Completing funding submissions and grants are often a necessity for not-for-profit organisations, but similarly apply to businesses that are seeking external funding opportunities. Grants can be very competitive, so we compiled some advice on how to maximise your chances for writing successful grant submissions.
- Align the priorities of your project with the funding body. Grants are designed to fulfil a purpose, it is essential that you align the outcomes you are seeking with these priorities.
- Read all application criteria and notes. Funding priorities may not always be immediately evident, but can often be elaborated upon in supporting documentation. Take the time to read this information to gain a clearer insight into the funding priorities.
- Meet all relevant application criteria. Your chances significantly increase if you can meet the identified application criteria. While some selection criteria might be optional, try and align your submission, so you can meet each of these outcomes.
- Use the right keywords. Funding bodies have priorities that they are seeking to support, align your submission with these outcomes. Similarly use the same terminology that is used by the funding body to support your application.
- Plan responses and respect word limits. Each question in an application will typically have a word limit, ensure you can convey your points within this limit. Write succinctly and to the point.
- Identify any supporting information that is required. Most application forms are now completed online and will often have the opportunity for additional attachments. Ensure that you have sufficient time to collate information that will support your application, including budgets, program plans and other content.
- Prepare suitable budgets. Many applications will require a budget to be submitted with the application, make sure this budget is both realistic and sufficiently detailed. A budget that lacks detail will often indicate that the submission may not have been sufficiently developed.
- Leverage your value proposition. Grants and funding submissions are a competitive process, you may be competing with other similar organisations, or for funding that may be directed to broader purposes. Leverage your strengths and your value proposition to identify how you will be able to fulfil the application outcomes more effectively than your competitors.
- Ensure you have sufficient time. Grant applications can take a significant amount of time, make sure you are prepared in advance so that the application is not sent in haste. Also remember that lodging a submission takes time. Many application platforms will be overloaded as the submission deadline approaches, so make sure you submit your application early.
- Identify other opportunities. Grants and funding submissions will often expect a contribution from other sources, make sure that you can identify other sources of funding, including in-kind support, that may be relevant.
Grants and funding submissions can provide a significant proportion of revenue for not-for-profit organisations, but also some businesses. Governments are increasingly moving to a competitive grants system and expecting more for less, so ensure that you are able to consider other strategies to diversify income and provide ongoing service delivery.