Going for Grants?
For many organisations there are a range of grants they could apply for to support their activities. Yet many fail to apply. This is partly due to a lack of awareness of the specific grants available that might suit their needs. But more usually it’s because they don’t have the simple process in place to enable them to sensibly consider the options.
Successful Grant Application Process
The first step of any grant application should be the creation of the project outline. This might be woolly at first and broad in scope or timing. But from that initial outline, all parties whether they be individuals or organisations, that might be interested can contribute their ideas for the project lead to refine into those that are:
- Core. These are necessary required elements of the project that the grant must support or the project will not be bid.
- Desirable. If these elements could be funded that would be great but in order to get the grant they could be omitted.
- Understood. Various partners may insist that they get x or y. The reality may be that these cannot be part of the core grant application. The decision is either sorry not possible; or the partnership is aware of the need but it’s not explicitly part of this bid.
The end result is a project outline of work-packages and timescales.
The second step is to find the availability of potential grants. From the project outline do you require capital, revenue or both? Some grants only fund the first or only the second. It’s for this reason that there are a number of capital-funded white elephants available in the UK with no-one able to encourage use as there is no revenue funding.
If the funding is of the right type do you/your organisation qualify by:
- Legal type of organisation
- Size of organisation
- Geographical location- country, county, rural, deprivation ward
- Sector- industry, voluntary, charity, CIC, education, research
- Matched funding available- grants are rarely single source funding the whole project.
Finding Funding that Fits
Sadly it is very unlikely that there is any funder who will want to fund precisely your project outline. Why? Because they will have defined what it is they will fund in accord with an agreed strategy or stipulations from the origin of the funds. There is no point just bidding in your project and hoping they will ignore their own criteria.
This is why the project outline is key because it can now be used to see how good a match the project is to the grant. A bid will then cover all the required core items of the grant and position anything else as extras or enhancements; or exclude it. If the whole of the core is not covered, are there other grants or sources of funding that could also be used and shown as a contribution? At this point some of the core and desirable will move to understood and needs to be agreed before the application is drafted.
Good bid-writers are used to handling these negotiations and to balancing out the necessary for funder and bidder to create the best possible grant application. And when won for the project to be delivered efficiently.