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Program guidelines

The Investing in Women funding program funds NSW organisations to develop and implement innovative projects that support the:

  • economic opportunity and advancement,
  • participation and empowerment, and
  • leadership of women in NSW.

Increasing women’s participation leads to benefits for individuals, families and the community. Advancing the role, status and contribution of women and girls in our communities will grow the talent pool available for the workforce, encourage more diversity and flexibility for women and men in the workplace, and result in increased innovation, productivity and prosperity.

Since 2013, Women NSW has delivered five rounds of Investing in Women funding to enhance women’s economic opportunities and leadership in NSW. In 2016-17, ten organisations received a grant under the program. More information about successful projects is available on the Women NSW website.

1. What projects is the NSW government looking to fund?

The 2018 Investing in Women funding program seeks to fund innovative projects that address one or more of the seven program focus areas:

  1. women’s economic opportunity and advancement
  2. equitable workplaces for women and men
  3. women in small business
  4. women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers
  5. women in male-dominated trades
  6. women in leadership roles
  7. leadership pathways for young women.

Projects should be guided by current NSW and Australian policy in this area, including the NSW Premier’s PrioritiesNSW Jobs for the Future Report, and Towards 2025: Boosting Australian Women’s Workforce Participation.

Priority Areas

The NSW Government has identified the following priority areas to guide project design. The suggestions below are a guide, and your project proposal may expand on these ideas:

Women’s economic opportunity and advancement

Projects that:

  • work with industry to develop innovative approaches to provide women with greater economic opportunities
  • increase financial literacy for women and/or girls
  • seek to address the significant challenges and barriers experienced by female carers in combining caring and paid work
  • seek to reduce barriers to employment for women and/or girls from  the identified priority groups, and/or
  • create access and opportunity for female entrepreneurs.

Equitable workplaces for women and men

Projects that:

  • empower women to take control of their careers and develop confidence and skills, such as salary negotiation and interview skills for women entering diverse industries, and/or
  • seek to improve gender parity.

Women In Small Business

Projects that:

  • train women with the skills needed to establish or run a small business
  • mentor women in small business, and/or
  • support small businesses to create employment opportunities for women from priority groups.

Women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (stem) careers

Projects that:

  • improve visibility and uptake of STEM subjects and career pathways for girls and young women, and/or
  • support an increasing number of highly trained female STEM teachers.

Women in male-dominated trades

Projects that:

  • support and contribute to an increase in the number of skilled women construction workers and the number of women in trade-related work
  • develop resources to assist employers to create and foster tradeswoman-friendly workplace cultures and behaviours
  • encourage employers to take on female apprentices
  • expose young women to career pathways in trades, and/or
  • challenge stereotypes associated with different types of work to facilitate a diverse workforce and reduce gender segregation across occupations and industries.

Women In Leadership Roles

Projects that:

  • develop strategies for increasing women’s overall representation on boards and committees
  • provide mentoring opportunities to help women into leadership positions, and/or
  • reduce barriers to women’s access to leadership opportunities.

Leadership pathways for young women

Projects that:

  • partner with private industry and the education sector to promote entrepreneurial opportunities and develop networks for women, and/or
  • provide mentoring to increase young women’s leadership opportunities and skills.

Prioty Groups

Projects that specifically target and support the following priority groups will be prioritised for funding over other equally ranked projects:

  • women living and/or working in regional NSW
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
  • women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
  • young women
  • women with disability
  • older women, and/or
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) women

2. How much grant funding can you apply for?

The grant program will fund projects according to stages of development. There are three categories of grant funding available for this grant round:

Table 1: Funding categories
Explore and scope Up to $25,000 Projects that are at an early stage and organisations are looking to explore and develop a project.
Test and grow Up to $50,000 Projects that have been scoped and investigated and are ready to be tested or projects that have been tested and are showing positive outcomes and seek testing/piloting on a larger scale.
Replication and sustainability Up to $100,000 Projects that have been tested and show strong outcomes, have demonstrated ongoing viability and are looking to be taken to the next level of impact and self-sustainability.

3. What can you spend the grant funding on?

Grant funding can only be used for expenses directly related to the delivery of your project.

You must clearly outline your proposed expenditure in your application and demonstrate how your project will demonstrate value for money.

The Investing in Women funding program provides recipients with a one-year non-recurrent grant. You must spend the funding and complete the project within 12 months of receiving grant monies.

4. Restricted uses of funds

Funding is not available for the restricted uses outlined in the table below:

Table 2: Restricted uses of funds 
Restricted itemDetails

You cannot use the funds to organise/hold a conference or workshops, or to pay for an individual or group to attend a conference.  Any project which includes a conference or workshop component as part of a wider project must fund it from an in-kind contribution.

For the purposes of these guidelines, a conference or workshop is a meeting of a group of people primarily for the purposes of discussing and sharing information on a particular subject or project. This does not include structured, time-limited courses, with practical and clear outcomes, such as a training program or educational course.

Wages and salaries You cannot use funds to pay a staff member the salary or wages (in part or in full) that they would normally be paid. Staff contributions to the project are expected to be provided in-kind by your organisation.
Fundraising events designed specifically for the purpose of fundraising for charities or for the organisation  
Activities which require participants to pay more than a nominal amount to attend Any fee or cost to project participants should consider the resulting benefits for each individual, and their capacity to pay. For example, it may not be reasonable to expect a target group of unemployed women, or school aged girls, to contribute to a discounted fee for a course, even if the qualification is valued at significantly more.
Business capital or start-up funding  
General equipment Such as computers, iPads, or other items not specific to the project.
Capital works The purchase of, or costs of repair, extension or renovation to, buildings or any form of capital works.
Non-essential costs Costs that are not essential or not related to the proposed core activity.
Retrospective costs Funds will not be provided for events that have already taken place or costs incurred prior to the project starting.
Overseas travel cost Such as the cost of travelling overseas to attend a conference.
Events/projects that are run for solely commercial purposes or benefit Projects must directly benefit women and/or girls, and not have a commercial focus.
Internal staff/ organisational development For example, funds cannot be used to provide staff training, such as leadership training for female staff.
Research Research projects where the sole objectives are research outcomes with no direct tangible benefits to the target group.
Activities and programs that are business as usual You cannot use funds from the program to fund your usual organisational activities, programs, or functions, including:
  • organisational costs for the delivery of ongoing services
  • increased capacity or staffing
  • capital investments, and/or
  • training for ongoing service delivery.

5. Who can apply

Applicants must be a legally constituted Australian-based entity. This includes:

  • Not-for-profit organisations, including community organisations
  • Universities
  • Sole traders/entrepreneurs
  • Local councils and shires, including regional organisations of councils and consortia of councils
  • Industry bodies and the private sector working in partnership with the community or government on initiatives directly supporting women and girls
    • For-profit organisations must demonstrate that the activities being applied for are being delivered on a not-for-profit basis.

Location of applicants and activities

Organisations based outside NSW may be eligible to apply, however, support for organisations based outside NSW is rare and the application must clearly demonstrate that the activity being applied for will:

  • be delivered in NSW and
  • predominantly engage NSW based girls/women and
  • provide significant direct benefits to NSW girls/women, and to NSW communities.

For applicants based outside NSW, please contact Women NSW to discuss your application before applying.

Application limits

Previous applicants may re-apply. If you intend to submit an application that you have previously submitted, but which was unsuccessful, you may wish to contact Women NSW for feedback prior to resubmitting.

6. Assessment criteria

Your application must clearly demonstrate how your project meets the assessment criteria. The assessment panel will consider all elements of your project equally.

Please note that there can be no assumed knowledge. The assessment panel can only consider the information provided in your application.

Your application will be assessed against the following criteria:

Table 3: Assessment criteria
numberCriteriaHow your application will be assessed
1 Eligibility
  • Your project benefits women and/or girls.
  • You meet the applicant requirements.
  • You are not seeking funding for activities already completed, or due to be completed before the funding period commences.
  • You are not seeking 100% funding from Women NSW – all applications must include income from other sources (cash or in-kind).
2 Relevant and evidence based
  • Your project clearly outlines how the proposed project will deliver benefits in one or more of the seven program focus areas.
  • Your project has a clear and well-refined problem statement, that identifies the specific need for women and/or girls that will be resolved through the project.
  • Your project provides a relevant, feasible and evidence-based proposal for how the project will meet a defined community need.
  • Your project directly targets and benefits a defined priority group.
3 Benefits to women and/or girls
  • Your project outlines the practical ways that women and/or girls will benefit from the project.
  • Your project outlines how the project will create sustainable change and ongoing benefits for the project target group, and women and/or girls more broadly.
  • Your project outlines identifiable outcomes and how they will be measured and evaluated.
  • The proposal has an evaluation strategy with clear metrics for measuring success in achieving identified program outcomes
4 Project partnerships and collaboration
  • Your project proposes meaningful partnerships to support the project, and clearly outlines partner contributions.
  • Your project demonstrates effective collaboration and partnerships with local community organisations, groups, services, and businesses.
5 Clear project plan and outcomes You provide a clear project plan for delivering the project. 
The project must demonstrate:
  • commencement by 1 July 2018 and completion by 30 June 2019
  • specific timeframes for each activity/task, and
  • clearly defined outcomes.
6 Organisational capacity
  • Your application demonstrates that the organisation has the appropriate skills and expertise to deliver the project, including prior experience delivering similar project activities and outcomes.
  • Your project demonstrates capacity to provide ongoing value beyond the funding provided under the Investing in Women program e.g. the development of resources or modules for ongoing or repeat delivery.
7 Value for money
  • Your project represents value for money in terms of both overall costs, and the value of the outcomes and benefits that will be delivered.
  • Your project proposal must outline how many women and girls will benefit from the project. Your application will receive a higher score for this criteria if your project delivers a benefit to a greater number of women compared to a project with similar delivery costs, that provides a similar level of benefit, but to only several women.
  • It is unlikely that applications seeking funding for projects that benefit one recipient will be successful due to the value for money requirement.

7. Evidence requirements

Projects must be evidence-based. Applicants must be able to demonstrate the evidence for the specific problem (i.e. the need for the intervention), as well as the evidence that the specific intervention is fit for purpose and will address the identified problem.

The evidence for both the problem and intervention should be:

  • Relevant: the evidence is directly related to the problem and intervention.
  • Reliable: the evidence is from a source or person that has knowledge and/or experience related to the problem and intervention. The reliability of evidence is strengthened when it can be supported through different information-gathering methods.
  • Current: the evidence is up to date (to provide a baseline against which change can be measured).
  • Adequate:there is enough evidence to verify the existence and size of the problem, as well as the rigour and effectiveness of the intervention.

The specific problem should be articulated in terms of extent, demographics and location.

Evidence of the problem can be demonstrated through:

  • published data
  • peer-reviewed published research, and/or
  • independent program evaluations.

It is recognised that some innovative solutions may lack a strong evidence base, however, applicants should demonstrate and apply relevant experience, practice wisdom, and correlations with evidence from other areas.

Appendix A contains a non-exhaustive list of sources of evidence.

8. Data collection

Successful applicants must collect data for the purposes of both contract performance monitoring and evaluation. Before the project starts, you will need to consider what data to collect, and how you will collect the data both at the start of the project and on an ongoing basis.

During the contracting stage, and prior to projects commencing, successful applicants will need to develop a written Data Collection Plan. The Plan must specify what data is needed, when and how the data will be collected, and who will collect the data.

9. Project evaluation

Applicants must factor in evaluation in the project budget and the timeframe for delivering the project. Projects must be completed within 12 months of commencing, which includes the evaluation component of the project.

You must include in your application how you will evaluate your project. Projects should be evaluated in terms of both processes and outcomes.

A process evaluation looks at how a project works and whether the project activities have been implemented as intended. An outcome evaluation seeks to evaluate the extent to which a project meets its goals or objectives.

To conduct an evaluation, successful recipients will need to collect and analyse data. There are a range of data collection methods that can be used. The major data collection methods and their purposes, strengths and challenges are summarised in Appendix B: Guidance for preparing applications and evaluation.

10. How to apply

To apply, please read the funding guidelines, and submit your application using the SmartyGrants portal.

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

11. Timeline

Friday 9 March 2018 
9:00AM (AEDT)
Grant applications open
Sunday 22 April 2018 
11:59PM (AEST)
Grant applications close
23 April – 31 May 2018 Women NSW assesses grant applications
1 – 30 June 2018 Notice and feedback to all applicants, and public announcement of grant recipients
1 – 30 June 2018 Contracting with successful applicants
1 July 2018 Project implementation period commences

NB: The above dates are proposed only and are subject to change. Women NSW will notify applicants of any changes to time frames and deadlines.

Late applications will not be accepted.

12. How applications are assessed

You will receive an automated email via the SmartyGrants portal when Women NSW receives your application.

All applications are assessed through a two-stage process as outlined below:

Stage 1 – eligibility check

Women NSW staff will undertake an eligibility check of all grant applications.

Applications will be considered for eligibility against the eligibility criteria outlined in the funding guidelines – see Table 3: Assessment criteria.  

Stage 2 – Assessment

An assessment panel will assess all eligible applications against the criteria outlined in Table 3: Assessment criteria. The panel consists of qualified and experienced representatives, and may include Women NSW staff, representatives of Government agencies, representatives from the private sector and representatives from community organisations.

An application that fails to meet one or more of the assessment criteria will not be eligible for funding. Due to the competitive nature of the Investing in Women funding program, not all applications that meet the assessment criteria are able to be funded.

The panel will submit final recommendations for the consideration of the Minister for Women (or authorised delegate).

13. Contact Women NSW

If you have any questions about the grants that are not covered in the funding guidelines, please contact Women NSW:

Phone: (02) 9248 0800


Terms and Conditions

14. Disclaimer

Submission of an application does not guarantee funding. Previous successful Investing in Women funding program applicants are not guaranteed funding in 2017-18.

FACS accepts no responsibility for your project, irrespective of the funding provided by the agency to support the project, and irrespective of its listing on the Women NSW website or other FACS publications.

Organisations are responsible for meeting their duty of care and all other obligations to project participants and other stakeholders.

15. NSW government brand guidelines

Grant recipients are required to acknowledge the contribution and support of the NSW Government in accordance with the NSW Government Brand Guidelines.

16. Media and disclosure of project information

Grant recipients agree to information about the project being used for evaluation, promotional and media purposes. Should your application be successful, Women NSW may need to provide certain information to the media and Members of Parliament for promotional activities. Grant recipients should not make public announcements about their project without prior approval from Women NSW.

Grant recipients agree to obtain consent from Project Participants (using the FACS Still and moving images consent form (event))for all still and moving images of participants captured by project organisers during the course of the Project and provided to FACS.

Grant recipients acknowledge that the information provided in the application, and any images of the project provided to FACS, may be used by FACS in media and promotional activities such as publishing case studies, social media and website content, and/or media releases.

17. Reporting requirements

Grant recipients are required to enter into a funding agreement with FACS. Organisations funded by FACS must operate in accordance with their contract and with legislation, policies and guidelines relevant to their program funding.

Grant recipients will be required to evaluate their project within 12 months of commencing (and no later than 30 June 2019), and to submit a project acquittal and report within one month of completing the project.

18. Privacy policy

The NSW Government will collect and store the information you voluntarily provide to enable implementation of this grant program. Any information provided by you will be stored on a database that will only be accessed by authorised personnel and is subject to privacy restrictions. The information will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected.

The NSW Government is required to comply with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. The NSW Government collects the minimum personal information to enable it to contact an organisation and to assess the merits of an application.

Applicants must ensure that people whose personal details are supplied with applications are aware that the NSW Government is being supplied with this information and how this information will be used.

19. Government information (public access) act 2009

Information received in applications and in respect of applications is treated as confidential. However, documents in the possession of the Government are subject to the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. Under some circumstances a copy of the application form and other material supplied by the applicant may be released, subject to the deletion of exempt material, in response to a request made in accordance with the Act.

Appendix a: sources of evidence

Below is a non-exhaustive list of resources which can be used as a starting point to gather evidence for specific problem (i.e. the need for the intervention), as well as the evidence that the specific intervention (your project proposal) is fit for purpose and will address the identified problem.

Appendix b: guidance for preparing applications and evaluation

Below is a non-exhaustive list of sources of guidance and information to assist in developing ideas for the Investing in Women funding program, and preparing applications.

Office for social impact investment technical guide: outcomes measurement for social impact investment proposals to the nsw government

The Technical Guide was created to support social impact investment proposals, however, it includes guidance relevant for applications under the Investing in Women funding program.   
At a minimum, applicants should read:

  • Section 2.2.1 Identifying the target population
  • Section 2.2.2 Expected effect of the intervention
  • Section 2.3.1 Defining program logic
  • Section 2.3.2 Key principles of program logic
  • Section 2.4 Outcomes

Project evaluation

Applicants should refer to the below guidance when preparing their application:

NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet Evaluation Toolkit

The Evaluation Toolkit provides advice and resources for planning and conducting a program evaluation.

NSW Government Program Evaluation Guidelines

The Program Evaluation Guidelines outline best practice principles to plan and conduct program evaluations.

Table 4: Evaluation methods
questionnaires, checklists
To gather information in a non-threatening way
  • can be completed anonymously
  • inexpensive
  • easy to analyse
  • can be administered to a large number of people
  • can gather a large amount of data
  • may not get well-considered feedback
  • wording can bias responses
  • impersonal does not provide the full picture
Interviews To gain in-depth understanding of people’s impressions or experiences
  • provide in-depth information
  • develop relationship with participants
  • can be flexible
  • time-consuming
  • more difficult to analyse
  • costly
  • interviewer can bias responses
Document review To learn how a project is run without interrupting the project
  • provide historical and comprehensive information
  • does not interrupt the running of the project
  • information readily available
  • few biases
  • time-consuming
  • information may be incomplete
  • need to be clear on what information is being sought
  • limited to existing data
Observation To collect information about how a project operates in practice
  • observe how a project is operating as it is being run
  • adaptable to events as they occur
  • can be difficult to interpret
  • can be hard to categorise observations
  • can influence behaviour of project participants
  • can be expensive
Focus groups To explore a topic through group discussion
  • get common impressions
  • efficient way to obtain a range of in-depth information
  • can provide key information about the project
  • hard to analyse responses
  • need skilled facilitator
  • can be difficult to schedule 6–8 people together
Case studies To understand or describe participants’ experiences, and undertake full examination through comparison of cases
  • describes participant’s experiences in detail
  • paints a full picture of participants’ experiences to  outsiders
  • time-consuming to gather, organise and describe the cases
  • provide in-depth information but not a range of information/ experiences
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Last updated: 28 Feb 2019