2018 if certified by the time you submit your application. Otherwise, supply your 2016 accounts. (You can submit 2018 certified accounts after the closing date by emailing them with your application reference number to enquiries@australiacouncil.gov.au at any time up until Friday 17 May.)

    The stage 2 application asks for the following information:

    • Projected financial information for the next three years entered into a budget template – 2020, 2021, 2022.
  • Can I supply letters of support with my other support material?

    Although letters of support are not specifically asked for in the EOI guidelines, you may supply them if you wish. You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page.

    We encourage you to use one of the three URLs allocated for Artistic Support Material to supply letters of support, but if you prefer you can upload a PDF document in the ‘uploaded support material’ section of the online form instead.

    You will not be penalised for providing additional support material beyond the recommended limit of 3 URLs, but we do advise against overwhelming the assessors with material. Make the selection that best demonstrates the quality of your organisation’s artistic output / services for the arts.

  • What kind of past financial data do we need to provide?

    You need to provide:

    • a data summary of your balance sheet for the previous two years
    • a list of funding from sources other than the Australia Council in the previous two years.
  • What time period do ‘Year 1’ and ‘Year 2’ relate to when entering our past financial data into the form?
    • Year 2 is the most recent year of financial data.
    • For an organisation reporting by calendar year, Year 2 will be 2018 if you have certified accounts by the 2 April. Otherwise, Year 2 will be 2017.
    • For an organisation reporting by financial year, Year 2 will be 2017/18.
  • How do I enter our past financial data into the form?

    To enter your data summary:

    • Go to the ‘Past Financial Data Summary’ section of the form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ under ‘Please provide a breakdown of your past two years of financial data’.
    • The form that opens contains fields for both Years 1 and 2. Enter your Year 1 data in the boxes at the top of the form, and your Year 2 data in the boxes in the lower part of the form.
    • Click ‘Save’ to return to the application form.

    To enter your other sources of income:

    • Go to the ‘Past Financial Data Summary’ section of the form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ under ‘Please detail funding you have received from other sources in the past 2 years’.
    • Enter the details of funding received from one source, including the amount received and the start and finish date.
    • Click ‘Save’ to return to the application form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ and repeat the process to add another source of funding.
  • What sources of funding should I include, and over what time period, to answer the question ‘Please detail funding you have received from other sources in the past 2 years’?
    • Include the following: other recurrent funding from Government; other project funding from Government; other Government grants and in-kind support; overseas funding; private sector funding; and in-kind support.
    • Enter all sources of funding received in the past two years. For a calendar year organisation, this will be 2017 and 2018. For a financial year organisation, this will be 2016/17 and 2017/18.
    • Funding start and finish dates can vary from the dates of your financial data summary.
  • What kind of future financial data we need to provide?
    • Provide projected income and expenditure for a three year period where the first year is the current year, and the final year includes the first year of the Four Year Funding contract (i.e., 2021).
    • Income items include: current Four Year Funding contracts / future requests for Four Year Funding; other Australia Council grants; other Australian Government funding; State or Territory Government funding; State or Territory Government project funding; Local government funding; Event income; Other activities and income; Cash sponsorship; In-kind support; Donations; Net fundraising income; Foundations.
    • Expense items include: Salaries / wages / fees for artistic and service activities; Salaries / wages / fees for management or administrative activities; Direct program costs; Other programs and expenses; Marketing costs; Infrastructure and administration costs.
  • How do I enter our future budget projections into the form?

    To enter your income for the current year:

    • Go to the ‘Future Budget Data Summary’ section of the form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ under ‘Income’ to add one year of financial projections.
    • Update the ‘Year’, ‘Start Date’ and ‘End Date’ fields to reflect one year, depending your reporting cycle. The reporting cycle year is 2019 for calendar year organisations, and 2018/19 for financial year organisations.
    • Enter income against each line item in the table.
    • Click ‘Save’ to return to the application form, which should display the data you entered in a table.

    To enter your expenditure for the current year:

    • Go to the ‘Future Budget Data Summary’ section of the form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ under ‘Expenses’ to add one year of financial projections.
    • Update the ‘Year’, ‘Start Date’ and ‘End Date’ fields to reflect one year, depending your reporting cycle. The reporting cycle year is 2019 for calendar year organisations, and 2018/19 for financial year organisations.
    • Enter expenses against each line item in the table.
    • Click ‘Save’ to return to the application form, which should now display the data you entered in a table.

    Repeat the steps above to add income and expenditure for the other two years.

  • Where do I enter the amount of our Four Year Funding request in the EOI form?

    You enter the amount of your request in two places. There is a question in the ‘Future Budget Data Summary’ section that asks for the annual amount of your Four Year Funding request. In addition, you should include the amount of your request in your projected income.

    To enter the first year of your Four Year Funding request into your projected income (this will be for 2021 for organisations that report on a calendar year, or 2020/21 for organisations that report on a financial year):

    • Go to the ‘Future Budget Data Summary’ section of the form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ under ‘Income’ to add one year of financial projections.
    • Update the ‘Year’, ‘Start Date’ and ‘End Date’ fields to either 2021 or 2020/21, depending whether your organisation’s reporting cycle is by calendar or financial year.
    • Enter your Four Year Funding grant request under the line item ‘Annual request for Four Year Funding per year’.
  • We currently receive Four Year Funding. How do we reflect this in our budget?

    You can enter the Four Year Funding you currently receive into the first two years of your ‘Future Budget Data Summary’.

    If you report on a calendar year basis:

    • Go to the ‘Future Budget Data Summary’ section of the form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ under ‘Income’ to add one year of financial projections.
    • Update the ‘Year’, ‘Start Date’ and ‘End Date’ fields 2019 or 2020 as required.
    • Enter the amount of Four Year Funding you currently receive under the line item ‘Annual request for Four Year Funding per year’.

    If you report on a financial year basis:

    • Go to the ‘Future Budget Data Summary’ section of the form.
    • Click on the ‘+’ under ‘Income’ to add one year of financial projections
    • Update the ‘Year’, ‘Start Date’ and ‘End Date’ fields 2018/19 or 2019/20 as required.
    • Enter the amount of Four Year Funding you currently receive under the line item ‘Annual request for Four Year Funding per year’.

Current Four Year Funding

  • We currently receive Four Year Funding. Do we need to submit an Expression of Interest?

    Yes. All organisations, including those currently in receipt of Four Year Funding, will need to submit an EOI.

  • Does the Expression of Interest count as the one application we can make in a calendar year?

    An Expression of Interest does not count towards your application total. However, if you are invited to submit an application to Stage 2, the Stage 2 application will count as one of your applications for the 2019 calendar year.

    You will be advised of the outcome of your Expression of Interest in July 2019.

    Organisations currently receiving Four Year Funding should not submit any applications to the Arts Projects – Organisations category until they know the outcome of their Expression of Interest in July 2019.

    • If you are invited to submit a Stage 2 application, that will count as your one application for 2019
    • If you are not invited to submit a Stage 2 application, you will be able to submit an application to the Arts Projects – Organisations category for the October 2019 closing date.

    These restrictions do not apply to the government programs (Playing, CMTP, CTI) or opportunities offered by our International team.

  • What organisations are currently funded?

    Find a list of the current Four Year Funded organisations here.

  • We were unaware that our FYF application counted as the only application we could submit in 2019. Could you please explain why?
    • Unfortunately this eligibility issue only became apparent as we finalised the guidelines following key decisions made by our Board in December.
    • We regret we were not able to inform FYFOs sooner, and understand your frustration.
    • We believe it is important to treat all applicants to our grants programs equally, whether they are an individual, group or organisation, and whether an organisation receives Four Year Funding or not.
    • Consequently, we will not allow organisations to submit an extra application in the 2019 calendar year.
    • If this is likely to impact on your planned activities or budget in 2019 or 2020, please discuss this with us. 
  • If we are unsuccessful with our new Four year Funding application, will we receive transitional funding?
    • The two-stage process aims to maximise the notice period for all organisations. If you are unsuccessful at the Expression of Interest stage, your organisation will have 18 months’ notice, and 9 months’ notice if you are unsuccessful at Stage 2.
    • The Australia Council is committed to working closely with organisations around the impact of the Expression of Interest / Stage 2 results. However, the form of support provided does not include a financial component.
    • The Australia Council will be in close contact with each State and Territory funding agency throughout the Four Year Funding process. Those agencies will also support organisations through any transition.
  • We currently receive Four Year Funding and provide the Australia Council with our financial / statistical / program information. Do we need to provide this again with our Expression of Interest and Stage 2 application

    Yes, please be sure to include the relevant support material and data with your application, so peers can assess your application.

    During 2019, the Australia Council is implementing a new grant management and reporting software, and we cannot guarantee at this stage that we can directly link your current reporting with your Four Year Funding application

    If this changes, we will let you know.

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