There’s plenty to do before you hit pen to paper.
In a nutshell, the grant writing process is often:
- Identify the opportunity
- Ensure you are eligible to apply
- Register your interest online, and attend information sessions
- Develop a grant writing strategy – Who will prepare the application? Get letters of support from your stakeholders and the community, etc.
- Understand your budget
- Double-check and submit your application early
- Follow up and feedback
The more planning you do, the more likely it is that your project will be successful. Start by drafting a project plan. This should include a succinct summary of the project, its rationale, supporting evidence of need, activities / components, reach, risk management, outcomes and a budget.
Don’t underestimate how long it will take to prepare a budget or to undertake community consultation and/or gather community and stakeholder support.
Can you help the funding body visualise your initiative by providing photos, maps, diagrams or plans? If you’re outsourcing these, do so early, so that you’re not waiting on them as the deadline approaches.
Will you need letters of support? If so, draft a one-pager about your project and reach out early to those organisations and supporters from who you’re asking for support. Don’t leave this until after you’ve completed writing your application because sometimes these letters can take a while to come in.
In most cases, you will need to provide, or have access to, matched funding and/or in-kind contributions. You might need to prove your enterprise has money in the bank as part of your grant application. In these instances, be sure you have a savings plan in place and/or you have discussed a loan agreement with your bank well before you apply for a grant.