Tackling a grant proposal for the first time can be a daunting prospect and many believe that it is a highly developed skill available to only a select few. Not true! The trick to writing successful grant proposals are relatively simple as long as you adhere to a few strict guidelines.
The first and possibly the most crucial element of any grant proposal are the guidelines set out by the funding body. In order to ensure that the limited amount of resources available in terms of financial assistance goes to the right recipients and are used for purposes that meet the objectives of the grant, funding bodies need to set strict guidelines and criteria. The selection criteria and presentation of the grant proposals may seem mundane with requirements such as proposal length and layout but adhering to these guidelines shows the grant assessor that you have read the criteria thoroughly and are willing to follow simple rules. It’s not about power, it’s about ensuring that the money given will be used for the purpose in which it was intended and not be squandered which will inevitably affect the reputation of the funding body as much as it will the organisation receiving the funds.
Following on from this, you need to ensure that the purpose for which the money will be used is in line with what the funding body is offering it for. If for example the funding body is offering grants for the purchase of sporting equipment for children in remote communities, applying for the same funding when you live in an urban region is not going to be accepted. There are a multitude of grants available every year, it is important that you pick the ones that are specific to your needs or you are simply wasting your time. Most local councils will keep a list of what grants are available specific to their regions needs and are readily available through council websites.
Make sure when structuring your grant proposal that you use clear and concise language which explains what it is you are hoping to achieve with your application. How you will use the money and importantly, how you will report this back to the funding body. All grants come with a request for grant recipients to show that the money they received has been used in line with the original application and a well formulated plan on how you intend to report this will be well received.
Always get a second opinion prior to submission. As well as meeting the criteria of the funding body you will need to have a very clear understanding of the objectives of your own organisation.
Lastly, don’t give up. Failing to obtain funds in your first attempt at a grant proposal is all part of the learning curve. The more you hone your skills, the more chance you have of being successful next time.