Finding a way to finance your community-led project can take all sorts of forms, from traditional door-knocking and online crowdfunding through to Council funding or corporate sponsorship.

Whichever method you choose, remember to build a strong story around why your project will make a difference for the community and get your neighbours to champion the idea.

Contact the Council's local Community Development Advisor for further information.

The Council offers a selection of funding opportunities designed to encourage communities to deliver projects.

Community funding and grants

The Council has a number of discretionary funding sources designed to support those looking to deliver a community-led project. Grants come with a series of criteria that applicants need to meet to ensure a project will achieve a particular objective. Grant applications may be subject to lodgement deadlines and/or post-lodgement assessment periods which should be factored into the timeframe for your project.

These funding sources include:

  • Discretionary Response Fund: To assist community groups where their project funding falls outside other Council funding criteria and/or closing dates. Funding is available within each of the community boards' respective Discretionary Response Funds for the specific purpose of supporting Shape your Place Toolkit-related, community-led place-making projects that require technical/specialist advice and assistance to happen.
  • Community Arts: The Creative Communities Scheme (CCS) provides funding to local communities so New Zealanders can be involved in local arts activities.
  • Enliven Places Project Fund: Supports regeneration by encouraging and supporting the community to deliver projects that enliven and transform places. Eligible projects are those that look to beautify and activate vacant space throughout the city in the short to medium term.
  • Strengthening Communities Fund: Supports community-focused organisations whose projects contribute to the strengthening of community wellbeing.
  • (external link)Creating Momentum Regeneration Fund(external link): Development Christchurch Limited (DCL) has a discretionary fund available for community projects in New Brighton.
  • Innovation and Sustainability Fund: Encourages innovative community, school or business projects that support the Council’s vision and strategic priorities.
  • Business Improvement District Grant Fund: BIDs exist where commercial property owners work collaboratively to fund and pursue initiatives and improvements in their local area. The Council provides grant funding to help establish BIDs.

Targeted incentives

Encourages property owners to enliven their sites by adding amenity to their community. In return they can be eligible for a Council rates credit or waiver of public road occupation fees.

These include:

  • Rates incentives for property owners: The Enliven Places Rates Incentive was developed to encourage property owners in the Central City and suburban centres to support temporary use of vacant land or buildings with short to medium term projects.
  • Creative hoardings incentive: This aims to encourage the beautification of construction sites via hoardings by waiving the fee associated with the occupation of public road space by temporary health and safety fencing.

Options available outside of the Council include fundraising, donations, corporate sponsorships, grants and timebanks.


GivUS via Christchurch City Libraries(external link): Generosity New Zealand is a portal to over 1000 funding schemes for voluntary organisations. Free access is available through your local library.


Fundraising small donations from a large group of people, usually through an online platform, can be used for projects big and small and is easy to share across social media. Popular crowdfunding platforms in New Zealand include:

Corporate sponsorships

Community projects are popular candidates for corporate sponsorships from companies looking to give back to the community. These can be via in-kind donations, lump-sums or ongoing support.

Charitable funding sources

Philanthropic organisations often have a small grants section for supporting community-led projects, as well as larger grants for infrastructure projects.

These include:


A form of complementary currency that uses time rather than money as the medium of exchange. These are effective for creating an action-oriented web of social connection and a publicly available community skills inventory.

Timebanks can take some time to grow and require high levels of community interest and willingness to participate. See:

Information regarding cost-sharing, participative budgeting and strategic planning.

Cost-sharing agreements

An agreement between two or more parties to share the costs of an initiative, whether in support of physical amenities or social programming.

Participative budgeting

A system that allows people to influence how a budget is allocated. This usually takes the form of voting on a series of proposals until the total budget has been distributed. This process can be used for large or small-scale community-led projects. Participative budgeting works best for communities that are engaged and eager to be involved in shaping their spaces, but who may not respond as well to traditional methods of public engagement. It helps to engage communities in the decision-making and ensures they have a stake in the final delivery.

To undertake a participative budgeting exercise a group should start by determining the available funding and the costs of different options before asking people what they want most. Decisions can be made through online polls or group workshops.

Review existing strategic plans and statutory documents

A review of the existing strategic plans and statutory documents applicable in your neighbourhood may provide support for your project, when making funding applications.