A key question that will be on everyone’s mind is how the program will be funded and financially supported – and by whom. 

CIT 08 step 6 funding v02 r02

Having completed the previous five steps, you should have a much clearer understanding on the purpose of your program, who you want to involve and how you want to involve them. Now the time has come to identify how the program can be funded. 

You will want to offer funding options that are easily accessible to your target group. As this is a natural point of concern, it is important to make this step as easy as possible to understand and to be involved in.  

Each target group will be interested in different funding options. Instead of relying on a single funding stream, consider collecting contributions from multiple avenues. Some funding options can be owned by a target group, while others need to managed by the program owner. 

For example, through our research we uncovered six new funding avenues for Melbourne’s ‘Green your Laneway’ program. Options range from tapping into the maintenance budget of a residential building, encouraging laneway members to take advantage of government grants, to engaging local businesses to contribute to the program as a corporate or supplier sponsor. These options only emerged once we had a clear overview of who our target group was and what their motivations were to be a part of the program.

Our partners in the UK, Arup and Newcastle University, investigated alternative financing methods for green infrastructure, in particular crowdfunding. Crowdfunding invites a wider audience (the general public) to financially contribute to a project or venture via an online platform. Contributions are often made in small amounts and are sometimes rewarded through merchandise or other forms of recognition. 

In their research paper, Newcastle University explores three areas of motivation for someone to want to participate in crowdfunding: social return, material return and financial return. Depending on your current context and who your target groups is, you may want to also explore the opportunities of crowdfunding as an additional funding stream for your program. 

Finally, consider whether funding can be provided in stages throughout the program. In this case, you may want to engage the main supporters (advocates) of the program to make the first contributions and use that to get the ball rolling. 

How to get started

1. Identify who is best suited to contribute funding  

Based on who your target group is and what their value proposition is, you will be able to identify what funding avenues are:

  • Realistic and viable
  • Feasible
  • Desirable

Together with your target group, work out the nuances and figure out what options are available. Remember that every laneway will probably adopt a different funding model and that individuals may want access to more than one funding stream.   

2. Define who will arrange the funding 

Be transparent on the funding options available and who will be required to arrange the funding. This responsibility may include managing the process of applying, accessing or distributing the funding, as well as making the final decision on the total contribution made to the program. This can be managed by an individual or a group. For the time being, let’s refer to this individual or group as the ‘owner’ of the funding. 

Be clear that support and advice is available throughout the process. Just because someone is arranging the funding doesn’t mean that they’ll be left on their own in the process. Ideally, the funding owner closely works with the program owner. 

Clarity on the process and having options available will make sure momentum and confidence in the program is maintained from start to finish. Concerns and confusion on this topic will most likely cause people to distrust the program and pull out (especially those who are contributing their own funds to support the program).  

In Melbourne

Based on our research, we have uncovered a number of different funding options for Melbourne’s ‘Green your Laneway’ program. 

Funding avenue 1:
Owners Corporation Committee 

Funding options:

  • Members of Owners Corporation Committee contribute personal funds
  • % of unallocated maintenance budget  (e.g. vertical gardens may reduce the need to remove graffiti on walls)
  • % increase of body corporate fees of a building

Audience for funding avenue:

  • Members of the Owners Corporation Committee

Facilitator of the funding stream: 

  • Members of the Owners Corporation Committee

Support Council can offer:

  • Outline the different funding options available and what has worked well in the past (past examples)

Considerations that need to be explored further: 

  • May require 75% buy-in from Owners Corporation Committee in order for funding options to be viable

Funding avenue 2: Business fundraising

Funding options:

  • Integrated into current service model (e.g. optional additional 50 cents to purchase a coffee)
  • A one-off fundraising event
  • Partner with industry friends for fundraising options and events

Audience for funding avenue:

  • Businesses situated in the laneway 

Facilitator of the funding stream: 

  • Businesses situated in the laneway

Support Council can offer:

  • 'How to' guide and advice on fundraising options
  • Fast-track required Council permits for events
  • Support businesses in promoting fundraising events

Considerations that need to be explored further: 

  • Some options don’t offer immediate access to funds but is a long-term option

Funding avenue 3: Low interest loans

Funding option:

  • Repaid through rates over a set period of time 

Audience for funding avenue:

  • Owners Corporation Committee
  • Building/apartment owners
  • Business owners/commercial tenants

Facilitator of the funding stream: 

  • City of Melbourne 

Support Council can offer:

  • Clear overview of the repayment options and time frames

Funding avenue 4: Grants/co-funding

Funding options:

  • An option to “top up” funds. Ideally this option is used in conjunction with another funding avenue.
  • Incentivise this option by offering fund matching by Council or through corporate sponsorship (co-funding).

Audience for funding avenue:

  • All members of the laneway

Facilitator of the funding stream: 

  • City of Melbourne

Support Council can offer:

  • Overview and guide on the grants process
  • Direct support available from City of Melbourne

Considerations that need to be explored further: 

  • Need to define who would take ownership of the grant - laneway members of the Council.

Funding avenue 5: Supplier Sponsorship

Funding options:

  • Contribute their expertise, and/or offering materials or resources to the program.
  • For example, design expertise, research resources, equipment to install greenery or donate plants and greenery.

Audience for funding avenue:

  • All members of the laneway

Facilitator of the funding stream: 

  • Partnership between City of Melbourne and members of a laneway (e.g. want to nominate their own business)

Support Council can offer:

  • City of Melbourne suggests certified or relevant suppliers that would be interested in contributing to the program
  • City of Melbourne offers a clear value proposition and benefits of program for supplier(s) (if the relationship is managed by laneway member)

Considerations that need to be explored further: 

  • Considerations on the types of suppliers the program wants to be associated with
  • Transparency with laneway members on how supplier sponsors are involved in the program and their level of influence on the outcome of the project.
  • Types of sponsorship acknowledgements

Funding avenue 6: Corporate Sponsorship

Funding options:

  • Contribute financially to the program or offer to sponsor specific supplies or Council permits (e.g. for business fundraising)
  • Corporate sponsors match or double contributions made by laneway members (e.g. personal funds provided by the Owners Corporation Committee)

Audience for funding avenue:

  • All members of the laneway

Facilitator of the funding stream: 

  • Partnership between City of Melbourne and members of a laneway (e.g. want to nominate their own business) 

Support Council can offer:

  • City of Melbourne suggests certified or relevant suppliers that would be interested in contributing to the program.
  • City of Melbourne offers a clear value proposition and benefits of program for supplier(s) (if the relationship is managed by laneway member).

Considerations that need to be explored further: 

  • Considerations on the types of suppliers the program wants to be associated with
  • Transparency with laneway members on how corporate sponsors are involved in the program and their level of influence on the outcome of the project
  • Types of sponsorship acknowledgements