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.

Launching in Spring 2020, there will be multiple competitive funding rounds between 2020 and 2023, with funding up to $20,000 or $50,000 available per project.

This $2 million investment is part of the Victoria’s Great Outdoors program, to encourage innovation, inspire more Victorians to volunteer for nature, and attract a greater diversity of people volunteering in parks and forests.


Voting is now open

We’ve received lots of great applications for community-led projects that consider new ways of volunteering in and for the environment.

Vote on the most innovative and impactful projects that inspire you to volunteer for nature.

To have your say, visit www.engage.vic.gov.au/volunteeringinnovationfund

Online voting closes at 5pm on Thursday 12 August 2021.


Round one winners

Congratulations to the following successful applicants in round one.

Read about some of the successful projects underway.

map of victoria with icons marking successful applications 



Applicant

Project title

Funding awarded

BirdLife Australia

Citizen scientist-led Eco acoustic monitoring of wetland soundscapes $20,000.00
Bushwalking Victoria Inc

Re-engage volunteers in a post COVID era $4,120.00
Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater Inc.

Re-Generating Volunteers: Connecting People to Parks
$19,985.00
Community Weed Alliance of the Dandenongs

Restore Cool Temperate Rainforest in Sassafras Creek $20,000.00
Connecting Country Inc.

Birding for beginners: engage and celebrate volunteers in Central Victoria
$16,350.00
Friends of Lake Modewarre

Planting the seeds of environmental passion in young school children
$2,100.00
Mornington Peninsula Koala Conservation

Dromana koala habitat restoration $6,400.00
Bush Connections

Bush Connections at Gresswell Forest Wildflower Patch $14,382.00
Lord Somers Camp and Power House

Nature Calling Youth Program $20,000.00
Threatened Species Conservancy

Tracking Success, threatened species citizen science project.
$19,985.00
Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network

Saltwater and Kelly's Swamps Citizen Science Project 2021
$20,000.00
Earthwatch Australia

In-App Wayfinding for ClimateWatch in Parks Trails
$20,000.00
Headspace Early Psychosis

Nature Space
$17,112.00
The Scout Association of Australia

Rail Trail Regeneration
$20,000.00
Victorian National Parks Association

RECON – Engaging recreational users in nature based citizen science
$19,800.00
Nature Glenelg Trust

New Tech Volunteering: Novel citizen science for Grampians wetlands
$19,997.00
Parklands Albury Wodonga Limited

Diversifying Park Stewardship Program
$20,000.00
Friends of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve

Bellarine Nature Search
$9,951.00
Friends of the Hooded Plover

Strengthening current and future volunteer participation in Hooded Plover conservation
$8,788.00
Jane Goodalls' Roots and Shoots Australia

Roots and Shoots Victorian Leadership Experience
$5,500.00 

What are we looking for?

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

Good innovation requires taking risks, trying something new or different. To excite people to volunteer, the Victorian Government is giving funding in two sizes: smaller amounts (up to $20,000) and larger (up to $50,000) so that your bold ideas for environmental volunteering can get off the ground.

Successful applications will be those that create change, inspire volunteering, and leave a legacy.

 




Innovation Volunteerism Merit Legacy

When to apply?

The second round of funding (up to $50,000) opens 9 am Thursday 11 March 2021 and closes 5 pm Thursday 6 May 2021.

In rounds worth up to $20,000, your application will be assessed by a Panel and you will be formally told whether you have been successful. For rounds of up to $50,000 short-listed applications will be put to public vote to decide funding recipients.

timeline info graphic

 

Visit Park Connect to register and submit your application.


How to 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 parks and forests.

2. Check how well your project matches the Volunteering Innovation Fund Criteria by reading the Funding Guidelines. You can also call the team at Parks Victoria to discuss.

3. Register with Park Connect.

4. Apply to the Volunteering Innovation Fund.

5. Respond to any requests for additional information from Parks Victoria.

6. Receive the outcome of your application (successful or unsuccessful), and if successful:

a) Deliver your project

b) Share your success

c) Close (acquit) your project.


Supporting resources

We’re here to help and want to make sure that the best ideas are those that are funded. Our aim is to make applying for funding easy. Please call our team 1300 375 323, email them volunteeringfund@parks.vic.gov.au, and review our resources to improve your chances of success:


Online information sessions

Keep an eye out for dates when Round 3 opens in Spring 2021.


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 funding (up to $20,000). For larger amounts of funding (up to $50,000), we will short-list applications and funding will be decided by public vote.

The first round of voting will be in July 2021.


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

FAQs

  • 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 multiple rounds, with funding up to $20,000 (excluding GST) and $50,000 (excluding GST) available per application. Parks Victoria will invite the public to vote on the larger rounds ($50,000), 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.

  • What will applications be assessed against?

    Applications will be assessed on:

    • • 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:


    Sustain

    • • 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

    Expand

    • • 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

    Value

    • • Celebrate volunteering
    • • Promote the benefits of volunteering

    Understand

    • • 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 parks and forests.

    2. Check your how well your project matches the Volunteering Innovation Fund Criteria by reading Funding Guidelines. You can also call the team at Parks Victoria to discuss if you are unsure.

    3. Register with Park Connect.

    4. Apply to the Volunteering Innovation Fund.

    5. Respond to any requests for additional information from Parks Victoria.

    6. Receive the outcome of your application (successful or unsuccessful), and if successful:

    a. Deliver your project

    b. Share your success 

    c. Close (acquit) your project.


    In rounds worth up to $20,000, your application will be assessed by a Panel and you will be formally told whether you have been successful. For rounds of up to $50,000 there will be public voting to decide funding recipients.

  • What will happen during $50,000 public voting rounds?

    Applications to the $50,000 round will be assessed using the same criteria. The top scoring 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 one application as a ‘Judges Choice’ in each $50,000 round. The ‘Judges Choice’ will be awarded to an application that is scored highly by the Assessment Panel, but did not win the ‘People’s Choice’ in public voting.

  • 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?

    There is a wealth of information to support people and organisations wishing to apply for funding through the Volunteering Innovation Fund. This includes Fact Sheets, Funding guidelines, criteria and staff on-hand to answer your questions.

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