Volunteering Innovation Fund

The Victorian Government has an exciting new opportunity to inspire ideas and encourage innovation by funding community-led projects that consider new ways of volunteering in and for the environment. Parks and forests in Victoria are supported and enhanced by a host of passionate volunteers. The Volunteering Innovation Fund is building on this incredible work and inviting everyone to enjoy Victoria’s Great Outdoors through volunteering.

The Volunteering Innovation Fund will award $2million in funding over four rounds, with the final round closing in 2022.

million investment
innovate, inspire, volunteer
for nature

Round 3 is now open and closes 5:00 pm Monday 10 January 2022.

How to apply

We are looking for innovators, nature-lovers and community minded people to expand and diversify environmental volunteering across Victoria. To apply:

1. Think of a creative idea that inspires more Victorians to volunteer in and for nature
2. Read the Funding Guidelines to make sure your idea aligns
3. Apply online through ParkConnect

Online information sessions

We're hosting an online information session to provide information on Round 3 of the Volunteering Innovation Fund and answer all your questions.

Date: Thursday 9 December
Time: 12 noon - 1.30 pm

Register to attend

Vote for your favourite applications

We’ll be putting the short-list to the vote. While the Victorian Government will award the top applications for Round 1 and 3. For Round 2 and 4, we will short-list applications and funding will be decided by public vote.

The first round of voting has now closed. The second round of voting will be in Spring 2022.

Contact us

If you have any queries, or require more information, please contact Parks Victoria via email: volunteeringfund@parks.vic.gov.au or phone 1300 375 323.

Sign up for email updates

Find further information about the Youth Volunteering for Nature Fund here.

To find out more about the Volunteer Growth Fund, please contact your Ranger or email volunteer@parks.vic.gov.au.



Good innovation requires taking risks, trying something new or different. To excite people to volunteer, the Victorian Government is giving funding so your bold ideas for environmental volunteering can get off the ground.

Round 1

Congratulations to the following successful applicants in round one. Read about some of the successful round one projects underway.

White bird with black beak and legs, standing over smaller brown birds in the water.

Birdlife Australia

Monitor wetland birds (including the endangered Australasian Bittern) through solar powered acoustic monitoring stations.
A woman in a rain jacket with plaited hair and a beanie looking down at a portable tablet device in front of trees and shrubs.

Threatened Species Conservancy

Monitor and survey the threatened Fryerstown Grevillea.
Pelicans and water birds gathered in the wetlands.

Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network

Citizen science activities to collect data on the biodiversity of swamps within the Belfast Coastal Reserve.
Two people leaning over and looking at something in the rockpool.

Earthwatch Australia

New ClimateWatch app trails feature to record and view observations.
A split view above and below the water at sunset.

Victorian National Parks Association

Host community marine bio-blitz events to engage anglers as citizen science volunteers.
A group of people surveying the grassy landscape.

Nature Glenelg Trust

Build and support a volunteer-based passive environmental monitoring program.
Three adults and a child standing, surrounded by bush.

Friends of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve

Creation of a new web app to adapt and expand the capability of Surf Coast Nature Search.
People in hi-vis vests walking down stairs and looking out over the water, with boats and cityscape in the background.

headspace Early Psychosis

Design and implement a ten-week volunteer program for young people.
Overhead view of a yellow teapot and cups of tea on a colourful tablecloth.

Bush Connections

Design and implement a program that combines Forest Therapy and conservation volunteering.
People wearing hi-vis vests, safety hats and equipment on a forest path surrounded by plants and trees.

Bushwalking Victoria

Invite bushwalkers and readers to volunteer for nature.
Hooded plovers under shelter in the sand.

Friends of the Hooded Plover, Bass Coast

Trial new approaches to strengthen volunteer participation in Hooded Plover conservation.
Ferns, trees and plants.

Community Weed Alliance of the Dandenongs

End to end project that continues mapping cool temperate rainforest.
A koala in a tree.

Mornington Peninsula Koala Conservation

Work with local community and students to improve koala habitat in Dromana.
An uphill forest path between trees and plants.

The Scout Association of Australia, Victoria Branch

Scout Rover Units (age 18-26) will manage a project to rejuvenate and maintain rail trails.
People walking in small groups down a grassy hill.

Connecting Country

Guided and signposted bird walk, including launch celebrations of a virtual experience.
People kneeling on the ground, planting trees.

Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater

A series of co-designed activities, informed by the Wurundjeri calendar to protect and restore Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve.
A group of five female friends hugging and posing on the beach.

Lord Somers Camp and Power House

Free four-part environmental volunteering series for 50 young people aged 18-25 from diverse cultural backgrounds.
A group of smiling adults and kids with a Parks Victoria ranger posing between planted trees.

Jane Goodalls’ Roots and Shoots Australia

Year-long leadership program for fifteen 18-30 year olds.
Two women paused in their tree planting work on a grassy hill.

Parklands Albury Wodonga

Increase the Parks Stewardship Program in North East Victoria through two new approaches.

Round 2

Congratulations to the following successful applicants in round two. Read about some of the successful Round 2 projects underway.

A river flowing between bush and farm land.

Southern Otway Landcare Network

Reconnect the hills to the sea by restoring the Kennett River.
Close up of an owl in a tree in daylight.

Westgate Biodiversity: Bili Nursery and Landcare

Provide breeding habitat at Westgate Park for our most important urban wildlife.
A tree growing among rocks with a river in the background.

Merri Creek Management Committee

Protect 8 different threatened species, through a series of walks, workshops and working bees.
Collage of images of people working and gathered outdoors.

Horseshoe Bend Community Garden Group

Establish, restore and maintain food, native and sensory gardens and a fruit orchard.
A top-down view of a person holding a tray of seedlings.

Cairnlea Conservation Reserves Committee of Management

Run a wildflower propagation team – from home!
Community members and rangers gathered and working in a garden.

Werribee Park Farm Community Hub

Social enterprise to connect the local culturally and linguistically diverse community share skills through hands-on activities.
Members of The Friends of Terrick Terrick National Park.

The Friends of the Terrick Terrick National Park

Engage traditional elders, indigenous youth and volunteers to capture the environmental and cultural history of the Terrick Terrick National Park with murals.
Close up of a seated person wearing native animal fur and holding a carved wooden tool in their hands.

Connecting to Country

Bring together local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders and youth to partake in a conservation and land management program.
Two children and a man planting trees using shovels.

Friends of Newlands Reserve

Partner with local schools to create quality interactive walking trails.
A person standing in front of an alpine hut with 3D modelling camera equipment.

Victorian High Country Huts Association

Create 3D computer models of the Victorian High Country huts.
Split image featuring a possum on a branch at night time on the left and a Swift Parrot clinging to a leafy branch in daylight on the right.

Biolinks Alliance

Purchase monitoring technology to demonstrate how to ‘re-set’ damaged forest to recover & withstand climate change.
Two women wearing dark glasses reaching out and touching leaves on a tree with their hands.

Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria

Engage people who are blind or vision impaired and sighted volunteers in a series of group forest immersion walks.


  • What is the Volunteering Innovation Fund?
    The Volunteering Innovation Fund is part of the Victoria’s Great Outdoors program, which seeks to get more Victorians, from all walks of life outdoors enjoying nature. Parks and forests in Victoria are supported by many passionate volunteers. The Volunteering Innovation Fund is building on this incredible work and inviting others to enjoy Victoria’s Great Outdoors through volunteering. The Victorian Government is looking for innovators, nature-lovers and community minded people to expand and diversify environmental volunteering.
  • How much funding is there?

    The Volunteering Innovation Fund will award $2 million in competitive funding over three years. There will be four rounds, with the final round closing in 2022. Parks Victoria will invite the public to vote on Round 2 and 4, where Victorians can have a say in the future of volunteering.

    Successful applications will be those that expand and invigorate environmental volunteering for all Victorians to get involved. They will be new and different ideas that create change inspire volunteering and leave a legacy.

    In round 1 and 3, your application will be assessed by a Panel and you will be formally told whether you have been successful. For round 2 and 4 there will be public voting to decide funding recipients.

  • What will applications be assessed against?

    All applications will be assessed at the conclusion of each round by a panel of assessors on the following criteria:

    • • 40% Innovation: how innovative is the project?
    • • 30% Volunteerism: does it address the 'Victorians Volunteering for Nature Environmental Volunteering Plan'?
    • • 20% Merit: what are the overarching benefits of the project?
    • • 10% Legacy: will the project leave a legacy?

    As part of the Volunteerism criteria, projects must address one or more of the following ‘Victorians Volunteering for Nature, Environmental Volunteering Plan’ Key Focus Areas:


    • • Increase the number of volunteers participating for the first time
    • • Support existing volunteer groups to retain, support and grow volunteering
    • • Develop sustainable models of volunteering
    • • Improve volunteer management


    • • Increase the number and diversity of people volunteering in our parks and forests
    • • Develop new and innovative approaches to volunteering
    • • Expand volunteering opportunities into areas currently not offered
    • • Enhance inclusivity and accessibility to volunteers and visitors


    • • Celebrate volunteering
    • • Promote the benefits of volunteering


    • • Identify and encourage new volunteer partnerships
    • • Understand more about environmental volunteering
  • How do I apply?

    If you are interested in applying for funding through the Volunteering Innovation Fund you need to:

    1. Think of a creative idea that inspires more Victorians to volunteer in and for nature.

    2. Read the Funding Guidelines to make sure your idea aligns.

    3. Apply online through ParkConnect.

    In rounds 1 and 3 your application will be assessed by a Panel and you will be formally told whether you have been successful. For rounds 2 and 4 there will be public voting to decide funding recipients.

  • What will happen during the public voting rounds?

    Applications to round 2 and 4 will be assessed using the same criteria. The top scoring eligible applications will then go up for public vote on Engage Victoria. The public will vote for their preferred projects. Votes will be tallied and those scoring the most public votes will be awarded funding.

    The Victorian Government will award funding to an application as a ‘Judges Choice’ in each public voting round. The ‘Judges Choice’ will be awarded to an application that is scored highly by the Assessment Panel, but did not score the most public votes.

  • If I run an existing program, can it receive funding as part of the Volunteering Innovation Fund?

    Yes, we are encouraging existing volunteers and volunteer organisations to apply. All applications will be assessed against the same criteria.

    Applications need to demonstrate innovation and align with the Victorians Volunteering for Nature Environmental Volunteering Plan as well as show merit, and overarching benefits. Existing volunteer programs may demonstrate these things by expanding and diversifying their volunteer base in creative ways, offering more diverse volunteer experiences (such as one-day opportunities rather than ongoing memberships) etc.  

  • Where can I learn more?

    We’re here to help and want to make sure that the best ideas are those that are funded. There is a wealth of information on ParkConnect to support people and organisations wishing to apply for funding through the Volunteering Innovation Fund. This includes Fact Sheets, Funding guidelines, and eligibility criteria. Our aim is to make applying for funding easy, please call our team on 1300 375 323, or email them at volunteeringfund@parks.vic.gov.au to answer your questions and improve your chances of success.

By using our site you accept that we use and share cookies and similar technologies with certain approved third parties. These tools enable us to improve your website experience and to provide content and ads tailored to your interests. By continuing to use our site you consent to this. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.