5 tips for nailing your next grant application

by | Aug 11, 2017

For many local councils and not-for- profits, a successful grant application can be the difference between a great idea getting off the ground or being shelved forever. With the State Government opening up significant funding opportunities under the Regional Growth Fund it is more important than ever to take the time to carefully craft your submission.  In this article, we share five tips on how to nail your next grant application.

1. Assume the reader knows nothing

Many grant writers fall into the trap of assuming that the person sitting at the other end will understand the nuances of their industry or project. The reality is that most do not. It is always best to assume that the person sitting at the other end knows nothing. This means:

/   writing your application in plain English

/   taking out the jargon

/   explaining your project or idea in simple terms.

2. Back up your claims

With many grant programs being highly competitive, it is imperative that you back up your claims with evidence. It is always best if your evidence is from a third party rather than your own claim. For example, this means linking your application to external sources such as an independent report and verifying claims with ABS data.

You can also bolster your application with letters of support from project partners or key beneficiaries of your project. These letters should be current and ideally tie into the specific grant criteria.

And whilst claims of job numbers and economic benefits are great – being able to clearly show how these are created and relate to the project or industry is even better.

3. Consider the specific criteria

Most grant programs have specific criteria which need to be addressed in the application. This might sound like an obvious tip, but your application must address each criteria – referring to a previous criteria and skipping over it is a sure fire way to have your application quickly eliminated.

4. Check your budgeted figures

More than likely you will need to prepare financial costs to support your application. Check your budgeted figures and make sure they stack up.  And don’t forget to include a realistic contingency – scraping through at the grant stage doesn’t look too good if you have to go back and ask for more.

It also worthwhile having your figures independently verified by a qualified person such as a quantity surveyor or industry expert. This helps demonstrate that the figures are robust and the grant money is going to be well spent.

5. Don’t leave it to the last minute

Most likely you will have to submit your grant application through an online platform (such as Smarty Grants). Typically this involves uploading multiple documents and completing online forms. These forms may expand as you go through them – meaning there is more involved than an intial read through may suggest.  There may also be limits on the file sizes and document formats.

Do not leave this bit to the last minute! You won’t be the first to encounter technical difficulties and experiencing this 10 minutes before the closing time puts all your hard work at risk. Nor do you want to discover a whole section within the online form that you need to answer when the clock is ticking against you.

Summing up, you will have the best chance of success in your grant application if you follow these simple tips. But do not expect an easy ride, there is always a lot of time and effort needed. It may also be of benefit to engage specialist assistance to put together or review your submission. We have a proven track record in securing grant funding for our clients, with one of our recent clients saying:

The comprehensive process used by Locale highlighted to Council the extent of effort that is needed to be successful in obtaining substantial grant funding.  This is clearly the level of detail that the State and Federal Governments are after, and we are very appreciative of Locale’s efforts in pulling together our successful application for the Woodburn Riverside project.

If you need assistance with your next grant application, please get in contact with Steve:

Steve Thompson Director Planning and Strategy

Steve Thompson 

Director – Planning and Strategy

T     0419 700 401

E     steve@localeconsulting.com.au

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