Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQs section is the place where we hope you will find answers to most of your questions about our policies, processes and our online application system. If you still have a question unanswered after looking through this page, please contact us and ask away, we will update our FAQs frequently to ensure the most accurate information we can.

before you apply

About the Trust.png

+ What does the Trust do?

Central Lakes Trust (CLT) is a charitable trust that grant's funds for charitable purposes within the Central Lakes district. The district comprises the area bestowed by its original benefactor; Otago Central Electric Power Trust, throughout parts of both Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes district. Since inception in 2000 the Trust has granted over $90 million to community causes.

View our map

+ Where do we operate?

The Trust operates within the Central Lakes district. The district comprises the area bestowed by its original benefactor; The Otago Central Electric Power Trust, which includes areas throughout parts of both Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes district. View our map

+ Where did the Trust come from?

The Trust’s origins hail from the Energy Companies Act of 1992, and the Electricity Industry Reform Act of 1998, requiring power boards to be incorporated, allowing communities to determine how the shares in the new energy companies were held. Many communities, including Central Lakes allocated shares into a Trust. While many Trusts retained their lines business, with the 1998 reforms, Otago Central Electric Power Trust sold their lines business and retained the generation business (now Pioneer Energy), bestowing these in Central Lakes Trust. Pioneer forms part of our investment portfolio powering our grants.

Our History.

+ What do you fund?

See here.

+ When do you assess grants?

Grants are assessed approximately every six weeks by the Trustees. It is advisable to allow two months from the full application being submitted to receive a response. If you have any queries relating to timeframes, please contact us on 0800 00 11 37.

+ Can I apply for funding if my project is next week?

No, your project or activity needs to begin after a decision has been made by Central Lakes Trust as we don't fund retrospectively. Complete applications take approximately eight weeks to process, so if you are concerned about when you might receive your grant (if successful) please contact our grants team on 0800 00 11 37.

+ Can I reapply if my application is unsuccessful?

Yes. If your application is unsuccessful then you don’t have to wait 12 months before re-applying. Prior to re-applying we recommend that you contact our grants team to see how well-aligned your application is to Central Lakes Trust's priorities and policies.

+ My organisation operates outside of the Central Lakes region. Can I apply?

We can only fund projects and services that are directly delivered or directly impact residents of the Central Lakes region, which includes parts of Southern Lakes and Central Otago.

+ What we don't fund?

Central Lakes Trust aims to be a broad community funder, but we cannot fund everything that may be needed by your organisation.

The following is a list of exclusions (the things that we don’t fund), and limitations (occasions where we will limit funding). Check this list before you proceed with your application.

  • Individuals, except by way of the annual Central Lakes Trust Tertiary scholarship programme
  • Projects or services that do not meet charitable criteria
  • Seeding investments for businesses
  • Political organisations or lobby groups
  • Projects where local or central government would be the natural source of funding
  • Commercial organisations
  • Repayment of debt
  • Retrospective projects i.e. completed projects or projects that have already commenced
  • Operational costs of Territorial Authorities and Central Government
  • Endowments
  • The GST component of costs for GST registered organisations
  • An organisation's project that generates funds which are distributed to a third party
  • Sponsorships

+ Who can apply?

  • Regional Council/ Territorial Local Authority
  • Registered Public/ State Learning Provider
  • Registered with Charities Services

If you are not a council or registered learning provider, your organisation must be registered with Charities Services to be eligible to apply for a grant with Central Lakes Trust. Charities Services is a part of the Department of Internal Affairs and administers the Charities Act 2005.

Its role is to encourage the effective use of charitable resources by registering and monitoring charities. Charities Services provides; support, advice, and materials for good governance and management practices. You can learn more here and check to see if your organisation is registered.

+ How often can I apply?

Organisations are able to receive a grant once in a 12-month period.

+ Is there a difference between an incorporated charitable trust and a trust registered with Charities?

Being registered with Charities Services and being incorporated as a charitable trust or an incorporated society are different things. Being incorporated requires the establishment of a trust board, or a society, or company, as a separate legal status. An organisation can incorporate under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 or the Companies Act 1993. This process is done through the Companies Office.

The organisation can then choose to apply to become a registered charity. A registered charity is an organisation that has charitable purposes and is registered under the Charities Act 2005. Charities Services also registers other types of organisations, including unincorporated trusts and groups, and charitable companies.

Registering as a charity means you may get access to certain tax and reputational benefits. All registered charities must file annual returns that are publicly listed on the Charities Register.

If you are not a regional council, or registered public/state learning provider, you do have to register with Charities Services to be eligible to apply to Central Lakes Trust.

+ Can I apply as an individual?

No. You need to be one of the following:

  • Regional or Territorial Local Authority
  • Registered Public or State Learning provider
  • Registered Charitable Trust

+ Can I talk to someone about my application?

Our grants team are available to answer queries and provide assistance with your grant request. Please contact us on 0800 00 11 37. We also have regular community sessions where we are available to meet with groups throughout the region. Please see our website and Facebook page for our next community sessions. Our grants team may contact you for further information or to arrange a meeting to discuss your grant request.

+ Are applications only online?

Yes, Central Lakes Trust now has an online application process. Please contact us on 0800 00 11 37 if you require assistance with applying online.

+ Are there other funders out there that might support our cause?

Please see our Other Funders page for more information.

how to apply

About the Portal.png

+ Handy tips for when you are logged into the grantee portal

  • Using Google Chrome as your internet browser is recommended
  • If you are associated with multiple organisations, please login with the username and password you have been assigned by Central Lakes Trust for each individual organisation
  • Be careful not to use the browser back button to navigate as it will take you out of the portal and you will have to log back in
  • Save’ your work regularly, as the forms do not auto-save
  • When you have completed your editing, always ‘Save’ before returning to the main page
  • At each step of the application process, you will receive emails advising you of the status of the application and any steps you need to take. Emails will come from so please check your junk/spam folder within your email to ensure you are receiving emails from us
  • Each email will advise you of where to find your application in the menu on the left of your Grantee Portal
  • Only ‘Submit’ when your application is complete. Once you ‘Submit’, you will no longer be able to edit your application
  • Select the ‘Settings’ icon at the bottom of the menu to log out or change your password
  • To alter your contact information (e.g. email address or phone number) select 'People' in the left-hand menu of your Grantee Portal, alter and save

+ How do I apply for a grant?

Check your eligibility here first prior to selecting the Apply Now button on our website from the top menu.

+ Do I need to supply quotes?

If you are applying for funding for equipment or building projects, quotes are required. Please note if your organisation is GST registered any approved grant will exclude GST.

+ In the grantee portal, is the username and email address the same thing?

No, it’s not. Your username will be your first and last name separated by an underscore e.g. firstname_lastname. A password is created from the link sent to your email address which you provided when registering online.

If you have forgotten your password, then please select the link ‘Reset or create password’ and follow the instructions. If you have forgotten your username and no longer have the original email with your details, then please contact us for assistance.

Please note that a registration is linked to a contact and not an organisation. Therefore, if you need to be linked as a new contact to a registered organisation, then you will need to contact us on 0800 00 11 37.

+ Where can I get help for the grantee portal?

When you login to the grantee portal, you will find an Information section at the top of the menu on the left. Select 'A Guide to the Portal' to find more details on how to use the system.

+ What can I see when I login to the grantee portal?

We recommend you read ‘How to Apply Online’ for more information about what you see when logged into the Grantee Portal. Once logged in you will land directly on the Grantee Portal page. This is where you can create and submit applications and manage your grants. We recommend you read ‘A Guide to the Portal’ in the Information section for more detailed guidelines before you begin using the system.

+ What can other people associated with my organisation do in the grantee portal?

Any person that has been set up and linked as a contact for your organisation will be able to view all grant requests associated with your organisation and see the same things that you can in the Grantee Portal.

When a pre-application is submitted, you will be requested to nominate a primary and secondary contact specific to that grant application. You will be able to select from all the people who are linked with the organisation in the system. Both the primary and secondary contacts will be able to edit and submit grant applications, reports and payment requests, and will receive emails from the system.

+ How do I login if my organisation is currently registered with Central Lakes Trust?

If you know your organisation is registered with Central Lakes Trust already, but you do not have login details, please contact us on 0800 00 11 37 for assistance. We will require authorisation from the primary contact or a senior member of the organisation to verify that you are a new contact.

+ My organisation is a previous applicant to Central Lakes Trust, I would like to login but haven't done it before - how do I do it?

If your organisation has not registered in our online system, please go to our website and select ‘Apply Now’ from the menu. This takes you to our Grantee Portal where you can select the ‘Organisation Registration’ button and commence the registration process.

If your organisation is registered and you are a new contact for the organisation, please call us on 0800 00 11 37 and we will help register you as a new contact in the system. We will require authorisation from the primary contact or a senior member of the organisation to verify that you are a new contact.

+ My organisation is a previous applicant to Central Lakes Trust, but the staff member who did the application has left, how do I register as the current contact?

Please contact us on 0800 00 11 37 so we can register you as the new contact in the system and link you to the organisation. We will require authorisation from a senior member of the organisation to verify that you are the new contact.

We will also require the name of the staff member who is no longer with your organisation so we can archive them from the system.

+ How do I register my organisation?

You will find detailed instructions on how to register yourself and your organisation on the 'How to Apply Online' page on our website.

+ How do I see my organisations previous applications?

In the Grantee Portal you can view your organisations application forms In the Requests section of the menu on the left of the Portal. Here you will find:

  • Draft-Pre-applications - Pre-application forms you are completing and have saved but not yet submitted.
  • Draft Full applications - Full application forms you are completing and have saved but not yet submitted.
  • Information Requested - Full application forms that have been returned to you by our Grants Team because more information is required. This may include supplying extra documentation, revising any information or clarifying any questions. You will need to re-submit your application when completed.
  • Submitted - All Pre-application and Full application forms that you have submitted.
  • Withdrawn or Declined - Application forms that have either been withdrawn by you, or declined by Central Lakes Trust.

You can find all approved grants, both active and closed, in the Grants section of this menu.

+ How can I apply under a branch or umbrella of another organisation?

It may be possible for a local group that is not registered with Charities Services to apply for a grant under the national or umbrella branch Charities registration. In this case our grants team will discuss this with you and explain the registration process that applies to this situation. We will require the national body to provide a letter authorising this arrangement.

+ What does Central Lakes Trust mean by a letter of support?

Central Lakes Trust provides grants for community benefit. If your organisation is undertaking a project or delivering a community service, we would like to hear from other stakeholder groups that are likely to benefit. For example, if you are delivering a programme through schools, we would like to hear from the schools to understand their buy-in to the programme.

+ What happens to my application once it is submitted?

The grants team will review the application and may contact you if more information is required. A recommendation is then made to the Trustees at the next relevant trustee meeting. You will be advised of the decision as soon as practically possible after the meeting.

+ Why are some applications declined?

Applications may be declined if the project or service is not charitable or if it does not meet our funding principles. Before you submit an application please review our website to ensure you meet our eligibility criteria and your project aligns with what we fund.

+ How will we know if our organisation has received funding?

You will receive a phone call from our grants team, and an email from our system advising you of the outcome of the board decision. Your grant decision letter will be available on the Grantee Portal. From the menu on the left, under the Grants section, select Active Grants and then the grant. The approved grant details will be displayed with your decision letter available under grant documents for you to select to view/print.

Now you have your grant

Now you have your grant.png

+ Where can I see my decision letter?

You will find the details of the decision in your Grantee Portal. From the menu on the left, under the Grants section, select 'Active Grants' and then the grant. The approved grant details will be displayed with your decision letter available under grant documents for you to select to view/print.

+ My grant is about to expire but we have not finished the project. Can we extend the grant?

Please contact our grants team to discuss this with us. If appropriate we can provide more time for you to complete the project. We will require an email or letter from your organisation requesting an Extension of Time.

+ Can I use the grant for something that was not included in the application?

A grant must be used for the specific purposes for which it was approved. Expenses for items that are not part of the grant purpose will be deemed ineligible. Please contact our grants team if you would like to discuss any specific expenses which may not be included in your grant.

+ Do we need to account for how we spent our money?

Yes, our Terms and Conditions require you to provide accountability and financial reporting for the grant you received. You can find detailed guidelines on the payment process here.

We will request you to provide details on the actual project or operational expenditure (compared to the budget you provided in the application) so we can check expenditure against what was stated in the application.

+ How will my grant be paid?

Payment conditions and method vary depending on the type of grant you have. The decision letter you receive when the grant is confirmed outlines specific granting and payment conditions. You can also find detailed guidelines on the payment process and how to request a payment here.

+ Will we need to pay GST

There is no GST attributable to Central Lakes Trust grants. Therefore, if your organisation is registered for GST, there is no GST component associated with Central Lakes Trust income. You are still able to claim the GST component on goods and services expenditure related to the purpose of your approved grant. Should you require more clarification regarding GST please contact your accountant or financial advisor.

+ What do I need to provide when I request a payment?

For detailed instructions on making a payment request, please see our payment guidelines.

For Project grants, Central Lakes Trust actions payments on invoice / proof of purchase. Therefore you will need to provide invoices which clearly show your organisations name, the GST component and the value of the invoice. We also accept cost centre reports from you’re accounting system displaying a list of expensed transactions.

We cannot accept; statements, invoices addressed to a third party, and in most cases pro-forma invoices (except in special circumstances).

For Operational and Programme grants, payment is subject to the completion of a report from the previous financial year and provision of documents including Financial Statements. For more information please review your decision letter and the Reports scheduled in the Grantee Portal.

+ How do I report on my grant?

Reporting conditions and methods vary depending on the type of grant you received. The decision letter (confirmation of your grant) outlines specific granting and payment conditions and may also request any additional reports you need to supply. You can also find detailed guidelines on the reporting process here.

+ Do we need to provide audited statements?

Your organisations Financial Statements should be provided in accordance with your Trust Deed. Therefore they could be required to be; audited, reviewed or prepared.