Our Senior Grants Officer, Sara, has taken some time to share her top tips for writing your grant application, to give your project the best chance of receiving funding.
Ensure contact details are correct
Check the email address you provide. If it is incorrect, we won’t be able to contact you about your application. Also, check the details that you give as your second contact. If your application is successful, this person will also receive a grant offer and will be required to sign to accept, as well as yourself as the main contact. It is important that you let this person know that they may be contacted. Any incorrect details will lead to a delay in the processing of your grant.
Write in plain English
Throughout your application, use short sentences and avoid acronyms and jargon. There is no need to use formal or flowery language. Imagine that you are describing your work to someone who has never met you or seen what you do.
Be specific about what you plan to do
The project description should describe what the activity will be, when and where your project will take place, how you will go about delivering it, who the beneficiaries are and what the timeframe is. You should also identify any partner organisations you will be working with.
For example, rather than saying, “We will run cookery/nutrition sessions for children”, say:
“We will run weekly cookery sessions for 8–16 year-olds over a six-month period. Each session will be 2 hours long and will be attended by 15 children at named community centre. We will work with <name local partners> who will attend each session to give advice on nutrition, energy efficiency and healthy living.”
The word count limits are there as a guideline, not a target. Do not feel like you must fill them. Be succinct but make sure you have given us all the information required and aim for us not to have any further questions to ask you.
Focus your application on the funder’s priorities
For example, imagine that your group runs a dance project for local people: if you are applying to a funder that prioritises projects which help people keep fit and healthy, focus on the fact that dance is a good form of exercise. If you are applying to a funder that prioritises projects which promote arts and music activities, focus on the art and music element of dancing.
Always keep your project plan in mind
Do not get carried away and commit yourself to a project you won’t be able to run, even if it sounds better in the application. It is better to be realistic about what you can deliver.
Provide evidence that your work is needed
Most of the funds we manage seek to address inequality and give additional support to those who are at a disadvantage. Therefore, ensure you describe why you are running the project for the beneficiaries intended. Explain how the people or community accessing your services are disadvantaged and tell us about the issues they face. If you can include statistics or other findings, even better.
Have a clear idea of the impact your project will have
Explain exactly how your project will address the needs described above and what opportunities it will create. Think about how you will measure and report on the positive changes you have made for your beneficiaries and the wider community. It’s worthwhile thinking about your specific outcomes at this stage.
Consider the sustainability of your project
Think about how your project will progress after the initial funding comes to an end, or if it’s a one-off project. For example, if your project involves the training of staff or volunteers, what will the long-term effect of this be?
Include identified risks and potential solutions
Ensure that any risks have been identified and that you have a proposed plan for addressing them. Please do not say that your project has no risks, as all projects have them, so we will question you on this.
Make your budget as specific as possible and make sure it adds up
Let us know the total cost of your project, how much you have raised so far and how much you are applying for. Your budget should reflect the aspects of your work for which you are requesting a grant. Do not include any non-specific items in your budget, such as “contingency costs” or “miscellaneous”.
Get quotes for everything you will need to pay for, so that it is accurate. If applying for a grant to purchase capital items or equipment which would cost over £500, we require three different quotes to be submitted alongside your application form by the deadline date.
Also, please do make sure (and double check) that everything included in your budget adds up correctly.