We just recently got notified of another three grant applications over the line for clients, amounting to $1.2m. Great news at any time, but these three stood out for their own unique reasons. It was a pleasure to work on them. So what was so different about these?
Informative Letters of Support
First and foremost, the quality of the letters of support. One applicant presented us with over 20 pages of support letters; not the mundane, run of the mill kind, but graphic representation of the challenges during the 2019/20 Australian bushfires and the aftermath. The letter writers were from everywhere – police, emergency services, mental health, business, community itself. There was so much firsthand experience and data, that we had no trouble putting together the evidence base. Thanks to them, we could tell a compelling story. So powerful!
It is so important to have letters of support ready for grant applications. It is not simply about leaving things until the last few days and then preparing a template and tapping some friendly faces on the shoulder. Support letters are so valuable for re-enforcing the need for the project you are proposing. Either you ask the funder to take your word for it, or you get third parties, usually those affected by the problem at hand, to tell the story in their words. Which do you think goes down better in the assessment of your application?
Capacity to Deliver
The second was a project that is creating an impact already and should be picked to roll out more widely. For this one, I had the pleasure of sitting in (virtually) on planning meetings, each one providing golden nuggets to add to the business case. Not only was the committee so well organised and involved, but they were also able to easily quantify the economic, social and financial impacts on properties directly impacted by fires, as well as quantify the outcomes and benefits of the project for affected communities. These people could easily prove the capacity to deliver.
An assessor of an application will get a good idea from the quality of information supplied, about the capacity of the applicant to deliver the project. It’s not just about skills and qualifications and project steering groups. Good project and planning knowledge comes through in the language of the application. This is reflected in prior experience and a confidence of knowing your numbers.
The third project application, though somewhat smaller than the other two, also drew its strength from firsthand feedback about the impacts of bushfires on this rural community, and the flow on effects on tourism and the economy. This application clearly identified the problem, and came up with a simple yet effective, community inclusive solution. This was an infrastructure project, and seeking planning permits and other permissions and had already been done. Up to date quotes were in place. The project was shovel ready.
Quite often, applicants for infrastructure grants are simply not ready. There are a number of permissions required, such as from the owner of the land/property, Council, environmental, cultural heritage, the list goes on. If you don’t have the required permissions, then you are a high risk compared to someone who has already been through this process. As there is no guarantee you will get the required permissions, you are asking the funder to put aside funding that they may not be able to re-allocate later. If you’re not sure, check all the information that’s required, and ask the funder before you put pen to paper.
Three examples, three reminders of the importance of proving support and need, ability to deliver and doing the groundwork beforehand.
Preparing your Business Case
Have you got an idea for a grant application, and want to do the groundwork in preparation for the next opportunity?
Be smart. Make the most of your time by downloading and drafting your idea on a copy of our Get that Grant Project Planning template from //getthatgrant.com or you can download the Get that Grant Planning App to your tablet or phone from the app stores.
Talk to a grant writer //outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/GrantWritingHelpDesk@thecommunityentrepreneur.com/bookings/