Successful grant applications and building a strong case for support
Grants can be a great source of fundraising income. A successful grant application will need to have a persuasive pitch delivering the right message, providing a concrete case for why someone should consider financially supporting your cause.
4 steps to financial support – the key principles for a good grant application.
1. Follow their guidelines.
It seems straightforward, but every grant application is different – in structure, formality and even how you fill it in. Treat each application individually as each funder will have its own guidelines. Your application needs to meet their funding criteria.
2. Think your proposal through thoroughly.
Careful consideration from planning, to research, to proposal plays an enormous part in the potential a positive outcome.
Clarify who is responsible for the grant application for the charity. This may be one dedicated fundraiser or a wider team who share the load. It is important to be clear on who is responsible for delivering, and they have enough time and support to do so.
Your trustees and leadership should commit time and resources to fundraising. It is important your trustees understand that successful fundraising, particularly grant applications, take time and resources are committed to fundraising across the organisation.
Take time before jumping into grant applications to research and record all possible donors and funders. Step 2 provides more guidance to help you do this.
Consult your local community. Consultation events, focus groups and questionnaires are a great way to find out what local needs are. This is evidence you can include when applying for grants to show why your project is needed.
Have well organised administration and financial management. You will need to be able to show that your finances are well managed, including regular financial statements and annual reports and accounts.
3. Carefully write your application
At the end of every application is someone looking for a reason to help, or not.
The easier you make that process, the more likely you are to succeed.
Ensure you have a strong vision and mission statement, which clearly expresses the difference your charity wants to make and how it will achieve this. Step 1: The Fundraising Plan has more guidance on writing a strong vision statement.
Have a compelling and clear case for support which conveys the need for your charity’s project, activities or services; what your solution to the need is; and what outcomes your solution will provide. This can be used as a backbone to all your grant applications and approaches.
4. Ensure your application is well rounded and includes all the key information required
Make sure your grant application has covered the key points. This includes:
The need for your work or project
The difference the project will make and reasons why you are best placed to do this.
Accurate costs and forecasts which include timings of anticipated grants
Timeframe – what will happen when
How the project will be delivered and sustained. It is important for your organisation to demonstrate they have the governance structures and track record to deliver.
Monitoring and evaluation – what will success look like and how they will know this?
Permissions in place for the project to succeed.
For more guidance, watch our webinar with Industry experts from the Directory of Social Change. Focusing on your fundraising messages in current times, it provides guidance on pulling together a strong case for support or grant application.
Made your applications?
You’ve done the due diligence and secured the support. Next, to make sure that support continues, it’s important to demonstrate how the funding was used and the impact it made.