Helping New Zealand build strong communities

Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) Te Tahua Mā Ngā Whakahaere i Ngā Hapori

Requests for Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) grants may now be made using the new online system which is replacing Grants Online and application forms on paper.

Kaupapa / Purpose

The Community Organisation Grants Scheme is a community-driven fund that provides grants to non-profit community organisations that deliver community-based social services.

37 Local Distribution Committees (LDCs), served by volunteers, consider and make decisions on grant requests from community organisations within their local community. 

Funding for outcomes

An outcomes approach has been introduced to focus grant decision-making on the community outcomes or benefits that will be achieved through the grants that are made. For more information see the guidance notes on the outcomes approach.

COGS Outcomes

Grant decisions will be based on the likelihood that the services or completed project will deliver the community benefits and outcomes described in the grant request.

Funded services or projects are expected to contribute community benefits or outcomes. These include that:

  • participation in communities has been actively encouraged
  • community leadership has been promoted
  • community capability has been developed
  • social, economic and cultural equity has been promoted, or
  • downstream social and economic costs to communities and government are reduced.

COGS priorities

Priority is given to services and projects that:

  • are initiated by local community organisations
  • deliver to one or more of the COGS priority sectors, which are:
    • Maori
    • Women
    • Pacific communities
    • other ethnic communities
    • older people
    • rurally isolated people
    • people with disabilities
    • families 
    • youth and children
    • unemployed people
  • have limited access to other government funding
  • respond to locally identified priorities.

Committee outcome priorities

Each local distribution committee identifies local priorities to focus on for its next funding round, based on consultation with local communities and discussions held at COGS public meetings each year. 

For 2015, this priority setting focused on the community outcomes and benefits local communities identified as priorities for grant decision-making. When preparing a grant request, we recommend that you consider the priority outcomes identified for your local community.


Organisations requesting grants must demonstrate the appropriate governance, management structures and processes are in place to support the size and complexity of the services or project for which funding is sought.

What we fund

COGS grants make a contribution to the costs of running community organisations that provide local community-based social services or projects.

There are two types of criteria:

  • criteria for those making a grant request, and
  • criteria for the type of grant request.

Organisations requesting COGS grants must:

  • have an organisation bank account and email address
  • have legal entity status if requesting a grant of $10,000 or more
  • submit a budget as a supporting document to the grant request, identifying all proposed income and costs associated with the service or project
  • have appropriate governance and management in place, and
  • have the capability to successfully achieve the service or project outcomes proposed.

What we do not fund

  • Capital items such as land, building/alterations, plant and machinery, vehicles, furniture and office equipment
  • Duplication of existing services, unless there is a good reason for both services to exist
  • Social functions, unless, for cultural reasons, the ‘social’ event brings people together in order to achieve other significant community benefits or outcomes
  • Activities or programmes taking place outside of New Zealand
  • Retrospective funding for activities that have already taken place prior to the COGS closing date
  • Grant requests from individuals
  • Projects seeking to promote commercial, political or religious objectives, including political advocacy projects, employment and/or business initiatives, and commercial enterprises
  • Publishing any material of a technical nature unless the material is consistent with applicable policies and guidelines produced by relevant Government departments or Government approved authorities. The onus of demonstrating such approval is placed on the applicant when making the application.
  • COGS will only consider funding the publication of any material of a technical nature if the material is consistent with applicable policies and guidelines produced by relevant Government departments or Government approved authorities. The onus of demonstrating such approval is placed on the applicant when making the application.

Example: From time to time, COGS committees receive applications requesting a grant from an organisation planning to publish an educational resource that is likely to contain health information of a technical nature.

A COGS applicant requesting a grant for health information of a technical nature will need to provide the committee with:

  • a copy of the proposed resource
  • evidence that the publication is needed in the local community
  • evidence that the material is consistent with Ministry of Health policy and guidelines
  • evidence that the material is technically accurate in the New Zealand setting; and
  • written evidence that it has been reviewed and approved by two appropriately qualified experts in the field.

A number of resources to assist applicants with health education resource development are available at the Ministry of Health’s website:

This approach can be used to develop other material of a technical nature to meet the requirements of other Government departments or Government approved authorities.

Examples of existing New Zealand health education resources are available at:

How much to apply for

There is no limit to the amount that you can apply for. However, due to demand, COGS is rarely able to provide grants to the level requested and is more likely to consider a contribution of approximately $3000 or less. Applicants are encouraged to seek other funding options.

The amount of funding granted is at each LDC’s discretion. It depends on the funds available and the number and quality of the requests received.

LDCs will not require that grants be spent on one or more specific costs from a budget presented with a request. If a grant is offered, it may be used for any of costs in the budget, at the discretion of the recipient organisation. The only exception will be any cost listed in the budget that is specifically excluded in the conditions identified in the grant agreement.

Grants to community organisations without legal status are limited to no more than $10,000 in any financial year.

Requesting a grant

COGS committee members

COGS is a community-driven government-funded grant scheme. Committees assess applications and distribute grants to assist non-profit organisations delivering community services and community-based projects.

There are thirty-seven Local Distribution Committees (LDCs) operating throughout New Zealand.

The COGS Local Distribution Committee election was held in May 2014. 

The next LDC elections will be held in 2017.