Writing the grant application
Let’s make writing this grant application real.
The time has come to bring it all together. Keep in mind at this point you’ll most likely have between a two and six-week window to write and submit your application (often while juggling everything else in your usual day to day). NB some grants do not have specific closing dates however this is not commonplace (make sure you check).
You’ll be ahead of the game if you take the time to cover the first five parts of this series. However, that still doesn’t mean you have time to rest. It’s time to write the application.
Looking after you
As you write your funding application, you are going to go into a deep trance where you need to bring your focus to the thing that’s right in front of you.
You will immerse yourself in the language, terms, content of your grant application and you may wonder if there is actually an outside world and perhaps why in fact you started this process in the first place.
Tell your family, your flatmates, your pets that you will be working on this and notify them about your pending support needs. Stock the fridge with carrot sticks and celery to avoid the chips and put your joggers close to your office desk as a reminder that breaks help.
OK, not all grants are this gruelling, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare for the worst just in case right?
Download the funding guidelines (yes, I do realise you’ve already been asked to do that) and scan through the instructions bringing your focus to the funding criteria.
Make a list of any additional supporting documents and information that the grant requires and start drawing that together (delegate if you can).
Addressing the criteria in the application
Jot down some dot points to answer each of the funding criteria questions. Highlight any of the points that will require any further information.
Once this is complete for all questions go back to the beginning and re-arrange the dot points in logical orders – remember, you are trying to share an engaging story about why your grant should be accepted. Arrange your points in the following order;
- An impactful statement about your application, e.g. 22% of young people are unemployed. The business has existed for three generations, and this is the only business that supplies these widgets within the state.
- Supporting information for your case as related to the grant aims (You can include primary data here), e.g. the business expansion will call for six new full-time jobs,
- Further data (secondary) to support your case.
- Further relevant information.
Once you have completed this for all questions, start filling out each of the dot points to form paragraphs.
Ensure your criteria responses are succinct, logical and provide enough information for someone who is new to your business or project to understand what you want to do.
Check your word count. If there is no word count that doesn’t give you permission to supply reams and reams of information, just provide the most important points and ensure you build a case to align your proposal with the grant aims.
Ask someone that doesn’t know much about your business to read through the application to ensure they understand what you are trying to achieve.
Check that you have covered all of the criteria, included all of the required attachments and notified all of your supporting parties.
Now send it in.
- Don’t try to get any response right the first time, build on it slowly.
- Try and arrange a co-writer so that you can send your edited versions across for feedback and/or editing (perhaps you can co-write for this person at some stage in the future).
- Despite my dislike of printing you may need to print a version and consider literally cutting your paragraphs and shuffling them around to assess the best fit.
- If the words blur into one another walk away.
- Continually refresh your mind with the aims of the grant.
Eventually, you will hit send, perhaps it won’t be perfect – dare I say that a well-formed grant application with the right amount of support and timeliness may get through anyway.
Kerry Grace – Evolve Network Founder and CEO