Many non-profit organisations rely on grants to acquire the funding they need to implement their programs. There are thousands of dollars in non-profit and community funding available each year, it is just a matter of finding the most suitable funding program for your project and then submitting a grant application, potentially securing significant funding for your organisation.
However, grant writing can be a time-consuming and complex task. Some organisations choose to employ the expertise of a grant writer to help them through the grant writing and application process. In this article, we share some secrets from professional grant writers on how to write a successful grant application.
1. Develop the best possible project. Your organisation must have a project that is worth funding, one that meets a clear need in the community and demonstrates community benefit. When developing your project, try and compartmentalise it into different sub-projects where smaller funding can be provided. This can increase your chances of winning a grant where smaller budget requests are favoured.
2. Thoroughly research the organisation offering the funding program. Find out why the funding program has been implemented and indentify their goals and objectives. Also, try to find out any funding restrictions the organisation may have. Some agencies offering the grant will list what types of projects they will fund and will not fund. Apply only to funding opportunities that are the most relevant to your project. Make sure that your project matches the goals, objectives and requirements of the organisation offering the grant.
If you are unsure where to find the most appropriate grant for your project, consult with a professional grant writer. A grant writer can help you identify the most relevant funding program for your project.
3. Read the guidelines of the grant program completely. Different funding organisations will have varying guidelines that applicants must follow. Make sure that you are able to provide all information and follow all directions as stated in the grant guidelines.
4. Individualise your grant application. If you are applying to different funding programs, do not send the same grant application. Different funding programs have varying goals, objectives, requirements and guidelines. Tailor your grant application according to the criteria set by the agencies offering the grant but without changing the visions, goals and objectives of your project and organisation.
5. Approach the organisation offering the grant with common sense and courtesy. Follow and respect the established channels, protocols and processes for submitting a grant application.
6. Answer all questions and present information clearly and succinctly. To make sure that you have fully responded to the questions, it can help to breakdown the question into subsets and then thoroughly respond to each subset. In this way, you are able to address each requirement and also keep your answers on track.
7. Present a clear and concise budget that will pass public scrutiny. Never inflate the size of your budget request. Keep in mind that grant assessors are looking for projects that provide real value for money, so keep your budget realistic.
8. Do not use elegance or emotion in your writing to hide weaknesses in your project or grant application. You must be able to present a strong and persuasive argument as to why your organisation and project deserves to win the grant.
9. Include factual information and evidence such as demographic data or success rates of previous programs to support your submission. This shows that you have prepared your grant application objectively and can help reinforce the argument you are presenting.
10. Winning a grant is more than just the actual writing and formatting of the application. It is also important to include the business plan of your organisation to show grant assessors that you have the goals and objectives of a professional organisation. Also include a project plan that outlines the details of your project. This will give the funding organisation the confidence that if you should win the grant, you can be relied upon to deliver exactly what you have proposed in the grant application.