Improving your Application
Before applying for any funding ensure that you do as much research as you can and check with the funders that your project would fit with their funding programmes.
A key thing to remember is to be clear, and concise in all applications and only provide information that is requested by the funder and ensure the amount requested is realistic
Funders are often inundated with applications for support and those that succeed will be the ones that state the case for support in a way that is easily understood, unique and stands out from the crowd.
A good grant application involves a number of key elements:
- A good project
- A good case for support - including the evidence gathered
- Credibility of your group/organisation and the management skills and experience of your group
- The people involved in the project - if the project is aimed at young people, have they been involved in the design and management of the project?
- Demonstrates good management ability.
In order to make an application clear and concise it is important to consider the following key issues.
- Why your work/project is important?
- Who will benefit from your work/project and how will they benefit?
- What is unique or different about your work/project?
A good way of working out what to say is to put yourself in the funder's shoes. Imagine you are a funder or a member of a grants panel. What would you want to know?
As a funder you will want to feel that the problem/project is:
- The result of a 'real demand', not invented to suit the money available
- To do with people's needs, not just a lack of something
- That the group applying is the best organisation to tackle/provide this particular problem/issue/project.
You would probably want to know something about the group - how long have they been running, what they have managed to achieve so far, how many members do they have, what are the skills/experience of the members and would they be able to manage the project effectively.
When considering your application, Trustees or members of a grant panel will be asking some of the following questions:
- Does the application fit within the published policy and guidelines?
- Is the approach outlined the best way of spending resources?
- Have we funded anything similar recently?
- What would the project outcomes be and are they achievable?
- What is the project's relationship with clients/community/other bodies?
- What will happen following the funding?
- Is the project cost-effective and does it represent value for money? Is it better and/or cheaper than alternatives?
- Is the project well presented and the budget well prepared?
- Will there be any publicity/recognition of support?
- Could the group/organisation manage the grant?
- How would the group monitor the project/grant after if it was awarded a grant?
If you can give consideration to the above points when answering the questions on the application form, you may make the decision process much easier.
Key Things to Remember
Ensure that the application form is signed and dated by the correct people and that all of the documents requested by the funder are submitted with the application. Ensure all the documents submitted are all in the same name of the group/organisation that is applying for the funding.
Do not forget to photocopy the application form and any documents submitted with it. This will help you to complete future applications and help you to answer any questions or queries that the funders may have during the assessment process.
Please keep any rejection letters that you receive. You may have been rejected due to a lack of funds rather than problems with the project. By keeping the letters this will demonstrate to other funders that you have looked elsewhere and are not solely relying on support from one funder.
Any money that can be raised locally from sponsored events or activities regardless of how small will help to demonstrate real commitment from the people who will benefit from the project.
Do not be afraid to go back to the same funder if you have been successful in the past. Many funders will give money to organisations that have already received a grant, particularly if the money was well used and achieved the desired outcome.