How grants work
At GrantReady, our aim is to empower you to build a strong and successful approach to winning grants so you can take advantage of the full range of funding available to Councils, without wasting time and effort.
Funding programs are ever evolving and sometimes only offer a short period of time to apply before they close… we all know that feeling! Register yourself to receive personalised email alerts and notifications of appropriate funding programs for your project or team as soon as they’re available – stay ahead of the pack time and time again!
Remember, grants are offered by State and Federal Government and occasionally by other entities, to help fulfill their overarching strategic objectives. Where your project aligns with these goals – you may be eligible to apply for and win some funding.
The four steps to grant success
Most of us know there’s money out there somewhere, but how can you really work towards grant success? Many believe that it’s too hard, don’t know where to look, or go on to have an ad hoc conversation with a Government representative.
In response, we have developed a four step process to help you succeed from the outset.
A basic misunderstanding about the nature of grant programs is often the cause of failure to access funding. Many believe they should get a grant because they have a good idea, project or program but that’s not correct.
Grants are generally a method for a government to enact their strategy in a particular area. Grants tend to fund specific projects or programs, not op-ex costs such as wages, so begin to think about your funding needs in terms of a project that can be clearly defined and costed. It is rare, but there can be exceptions to this rule eg. consultants may be an acceptable cost as part of a project or program’s delivery.
Move away from a reactive, frantic, grant seeking cycle and start to incorporate grants into your ongoing strategy. This could include mapping out an annual calendar of grant applications and reviewing your eligibility status for these, and other programs as they become available.
It’s not rocket science, but a certain amount of skill and experience certainly helps. You need to describe your activities in a clear, comprehensive and consistent manner, and make a convincing case for why you should receive funding.
You will be able to draw quite heavily on your strategic plans, which should already articulate your methods of achieving desired goals. You probably already have a raft of documentation that can support an application.
It’s important that you are not represented in a grant application in a way that is contrary to your core activities, ongoing goals and vision. Whatever content is used in your application should be articulated in other policies, strategies, documents and reports. There needs to be a natural alignment between both the funding and recipient party for grants to be a true success.
Remember, using the correct terminology and vocabulary in your application demonstrates understanding of the funding program’s objectives and can improve your chance of success.
If you’ve been successful, make sure you understand the reporting requirements and complete them as needed. This can be turned into a great relationship-building exercise.
If you missed out on the grant, call the administrator and ask why. Perhaps there were areas of your project or your application that you need to improve for next time. This advice can prove valuable for the future so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and get talking.
It’s a great idea to check what the reporting requirements will be as soon as possible, this way you’re prepared for key dates or milestone reports with appropriate information collected from appropriate staff.
Hot tip: take pictures of your project as it evolves, keep newspaper clippings and set up Google alerts, they all help tell the story to your funding body, Councillors and senior staff.
Where it usually goes wrong
Traditionally everyone starts and ends at Step 3 – Grant Writing. As a result, many fail, resulting in lost time, effort and expense, not to mention a bad reputation. We emphasize Steps 1 and 2 – Education and Grant Strategies. This way, your council can systematically apply to funding programs best suited to your needs. When you do this, you will notice your internal ability to identify and apply for grants will improve dramatically.
How will you be assessed?
All grants differ in their requirements and eligibility criteria. You will need to meet the selection criteria specific to each grant. However, be prepared to be assessed in relation to all aspects of your organisational abilities and activities, including:
- Your management capabilities
- Organisation structure
- Outcomes and achievements to date
- Co contribution – financial and in-kind
How do we help?
To offer you control of your own grant opportunities, we have invested significant resources to build the tools needed to allow you to self-determine and manage your grants future. GrantGuru for Councils provides a tool that will allow you to explore the full extent of competitive and entitlement grants from the many and varied bodies and authorities who offer them. GrantGuru for Councils provides email alerts and allows you to access all the grants information in one central location and in a standard format so grant opportunities can be easily compared.
Through GrantGuru, we:
- List all grant programs we can find.
- Keep all information up-to-date.
- Provide search functionality to find appropriate programs to create a tailored short list for our needs.
- Allow the grants to be easily compared.
- Indicate timing for commencement and lodgement of submissions.
- Offer the ability to monitor favourites and apply, through a ‘to do’ list – a simple workflow management tool.
GrantGuru provides information that intuitively allows you to determine the best opportunities. For example, by providing merit criteria for each grant program, you can immediately see how they will be assessed.
Does it work?
To date, organisations that have tapped into GrantGuru have already secured over $500,000,000. It works! Apply again and again for as many grants as you like.