Gaining Grants for Your Partnership –
The Basic Components of Writing a Grant Proposal

In the course of your partnership, you may need to seek out a little extra money to help make what you are working on a success.

That's where being able to search for and find grant money becomes important.

The first challenge is to find the grant program that suits you. The Help Sheet Gaining Grants for your Partnership - Finding the Right Grant Program for Your Partnership at the Community Business Partnership Brokerage Service section of the Our Community website can help you find the right grant program before you begin writing your application.

Once you've decided on a grant or grants to apply for, grant program adminstrators will need to be convinced your partnership and/or its projects are the best ones to give money to because:
  • You meet the program's criteria,
  • You are working in the field where the program is targeted (or meet identified needs in the community), and.
  • You are fiscally responsible and will not waste the money you are given.

Writing Your Proposal

Most grant applications want submissions to include information like -
  • A brief description of your group/partnership.
  • A case for support.
  • A description of the proposed project, or project you are applying for a grant for, and.
  • A budget.

A brief description of your group/partnership

  • This section of the proposal is where you put forward what makes your partnership a credible and qualified funding option.
    • Partnership groups can write a little - but not too much - about the background of their partnership, but should emphasise the future direction and the current and long-term goals of the arrangement. Don't just write what you are doing but the benefits for the community of what you are doing.
    • The grant makers want you to demonstrate how your existing programs were developed to meet identified community needs.
    • Listing the qualifications and experience of key partnership personnel, as well as other more general project abilities, can be done in this part of your submission.

The case for support

  • It is very important to strongly show why your partnership and/or its projects should be supported through the grant for which you are applying.
  • This means you need to be able to put forward arguments in favour of your partnership and showing the benefits it has produced in the community.
  • If your grant application is for a new partnership project, you also need to show what it will achieve in addressing community needs.
    • Evidence and more evidence.
      • Cold hard evidence is invaluable in convincing grant makers of your capabilities and successes.
      • A simple case study could do the job, as could some backing through accurate and up-to-date data based on objective research.

    • What you have done so far.
      • Another possible part of your case for support is evidence of what you have done so far. This could consist of some brief details of the projects and successes your partnership has enjoyed.

    • Community support.
      • Many grant makers will ask for evidence of community support for your partnership and its projects.
      • This means getting letters or references from community members, groups, local businesses or the local council about how your partnership has had a positive impact.
      • Remember to ensure the letter of support is for the partnership project you are working on or intend to work on, not just for your organisations - grant makers want to see community support for your project, not for your organisations.

The proposed project

  • This is where partnership partners need to explain to grant makers the project they want to gain funds for.
  • This means showing they have developed a clearly defined, creative, achievable and measurable strategy to address the issue/s previously described.
    • Clearly defined aims and objectives.
      • The aims and specific objectives of the program first need to be stated.
      • An aim or goal is usually a succinct, abstract description of what your program hopes to achieve.
      • These objectives should be specific, achievable within a certain time-frame, in a distinct geographical location and result in real outcomes that are easily measurable.

    • How the objectives will be met.
      • The objectives need to be matched with strategies that show how each will be achieved by whom and by when.
      • This should begin with the partnership stating reasons in support of the particular approach which was chosen.

    • How it will be evaluated.
      • Grant proposals need to outline a solid and detailed evaluation strategy to measure accomplishment of objectives.
      • Grant makers need to be sure that their money is going into a project which is a sensible investment.
      • Sometimes, provision could be made for an independent outside evaluation of the proposed project.

The budget

  • Your partnership may have to present budgetary details and forecasts for your project to grant makers.
    • That could vary from a simple one page statement of income and expenses to a more complex set of budget papers including explanatory notes and various items of revenue or expense.
    • The main thing is to be honest about your proposed expenditure - be open about your financial standing, your balance sheet, where else you are applying for funds, and how you have arrived at the sum that you are seeking.
Finally, if you happen to be successful in gaining grant money, remember to say thanks and show your appreciation to the grant makers.

It is a good idea to also stay in touch with those grant makers and communicate regularly with them about the project and its progress. If they know your partnership has successfully completed the project you received money for, how much easier will your next attempt to win funding be?