Frequently Asked Questions

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 Funding / Application Related Questions

Any incorporated or non-incorporated not for profit body can apply for a grant. In general this means an organisation will be:

  • An incorporated society or an incorporated charitable trust - check your registration at Societies & Trusts
  • A limited liability company fully owned by one of the above and operating for charitable purposes - check with Charities Services
  • A non-legal (non-incorporated) entity which may apply for a grant of up to $1,000
  • State funded education provider
  • Local Authority
  • Marea
  • Organisations that are operating in our funding boundary which is the provincial district of Otago.

The Otago Community Trust funding area is principally the provincial district of Otago. West Otago, Queenstown and Arrowtown districts are outside our funding boundry. We support organisations who work in our defined funding area. If your organisation is based outside our funding area we can consider your project, if it can demonstrate that it will be of benefit to Otago.

To view our funding area click HERE

What we fund?

Otago Community Trust provides grants to not-for-profit community groups and projects that make a positive contribution to Otago communities.

From 1 April 2022 we will adopt four new Funding Pillars which become our key strategic focus areas. These are:

  • Empowered communities,
  • Improved health and wellbeing,
  • Increased access to opportunities and
  • Thriving children and young people.

Our five funding sectors remain unchanged. Otago Community Trust will continue to award grants, both small and large, covering a wide range of projects and activities across the sectors of Arts and Culture, Community, Environment and Heritage, Learning and Sport and Recreation

Learn more about 'What we Fund' HERE

What Otago Community Trust does not fund?

Learn More about our 'General Exclusions' HERE

Normally each not for profit organisation is only eligible to receive one grant per finanical year, running from 1 April to 31 March. 

It is important to note that we cannot fund retrospectively, so it is important you allow sufficient time for your application to be considered. Applications take anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks to process.

Please note applications for Events should reach the trust at least three months prior to commencement or opening. Applications received later than three months may not be considered. Consideration also needs to be made of the Trusts close down period over December and January each year.

If your application is declined during the year please feel free to apply again. We strongly encourage you to phone one of our Grants Team if your application is unsuccessful. They will be able to offer guidance and advice.

We expect grants to be used for the purpose they were applied, and granted, for. However we appreciate that occasionally circumstances change and you may wish to spend the grant slightly differently. Please contact our Grants Team to talk through any changes, before the funds are spent.

Once it arrives into the Otago Community Trust system, our administration team checks to see you have have submitted all of the requested information.

Next it passes to one of our Grants team, who will look at the application.

The assessors and advisors will look to see your application meets our eligibility criteria and is not requesting an excluded item.

Our team will also look to see what difference your project will make and how your organisation is placed to deliver the project. We may seek additional information from you by letter, phone or a meeting.

We will also look to see how strongly your application aligns with our funding framework. 

A report, which summarises the application, is presented to Trustees.

The Trustees will make the final decision on supporting or declining applications.

You are also welcome to contact us at any time to check on the progress of your application.   

When will I hear from you?

We do not write and tell you we have received your application but we may contact you to discuss your application before it is presented to the Trustees. 

You will usually receive formal written notification of the Trustee’s decision on your application two to three months after you apply. This will outline any conditions we require you to fulfil before receiving the grant.

The Trust supports a wide variety of Events across Otago.

However, please note applications for Events should reach the trust at least three months prior to commencement or opening.

Applications received later than three months may not be considered.

Grants Portal Questions

Below are 5 key steps in logging on to the Grants Portal

1. Go to our website

2. On the Home page, click on the yellow button ‘Apply/LoginHere’

3. Use the email address or your firstname_lastname that was set up as your log in.

  • If you do not know your password, you can click on ‘Reset or New Password’. You will receive an email with a link for you to set up your password.
  • If you can't remember your login, please ring us on 0800 10 12 40.

4. Once you have successfully logged in, you will be taken to your organisation’s portal. You will see the organisation’s name in the top left-hand side.

5. Once you are in the portal, this is where you can update your information under 'People' and your organisation details under 'Organisation'. 

1. Down the left hand side in the grey panel, click on Apply for Funding

2. There are various Application Forms that can be selected. After confirming the type of application that best fits your project, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Apply for Funding.

3. To enter information into the fields, click on the 'Edit' button.

4. Select your Application Form and answer the following questions, remembering to save regularly so that you can come back to it at a later date if need be. If you have started an application form but not completed it, you can find that in Pending Requests.

5. Supporting documents – these can be uploaded by clicking on the green ‘+’ button.

6. Select from the drop down list what the uploaded document is so that the portal recognises that you have uploaded the correct documents.

7. When you have completed the application form, Click on Save then Click Submit. Check that the application is submitted and that no errors have popped up. Please note that after you hit submit a pop up will occur 'Note for Submit' you can either add a note or simply hit OK

8. If there is missing information in the application form, it will not submit and move into the OCT portal. Any errors or missing information will appear in red on the application form.

9. If the application form has been submitted correctly then the application is moved into the Submitted Requests.

If you are successful in receiving a grant from the Otago Community Trust you will receive a Decision Notification email. This email will go to the email address of the Primary Contact noted in the original application. 

The Decision Notification email will instruct you to log back on to the grant portal to view your 'Letter of Offer' and any other Trust documentation

To find the Letter of Offer:
1. Log into grants portal
2. Click on Active Grants. This will show the current grant, click on it to open it.
3. In Table of Contents, click on Supporting Documents. You will see a list of documents, select Conditional Letter to open it.
4. Print the letter of offer, sign it and meet any conditions on the letter and upload your Letter of Acceptance and any supporting documentation to the 'Conditions Due' area. 

 To find your 'Letter of Offer' you will need to log back onto the grants portal. 

  1. Log into grants portal [remember you can access this via the OCT website's homepage].
  2. Click on Active Grants. This will show the current grant, click on it to open it.
  3. In Table of Contents, click on Supporting Documents. You will see a list of documents, select Conditional Letter to open it.
  4. Print the letter of offer, read clearfully the meet any conditions outlined on the letter, please sign it. Please Note: That two signatures are required and any other conditions will be a bullet point in the body of the letter (eg., supply invoices or confirm budget etc...)

 Grantees are expected to draft a seperate 'Acceptance Letter' outlining they have meet the specific conditions associated with their particular grant and we expect that this 'Acceptance Letter' is uploaded into the portal. 

You have received a decision notification email, you have read the 'Letter of Offer', you have signed the letter of offer and drafted your own 'Acceptance Letter' outlining that you have meet all the conditions (i.e., confirm in writing that the budget you supplied with your application remains current, if major changes are made please supply the revised version, and / or confirm in writing that the total project amount has been raised and from what sources). Specific conditions will be clearly outlined for different grants. 

You now need to upload the signed OCT 'Letter of Offer' and your 'Acceptance Letter' to get your Grant paid out. 

How to upload the Acceptance Letter to get your Grant paid out

  1. Log in to the grants portal
  2. Click on 'Active' Grants
  3. Click on the 'Conditions Due'. Here you can upload your signed accepted 'Letter of Offer' and and your 'Acceptance Letter' and / or any supporting documentation that may be required by the Trust. Click on the '+' button to upload your letter. 
  4. You can add additional files by clikcing on the 'Add Files' button - this is located in the left hand corner. 
  5. Click on the Save then Submit. Please wait to ensure you have hit the Submit button. If you do not hit the 'Submit' button the accepted 'Letter of Offer' will not come through to the OCT portal and payment won't be made. 

Applications you are currently working on can be opened in the 'Pending Requests' tab of the menu.

You will be able to edit or submit from here. You can save and exit from the Grants Portal, returning to work on your application at any time.

Make sure you SAVE on a regular basis. 

Never fear - if you forget your password in the Grants Portal, you can re-set your pasword on the welcome page. 

This will ask for your log-in email address or your firstname_lastname also maybe your log-in, the link will then be sent to your email address to create a new password. 

If you don't know or can't remember that email address, please contact us and we will check your organisation details for you.

We might need you to send us an email at - so we can check our records. 

It is important to note that a registration is linked to a person and not an organisation. You will need to register as a new user if you have not applied before with your email address. We can then link you to the organisation that has previously applied to us.

Still having trouble: Our Team are on hand to help, you can always call us on 0800 10 12 40 or email:

Reporting Requirements

You must provide audited financial statements where your constitution requires these financial statements to be audited. Otherwise, the Trust may consider limited reviews or in certain circumstances no audit or review. This will be decided on a case by case basis and should be discussed with the Trust’s staff prior to submitting your application.

Otago Community Trust’s audit requirement for different types of organisations can be found HERE

Yes you do. We require groups to report on how they used their last grant, before they apply for another one. We will send you an email when your accountability is due and our team is happy to help you should you have any questions. 

  1. Go to ‘Accountability Due’ in the left-hand panel. This will bring up an accountability form which has been pre-populated with information about your project.
  2. Click on ‘Edit’ in the top right-hand corner and complete the questions, remembering to ‘Save’ regularly.
  3. Scan and attach any relevant documents or photographs under ‘Supporting Documents’.
  4. You can save (bottom right-hand corner) and go back to this if you are not able to finish the report all at once.
  5. When you are ready, save and then click ‘Submit’. This will send the accountability report to our portal where we can receive your information.
  6. Once again, just wait to ensure that the 'Submit' button did work. If there are any errors, then the accountability report will have red highlighted areas that need to be addressed.
  7. If the information supplied meets all the requirements, the report will be accepted, and the application closed.

We believe our grants are not subject to GST. We encourage groups to become recognised by the IRD as being tax exempt. Your group may wish to register with Charities Services, which means you will be eligible for tax exempt status.

See and for more information. 

If in doubt you should seek professional advice.