At any one time there can be over 1,500 grants available to business worth over $40 billion. Many Australian businesses know there’s money out there somewhere, but how can you improve your chances of grant success?
Our Head of R&D and Grants, Rachel van Ketwich, shares her top 5 grant writing tips:
1. Understand the funding body’s objectives.
Government provides grants to achieve policy outcomes and address market failure, infrastructure development requirements and skills gaps. When preparing a grant application it’s important to understand the policy that sits behind the money and where possible make sure your submission aligns with these policy objectives.
2. Read the guidelines then read them again; if it’s not the first round of a program don’t assume the guidelines are the same the second time around.
The program guidelines should tell you everything you need about the program including the program objectives, what is and isn’t eligible under the program, how applications will be assessed and important timeline information. If after you read the guidelines you still have questions, call the program administrator on the number provided.
If it’s not the first round of a program the guidelines may have changed since the first round. The administrator’s often do this to address any feedback from the first round or to realign the program to better meet policy objectives.
3. Check word limits/ character limits in the application form and stick to them.
A number of grant programs now use an online portal for applications. Check the character or word limits in the online form. If you’re using Word or similar to prepare a draft response before cutting and pasting into the application be aware that the way Word counts characters may be different to the way the online form counts characters. Accordingly, leave yourself plenty of time before the submission deadline to finalise your application just in case your response does get cut off when you paste into the online form and you need to do any last minute rewording.
4. If it’s not the first round of a program, have a look at previous recipients to gauge the type and size of projects being supported and if possible contact a past recipient to discuss their application.
The past recipients list can give you a great insight into the types of programs that have been supported under a program and the general size of grants being awarded. If there is a limited budget for a program, looking at the past recipients and grant amounts can help you gauge how much money is still available in the ‘kitty’. If you know someone who has received funding under the program they may be open to providing you with some tips or help with your application.
5. Get others to read your application and provide their input – grant writing can be a team sport.
It’s always helpful to get someone else to proofread your application and provide feedback. It’s always useful if someone can read your work to check for any typos or issues with wording or punctuation and to ensure it makes sense and that it flows well. This can include someone who has no knowledge of your project. Grants will often give you limited words or characters to explain your project and its merits. It is therefore important that you can clearly and concisely articulate your project so that someone who has no background information fully understands what you are trying to do.
Interested in what grant funding may be available for you? Check out GrantGuru.