Waitaha Action to Impact Fund guide

The Waitaha Action to Impact Fund is a contestable fund for community organisations in Canterbury. The fund aims to build community engagement and action for a better environment in the region. 

Applications to the fund are now closed. 


There are three key criteria you need to meet to be eligible for funding:  

  1. Your community organisation must be a legal entity, such as an incorporated society or charitable trust and a registered charity or not-for-profit organisation. 
  2. Your project must align with our Strategic Direction/Te Aronga Rautaki 2020-2023, and one or more of our enduring priorities:  
    • Decisive action for healthy fresh water, land and coastal ecosystems 
    • Fostering relationships to underpin regional leadership for our communities 
    • Sustainable and healthy living and working environments 
    • Helping communities be well prepared for changes in the natural environment. 
  3. You must supply 30% of the project budget, this may come from funding or equivalent in-kind contributions, such as volunteer hours. 

This fund is not open to individuals, businesses, educational institutions, or government agencies.

Project funding

You can apply for a minimum of $5,000 per year, or $10,000 across three years, with a maximum of $30,000 per application per year.

We may not be able to fund the full amount that you have applied for. 

Your contribution 

We require you to provide a minimum of 30% contribution to the overall project cost; this means that if your total project budget is $10,000, you may apply to us for $7,000, with $3000 being contributions from other sources. This can be from another source of funding or an in-kind contribution.  

Calculating in-kind contribution 

In-kind contributions can be staff time, materials or equipment that contribute specifically to your project. This can be provided by your organisation or by others who are involved in the project. For a contribution to count as in-kind, it must be specifically for the project and not something that would be done anyway.   

You may want to use volunteer hours as your in-kind contribution. Use the table below to convert volunteer hours or other in-kind contributions to a dollar amount:  

Type of in-kind contribution  Rate/s  Comments 
Labour – specialist or project management 

Actual hourly rate for the labour, with a maximum rate of $70 per hour.

This type of labour must make up no more than 15% of total project cost. Please be realistic about the amount of time being put forward. Factors to consider include whether that person is on site as part of their regular work. 
Labour – contractor/skilled labour or staff time

Actual hourly rate for the labour, with a maximum rate of $45 per hour for skilled labour, or $50 per hour for fencing installation.

Actual costs resulting from the project work. 
Labour – volunteer labour 

Maximum rate of $22.75 per hour for unskilled manual labour (2021 living wage).

 Most of the volunteer workforce should fall into this category. 
Donated goods and services 

Market based cost of the item, for example, cost of advertising or cost of renting machinery/ equipment   

Out-of-pocket expenses that are directly related to the project.
What can a grant be used for?

Funds may be used for:  

  • Tangible goods (plants, building materials, etc) 
  • Services (project management, technical advice, education, etc) 
  • Community engagement (coordination, facilitation, etc) 
  • Capacity and capability (upskilling, salary, etc) 
  • Sponsorship/donation (events, awards, etc) 
  • Other on case-by-case basis. 

Funds must not support:

  • Organisations and/or initiatives that are primarily political in nature
  • Any project that will exclusively result in private gain
  • Any project that is a legal obligation or condition of a resource consent.
Assessing applications

All eligible funding applications will be assessed based on the following:

  • how well each application aligns with Council's Strategic Direction
  • how much of an impact it is likely to make and value for money
  • contribution to our work programmes
  • the significance of the problem or opportunity
  • the organisation’s ability to complete the project (eg contribute additional funding/in-kind support or use a grant to generate funding from other sources)
  • the project management, including leadership and financial oversight
  • the extent to which the community, including young people, are likely to be engaged
  • continuity where groups or projects have previously been funded, and any risks from discontinuing funding.

Applications will be ranked and those ranked highest will be allocated funding. We also want to ensure projects from across the region are funded.  

Applying for funding

To apply, complete this application form.

We recommend you download the list of the questions (Office Open XML Document, 224.3KB), draft your responses, and then copy and paste the text into the online form.

We will accept applications in other formats but would prefer them to be submitted online. 

Frequently asked questions

How much money is available for the fund?

$100,000 is available in the 2021/22 financial year.  

This will increase to $300,000 in 2022/23 and $350,000 in 2023/24 financial year.   

Can we apply for funding for more than one year?

Yes, in 2021 you can apply for funding for up to three years. We will confirm funding for the  2022/23 and 2023/24 years in May/June 2021 once we have reviewed the current application process.

Funding will not be allocated past the end of June 2024 as this is when Council reviews its strategic direction and priorities and updates its Long-Term Plan

What if we only need a small amount of funding?

As is the case currently, you can complete the online Community Event Assistance form. This applies to both non-financial support (eg staff advice and support, use of resources and equipment) and financial support (ie small grants and sponsorship). 

Can we apply for funding for work that has already been carried out, or that we are intending to do before we hear if our application has been successful?

No, if you are successful, we will only fund work carried out after a funding agreement has been signed.

We’ve received funding from Environment Canterbury before, can we apply again?

Yes, we welcome applications from groups we have ongoing relationships with, as well as groups that are new to us.

Will you accept joint applications from more than one group?

Yes, we welcome applications for joint projects, but the lead organisation will need to be a legal entity and take responsibility for administering the fund and keeping track of spending.

Can we apply to more than one Environment Canterbury fund and how do we know if we have applied to the right one?

If you are unsure which fund is the best fit, contact us and we can advise. There may be occasions when applications to more than one fund could support complementary aspects of the same project.  

If staff feel your application aligns better with another fund, we will be in touch.  

What happens if we have applied to other funders for the same purpose and we are successful?

Let us know as soon as possible if you no longer need funding, so we can allocate it to another group. Please note, funding allocated for one project or type of activity is not transferable without prior approval.

Can you provide examples of the sorts of projects you will fund?

The 2021/22 funding round is a pilot so we do not have any examples. In future years, lists of successful applications will be available on our website.

Who makes the decision on allocating funding?

For the pilot, a panel of senior Environment Canterbury staff will review all applications and allocate the funding.

How will the decision be made?

The panel will allocate funding based on a range of factors while ensuring the fund is used to support projects from across the region. The factors that will be considered include: 

  • how well each application aligns with our enduring priorities 
  • how much of an impact it is likely to make and value for money 
  • contribution to our work programmes 
  • the significance of the problem or opportunity  
  • the applicant’s ability to complete the project (eg contribute additional funding/in-kind support or use a grant to
  • generate funding from other sources) 
  • the project management, including leadership and financial oversight    
  • the extent to which the community, including young people, are likely to be engaged 
  • continuity where groups or projects have previously been funded, and any risks from discontinuing funding. 

Applications will be ranked and those ranked highest will be allocated funding.

What happens if there isn’t enough funding for all the applications that meet the criteria?

Unfortunately, we may have to decline applications that meet all the criteria if the total amount applied for exceeds the funds we have available.

When will we hear?

We’ll send you an acknowledgement of the receipt of your application and we’ll let you know if you need to supply any further information.  

We hope to be able to notify all applicants of the outcome in November 2021. 

If your application is successful, we will provide information about what happens next and how and when you can access the funding.   

What will you expect us to do if we are successful?

You will sign a funding agreement that sets out what you are agreeing to do with the funding, the timeframes and any milestones.  

We will expect you to acknowledge our support wherever relevant. 

We will expect you to report back to us on how the money has been spent and what has been achieved with it. 

We will try to make sure that the accountability requirements are in proportion to the amount of funding and other support involved. We can provide you with a template and show you examples of the sort of report we will expect. 

Will the list of successful applicants be publicly available?

Yes, we will publish the list of successful applicants, the amounts allocated, and a brief description of the project on our website and report the allocations in our quarterly and annual reporting.  

What if we aren’t a legal entity?

You could consider partnering with a community organisation that has legal entity status. Or, get in touch with us communitygrants@ecan.govt.nz, as we may be able to suggest a group you can link up with.

Can someone help me write my application?

Sorry, we don’t currently have staff resources for that, but we have tried to make the process as easy as possible.

Please let us know if you think there is a way we can make it more user friendly. Contact us.

We will check for completeness when we receive your application and let you know if we need any more information.