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Top Tips for a Successful Grant Applications

ApprovedTop Tips For Successful Grant Applications

If you’ve never made a grant application before, it can be quite difficult to navigate. Here are our Top Tips for making a successful grant application. These tips can help you get your grant, and we’ve even included a few ideas about what to do once you’ve got the money – and how to build on that success to apply for more grant money!

Here are AVOW’s top tips for successful grant applications

Before The Grant Application

Do Your Research

Have you ensure you have done the necessary research/consultation and that the project/service YOU think you should run is actually what is needed by the people within the community. Every funder will want to see evidence of this research, and the need.

You can do this by conducting comprehensive consultation that involves all sections of the community, over a few months and include not just social media polls but also active in person workshops and print/audio media

Network and Work with Partners

Can you show partnership working?  Get to know others that work in the same area as you do. Talk to other groups, and other natural partners for your idea, see what ways you can work together. This also shows the funder that there are groups and organisations within the community that all want to help the respective client group, but are willing to share the responsibility and the love.

Some examples of this might be an art group are concerned that they are not successful with any funding applications as they have been keeping themselves separate and considered “niche” art for people over 50. The group had never considered involving art students from the University, a youth group operating only 10 minutes away or even a refugee organisation who would benefit from art being used as a means of self expression. The group has now increased it’s reach and offering, and now extended to providing art therapy to people with life limiting conditions, which has led to successful funding applications

A Mouse on Paper Forms, with a pen

The Grant Application

Top Tip – Read and Understand the Criteria

ALWAYS ALWAYS read through the criteria of a grant first. All organizations need funds in order to continue the vital work that they do – however, as time moves on and competition gets much harder with less funds available. It is imperative that you are eligible and that you do actually fit the criteria that is set by each funder.

Think of it this way – it takes a long time to fill in a form and ensure you have the correct documentation/costings etc – so makes sure you are eligible to start of with!

Be Aware Of Deadlines

Ensure your application arrives on the date and time given. Funders will not accept late applications.

All funders are heavily subscribed to and know that they will be turning down very good applications fundamentally because they don’t have the money to support everyone.

Know What You Need The Money For

Ensure your costings add up, and that you apply for the money needed. Funders will not provide monies retrospectively. Give your application the best chance possible of success!

Remember to include things like up to date quotes and don’t round up costs to the nearest £1 or £10 – be as accurate as possible and don’t guess.

Send the Documents

If an application is requiring bank statements, constitution, lease agreements etc please SEND them. It’s a surprisingly easy mistake to make, so double-check that you have attached everything before you hit ‘send’.

They will form the basis of the due diligence that a grants officer will perform when assessing each application before it goes to the grant panel. Never expect a funder to chase you for the documents. If you don’t provide them your application will be rejected

Find someone to read the Draft

Use a third person/someone external to the organization to read the draft application before you submit it. You will know your project/service inside out and will be used to acronyms and short-cuts, but a funder won’t.

First time of using the abbreviation state it in full and then show abbreviation as at times a funding application will be going out of the Borough and they won’t know an abbreviation elsewhere in the UK. For example Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC). A mental Health score system should be Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS) – ensures clarity and ease of reading. Also ensure it is both grammatically correct and uses plain English to aid better understanding when being read.

Top Tip – Know The Funder

Ensure you have a good relationship with your funder and you LISTEN to how they want to communicate with you. Do they want a report every month/every six months or does once a year suffice? Include in your grant application how you imagine this communication to work.

Invite them to see your current project and meet service users. If they don’t come- that is ok – but the invite is important!

Glasses sit on typed paper

After A (Successful) Grant Application – to ensure another success!

Monitor the project.

The funder will set the parameters or timescales of when they will need reports and/or monitoring forms returned to them. Ensure that this date is adhered to, with full documentation provided, for example receipts, case studies, number of beneficiaries supported. If/where necessary health and wellbeing benefits/scores. If this date is adhered to then it will help with renewing any funding bid. If it isn’t then you will be very low on a priority list of receiving funding as you will be seen as a risk.

Only Spend the Money on What you Asked For

ONLY spend monies on what you asked for. Projects can, and do change, but If you need to make a change – talk directly to the funder, explaining the change and gain their approval in writing. It is their money of which they will have to provide their own monitoring reports and demonstrate that monies are being spent appropriately. Be willing to account for the money that you have already spent as intended, and remember, if you can’t spend the money on what you asked for it for, YOU WILL NEED TO RETURN IT. Talk to the funder, keep a dialogue open. They can and do want to help.

Top Tip – Recognise the funder!

Ensure you use the funders logo where applicable and in relation to the project. Tag them in social media posts, send copies of it to them. Use any #tags that they have suggested, and interact with them. They want people to know how they are spending their money, so keeping the funder in the loop will often raise the profile of your project – which in turn helps your project grow and makes getting more funding easier. Invite them down to see what’s going, and make a big deal about it. Put their logo at the bottom of any press-releases or posters that you make. Ensure the funder is recognized in your annual accounts. All of this is a two-way street and will help both you and them.

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