A significant amount of project planning can be undertaken prior to applying for funding. Often going through a planning process can also help you determine which funding source(s) might be the most appropriate for your project. If you have the suggested information ready when a funding round opens, it leaves you free to spend the application period on the extras required for an individual program, and writing the actual application.
Some hints on grant writing
A significant amount of project
planning can be undertaken prior to applying for funding. Often going through a planning
process can also help you determine which funding source(s) might be the most appropriate for
Note: This list is by no means
exhaustive, but it is a starting point for information that will be required for many funding
applications. If you have this information ready when a funding round opens, it leaves you free
to spend the application period on the extras required for an individual program and writing
the actual application.
Stage 1 - Planning
- It always takes longer than you
- Changes to guidelines from
funding round to funding round are usually minimal.
- You don't need to wait for a program’s
funding round to open before you start planning your project.
- Identify who will be the
applicant. The applicant will need to be a legal entity who can enter into a contract e.g. an
- Identify the contact person for
the applicant and relevant contact details.
Spend time planning so you are
- What you want to achieve, what
will be the outcomes
- What you actually want to do
- How you will do it
- What actions and where
- Who will/needs to be involved
- Materials required
- Timeline - what's to be done,
when, by whom
You'll also need to emphasize:
- Why your project is important
- Value for money
- How you will monitor and
evaluate the success of your project / how you will know whether or not it has been
- How will the project site be
maintained in the long term, after the project is finished?
Identify early who you will
need to consult, get advice from, seek approval/support. Make contact with them early and
discuss your project idea! Once you are clear about what you
want to do, identify the funding source that is most appropriate.
Stage 2 - Gathering the information
Collect all the information you
- Application form
- Any other relevant documents eg
Read the guidelines,
application form etc thoroughly.
If the program is ongoing,
check what changes, if any, have been made.
Programs often produce useful
information on how to fill out the form, checklists etc - use them.
Get any approvals or permits
Find out about the assessment
- How will the proposal be
- Against what criteria?
Stage 3 - Writing the Proposal
Keep in mind who will be
reading your application. Remember it's usually competitive with limited funds and you want
your proposal to really stand out (for all the right reasons!)
Make the proposal interesting
and easy to read:
- Through language you use
- Formatting, good print size
- TYPE your application if at all
Make sure the application and
attachments can still be read easily AFTER they have been photocopied. (Usually
applications are copied for all assessment panel members)
Answer all the questions unless
any really aren't applicable - this isn't usually the case. In describing your project,
present a clear picture of what it is about, what your project will specifically achieve, and
how it will achieve it.
Match you project to the
- Show how the goals of your
project match that of the program
- Use words from the guidelines,
quote from plans etc
- If the program has a particular
focus (eg on-ground works), highlight it (on-ground works) in your project.
Make sure it has sufficient
detail to be clear.
Make sure it adds up and that
the budget summary matches the full budget.
Make sure the budget matches
the project description. The panel needs to be able to see what is being done and how much
each activity will cost.
If there are funding rules,
- Don't put in ineligible items.
- Stick within recommended
amounts or limits.
Justify your budget especially
if an item is more than a recommended limit. Demonstrate that you’re using
the most cost effective and economical methods
Sketch maps – a detailed map of
the actual site and a map of the region indicating the location of the project site will
probably be required.
If this is required, be clear
about contributions to the project and whether they are cash or in-kind.
You may be required to provide
written advice from ‘experts’ or consenting authorities to support your claims. Identify
these individuals early.
Don’t leave them to the last
minute! Identify any permits/approvals do you will need e.g. landholder’s consent (and
signatures at time of lodging), works on waterways approvals (via Catchment Management
Authorities), planning permits (local government), licences to use water (Water
Are there any cultural heritage
sites at or near your project site?
Local NRM facilitators will be
able to assist you in identifying possible requirements.
Letters of support
Don’t leave them to the last
minute! Many organisations are inundated with requests for letters of support in the last
three days of big funding rounds. Identify relevant individuals/organisation could
you approach for a letter of support.
Benefit to the community
Some grant programs require
that your project show significant benefits to the community, so have a think about
how you can demonstrate this.
Stage 4 - Completing and lodging
Check that your application
addresses ALL the criteria that will be used to assess it.
Make sure it is complete (use
checklist provided if there is one)
- All questions answered.
- All additional information
attached (maps, letters of support, permits, etc).
- All required signatures
Use the 'stranger test'. Ask
someone who knows nothing about your project to read your proposal and tell you what you
want to do, how you will do it and what the outcomes will be. If they can't, chances are
your application is not clear.
Send the original
Keep a copy
Lodge on time - Late
applications and/or attachments are not usually accepted
Note: Grant programs are usually
very competitive as more often than not, funds are limited.
The aim is to give your proposal
its best chance of success.