As you may know there are over 20,000 non-profit organisations in Australia with DGR status and it seems in recent times these groups are looking at more ways to diversify their funding strategies. As such they are turning to philanthropic trusts and foundations for grant funding. Which, in turn, makes it a very competitive area.
An article on Probono Australia recently highlighted just how much this area of sought after funding has grown in the last few years and it is quite astounding.
So what does that mean? It means your organisation needs to get better at writing grants if you want to be successful in receiving them. Here are a few tips to help get grant money in your hands.
1. Plan to plan: Grant writing is something that I enjoy because it can be planned quite well. Funders usually advertise their deadlines months in advance so you can schedule the writing time with plenty of time. It’s helpful to create a calendar or schedule for the grants you intend to write in a certain period.
2. Know your project: Be sure to have a good understanding of what it is you want the funding for. If you don’t understand it, how can you expect anyone else to? It’s often a good idea to have a brief written about the project before you begin. This is often called a case statement and will help you to clarify your project.
3. Answer the questions: While this might sound like an obvious one, I was amazed when I was told by a trustee how many times proposals simply do not answer the questions properly. If possible read all the questions in the application before answering any of them, then as you go through, you will be reading each one for the second time and be more likely to correctly interpret it. Provide answers that are asked for, not what information you think they would like to know about your project. (As part of this point, I think it is crucial to remind you to read the guidelines also. Read them two or three times.)
4. Don’t use jargon: Often when we are working for various causes we easily get caught up in the lingo that is common to that field, whether it be the environment or social welfare or something else. It is important to remember when writing grant proposals that you use terminology that the average person would understand. Don’t exaggerate things; just keep it simple.
5. Edit and improve: Whilst this is one of the last steps of the grant writing process it is by no means the least important. Perhaps quite the opposite. By reviewing your application and editing it where required you can reduce any errors or misinformation you might have. Wherever possible, it is always good to have a second person read through your proposal to edit as required and ensure your responses make sense.
Hopefully these five tips will help your grants program result in a few more successes. Do you have any other tips that work for you that you would like to share here? Do you find the area of grant funding getting more competitive?
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.
P.S. If you think you or your organisation needs some more help with grant writing there are many places that offer good grant writing workshops.