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  • Bryan Tamburrino

Short Read - Tips for Preparing Winning Grant Applications

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Tips for Preparing Winning Grant Applications

Introduction

Getting a grant is not easy. Grants are typically awarded to a minority of applicants and the competition can be fierce. However, if you are willing to put in the hard graft and prepare your application thoroughly then there is no reason why your project should not get funded. In many ways, preparing a successful grant application is like writing an essay: it requires careful planning and research as well as excellent writing skills.



1) It is important to know what the funder is looking for in order to best match your project idea with the aims of the funding body.

  • It is important to know what the funder is looking for in order to best match your project idea with the aims of the funding body.

  • Researching a funder's stated mission, priorities and funding priorities will also help you understand how they like their applications written and presented.

  • Don't miss deadlines! Many funding bodies require that applications be submitted well before the start of funding rounds so you can do your research and make sure your application meets all requirements before applying.

2) When funding bodies are assessing applications, they are looking for a strong rationale for their giving money.

When funding bodies are assessing applications, they are looking for a strong rationale for their giving money. What does this mean?


A good rationale will show that you have thought through the project and know how it will work. You should be able to explain:

  • Why this project/activity is important;

  • How and why it will achieve its aims; and

  • Who or what is involved in making it happen.

3) Planning - What will be done; How it will be done; When and by whom.

  • Planning

  • What will be done?

  • Who will do it?

  • How will they do it? (methods)

  • When and by whom should the project be completed?

4) Budgeting - What your project will cost and how it will be funded.

Budgeting is an important part of the grant application process. It's a process of estimating the costs and funding sources for your project. You need to think about how much it will cost, who will pay for what and when, and how you'll manage money throughout the entire project (or program).



When planning a budget, consider all aspects of your project, including:

  • People: Are there any staff members who are contributing time or skills? What about volunteers? Do you need any outside help with purchasing materials or equipment?

  • Time: How much time do you expect each person involved in this project will spend on it? Will any other projects take away from their ability to contribute fully here? What's possible with limited resources that would be impossible with more funds available at hand?

5) Reporting - How you will track progress and report back to the funder.

Reporting - How you will track progress and report back to the funder.


The funder may expect periodic reports of your progress, or they may allocate a certain amount of money per month to cover expenses. It's essential that you understand what level of reporting the funder prefers before submitting an application. If no requests for updates are made, then there's no reason to send them!


Additionally, some funders require project participants (you) to collect data on specific indicators at certain intervals throughout the duration of your project—and even beyond it (in case more funding is granted). These standards can vary wildly from one organization to another—so make sure that you thoroughly understand these requirements before submitting anything.


6) Timelines, timeframes and deadlines.

For the most part, the first quarter is when most funding deadlines occur. Some agencies and foundations have funding available throughout the year, but many have a set timeline for when applications are due. If you know that you want to apply for a specific grant or fellowship program, start preparing well in advance of deadline day.


7) Pay attention to detail! Very often it is the small things that fail to comply with requirements that mean your grant application gets declined.

A common mistake that applicants make is to be too reliant on previous years' guidelines, which may no longer be relevant. If you are unsure about anything, it's better to ask for help than think that your application might not get through because of a small change in the requirements.

There are some things that are best done during the writing process itself, rather than as an afterthought. For example, if you have just completed an application and it contains several paragraphs of text without any headings or subheadings, re-read your work before submitting it! You should also check that every page has page numbers and that all pages appear in correct order (e.g., page one should be numbered 1).


Make sure that each section has been completed accurately; this includes headers and footers with correct dates and contact details for all parties involved in the funding request (including yourself!). Check references carefully—if they do not exist online then provide web links instead so people can easily find them later on if needed—and ensure there aren't any spelling mistakes either by reading through everything carefully again before submitting."


Conclusion

Now you know what it takes to write a good grant application, so get started! Remember that the funder wants you to succeed, which means doing everything in your power to make sure that their money will be well spent. By following the tips above, you can create an outstanding proposal with ease and win the funding for your project!


 

For more information about putting this information to work at your organization contact Bryan at (203) 954-5121 or bryan@tangibleconsult.com.

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