Grant writing tips
Here are some tips that might help the next time you are submitting a grant application.
Before starting a grant application
• Be very clear about:
what your project is
why you are doing it
who will benefit
how much it will cost
who is going to oversee it
how long it will take to complete.
• Read the grant guidelines carefully (highlight the important information). Does your project fit the objectives of the grant?
• Call the organisation or government department issuing the grant to ask any questions you have before you start writing. They are usually very helpful. Grants can come from local council, state government, federal government, non-government/corporate bodies or not-for-profits/charities.
Electorate-based federal grants are those whereby federal electorates (like Warringah) have a certain amount of money to distribute. Zali's electoral office will put an Expression of Interest form on her website when this type of grant is open for application.
Make sure you check the following:
• Your organisation meets the eligibility criteria (eg you might need an ABN or to be incorporated, a not-for-profit, small/medium size business, below a certain annual turnover etc) Note: schools need to check which ABN to use on the application - often there are three different ABNs they can choose from.
• Your project meets the eligibility criteria (eg if you can apply for wages, advertising, infrastructure, equipment, travel etc). Be aware of funding exclusions ie what the money is not permitted to cover.
• You have the appropriate approvals and documents or can get them before the deadline (eg DA, quotes, permission from landlords/landowners)
• You can finish the project by the deadline in the grant guidelines. Also, check the rules around when you can start the project.
• You can finish the project within budget and that there will be a benefit to their investment, showing the project is good value and the money will not be wasted.
• Whether you need to contribute any funds (eg cash or in-kind) in addition to the funds received from the grant (consider the minimum and maximum grant amounts). Note: ‘in-kind’ means goods and services donated for free, including people’s time. Build in a contingency for possible cost variations.
• You are in the right electorate or geographical area.
• Whether you need to find another organisation to sponsor you or partner you (eg a university, larger company, a parent organisation, a state or national body, local government).
• Who in your organisation is willing to be responsible for overseeing the grant.
• Your project lines up with the goals of the grant (eg the aim or objective outlined in the grant guidelines). Remember to explain WHY you need this money, WHY the project is important/essential and WHO will benefit.
• Look at why this organisation is offering the funding and how your project meets their needs.
• You can demonstrate that you can finish the project and your organisation has longevity, eliminating risk.
• You have used normal language – don’t feel that you need to use fancy words to impress them. Just keep it clear and concise; make it easy for them to read and understand. Remember to use a great title for your project that succinctly depicts what it is and its relevance to the grant.
• You have used numerical terms to explain what you are doing (eg we will run 10 workshops that are 1 hour in duration for 20 people per session = 200 participants). Relevant, credible statistics are also helpful.
Before submitting your application
• Go back and tick off all of the requirements listed in the grant guidelines.
• Check it with others from your organisation. You don’t want to change your application after you have submitted it.
• Consider having a professional grant writer look over it.
• See if you can get three referees or letters of support. (Zali is open to writing letters of support for grant applications – please email me with your request and include a brief description of your project and the name of the grant.)
• You could also include evidence of previous grants you have successfully managed and the biographies of the people who will oversee the project. Make sure it is clear who your organisation is and what type of work it does.
• Submit your application on time. Late applications will not be accepted in fairness to everyone else submitting. Remember, sometimes websites crash in the hours just before the closing time, so leave a day or so up your sleeve to avoid the stress of submitting at the 11th hour.
We wish you all the very best with your applications. Feel free to contact Zali's Grants Officer if you have any questions and we hope you let us know when you are successful.