If you’re after key tips about success with grant applications, here they are.
Your brain will so honed in on your project, you just want to jump in and get the application done. Now. But before you burrow down into a grant portal rabbit-hole for hours, it will be well worth your while to jump out of that ‘my project’ mindset for a moment.
It will really pay if you focus on the grant-provider first.
Who is the provider? What is their purpose, aims, priorities, strategic plan? This is what will completely frame successful responses. After all, it is their money, you need to show exactly how your project links to their priorities and plans.
Let’s say you are applying for a state or federal government grant – it’s likely that job creation, building business-strategy, innovation and collaboration in the project – and keeping the dollars within their jurisdiction, will align with their plans.
Right, now keep that ‘frame’ around your responses as you shape them later. Let’s get going on prepping your responses.
You’ll be highly efficient and successful if you make evidence an absolute must-have as you draft your responses. And it comes down to evidence in two areas. Evidence of need – how your project will benefit the people it is meant to benefit. And evidence of your ability to deliver the project. Neither is tricky to find, if you know where to look.
I find the easiest way to prep is to set everything up in a word document, all in one place, ready to drop into the portal once it’s fine-tuned. Include all your links to the grant portal and to your stats in the document so it’s quick and easy to access them again when needed.
Evidence of need
You need to show, with evidence, why/how there is a strong need for your project – for your community or specific group. It’s no use to only tell about the need, you need evidence of the need. Grant providers tell me that applications commonly fall down because they simply do not have enough proof of project-impact or community-benefit.
You can easily show how your project will benefit the target group, using evidence from industry stats, regional profiles and ABS data that demonstrates the need, business data, cost projections, employment and productivity projections, and so on.
Relevant newspaper articles, social media posts/comments (which show the community need or impact) can strengthen your case for how your project benefits the group or responds to a need – ideally, you’ll have collected these as you go.
How else does your project respond to the need you’ve identified? Your service may be highly flexible or link up with other service-providers. But be realistic.
Evidence of sound execution
You need to show the fund-provider that you have sound management, clear outcomes for your project, and you can deliver a value-for-money project.
Clearly define how you’ll develop, deliver, manage and monitor (assess/gather stats for) your project/service – include how you’ll engage with local community/stakeholders. Mention other businesses or NFPs you’re working with, or who will benefit from the project.
Show your people and organisation’s capacity to deliver the project based on planning for it the experience you have. Include your risk management strategies. Pinpoint innovative aspects of the project too. Again, be realistic.
Grant providers tell me applications commonly fall down because they don’t have clear individual costs within their budget. You’ve done all the hard yards, why miss out on a grant simply because you didn’t take a minute to check what an item would cost or make sure a quote is competitive.
All the best with your project. And remember, if you need a hand with any aspect of your grant application, or the whole lot, we can help.