Gaining Grants for Your Partnership –
In many ways, successfully gaining a grant for your community business
partnership or any projects it may be undertaking is a matter of knowing
what a grant maker wants from an applicant.
What Grant Makers Want You to Know
Often just being in a partnership can be a good start because a funding body will already see that that idea has the support of others in the community and has been taken up as a project deserving support by a business partner.
If your community business partnership is looking for a grant, there are plenty of steps you can take to increase your chances of successfully gaining a grant. Listed below are 21 steps we recommend partnership partners progress through when applying for a grant.
- Make sure grants are on the agenda, and your partnership is aware of what is on offer.
- Do your homework and research the grant and grant maker.
In such a competitive environment for grants, grantmakers will put a line through any proposals that don’t fit their criteria or within the programs that operate. Some of those considerations could include location, target audience and type of program.
Make sure when you apply for a grant you have read the guidelines and fit inside them. If you don’t fit, don’t apply. If you aren’t sure, contact the grantmaker and request more information or refer to their website.
- Discard your blinkers - don't limit your search to the big foundations or grantmakers.
There are many great grants available from smaller grantmakers and foundations, as well as many smaller grants offered by local, State and Federal Government departments that should not be discounted. Be open to all relevant grant programs.
- Follow the application guidelines.
You should read the grant guidelines a number of times, mentally checking whether you are eligible and "a good fit" for this grant program.
Your partnership should pay special attention to guidelines that deal with the length, content and specifications of your proposal, as well as any documentation or financial information requested for inclusion.
- Have a summary of your partnership ready
- Be concise.
- Be specific.
Don’t provide a list of projects in the hope the grantmaker will pick one to put money towards – be specific and tailored in your request for support.
- Define your goals, how you will reach them, and how you will measure your success.
Talk about what sort of outcomes or outputs your partnership and its projects are aiming for, and what your goals are – this makes it easier for the grantmaker to see what they will get for their money. If there is a need to show the grantmaker how you will measure those outcomes, include that as well.
- Make sure you show how the project is linked to your partnership's future.
- Show how you will fund the project once the grant money runs out.
Remember though that putting together such a plan doesn’t necessarily mean your partnership can’t apply for further funding in the future.
- Think beyond money.
So your partnership should think beyond just asking for monetary assistance – investigate whether you can request support through the provision of equipment, skills or knowledge, volunteers or other in-kind donations. In many cases, this sort of support can be more valuable than a straight monetary donation.
- Answer all questions on the grant application.
- Read, read, read.
- Make sure the application is legible.
- Provide clear contact information.
Specifically, mention a person’s name, organisation, address, phone number and email details are in the letterhead of your application, or within the letter of application itself.
Because multiple organisations and people are involved in your partnership, determine and then specify to which person or which partner any replies or follow-up queries should be directed.
- Avoid sending piles of fliers, videos, books, and other materials.
- Don't send copies of the same application to multiple contacts at an organisation.
Send a single application to the correct contact for the grantmaker.
- Send information electronically whenever possible (or where asked).
The other thing to remember is to use links within your grant application if there is information on your website that a grantmaker may need. Not only does it save time for your partnership, it also displays a level of professionalism to the grantmaker.
However, you should avoid faxing or emailing an application and then following up with a hard copy in the mail – it just adds unnecessary cost and wastes time.
- Start early.
- Get it in on time.
To make sure your partnership does not miss out, be ready a week to 10 days before the deadline for applications - that gives you a chance to check over your application and still submit it early.
- Be patient and don't give up.
Don’t be discouraged. Learn from each unsuccessful application and apply those lessons to your next one - and keep trying.
Also, be patient. Sometimes grant making priorities are set months or years in advance, with review processes not readily able to accommodate the quick turnaround time grantseekers sometimes demand.
For more information on the grants available in Australia, you can subscribe to Our Community’s Easy Grants or BusiGrants newsletters. More information on these newsletters can be found through the Marketplace Section of the Our Community website
And further information aimed at helping your partnership in applying for grants can be found in the following Help Sheets at the Community Business Partnership Brokerage Service section of the Our Community website: