We’re nearing the end of the January silly season, which means 2016 has begun in earnest and a host of grant programs will be opening soon. Here are some tips to help you get money or mo’ money for your project.
WHERE TO FIND GRANTS
Finding what’s out there in grant land is relatively easy. A number of free online resources provide comprehensive lists of available grants, their focus areas, closing dates and links. Here’s just a couple that are useful:
Subscription grant-seeking services are also provided through platforms like
IDENTIFY THE RIGHT GRANT
Whilst finding grants may be easy, identifying the right grant for your project is trickier. There’s a temptation to go for grants simply because they’re there and they vaguely align with your idea. Resist this temptation. Your time and resources are limited, so you need to be strategic/pragmatic in your choice of which grants to target.
Most funding bodies detail their mission and focus as well as list the projects and organisations they’ve funded in the past on their website. This is a good way to determine if your project is the sort of thing they’re looking to fund. Making contact with the grants program contact/coordinator is an even better way.
TAKE TIME TO REALLY ‘COOK’ YOUR PROJECT
There’s no substitute for time to really develop and think through your project. Slow-cooked, well thought-through projects really stand out from under-done ones. Your project will be better for it, tastier, with a higher chance of being funded.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIPS
Funding bodies look very favourably on projects involving multiple partners, particularly partners from different sectors (e.g. community, business, education). This means more expertise and greater resources to make the project a success. If you don’t have strong partnerships you might want to think about who else you can bring onboard.
DON’T BE SHY
Funding bodies usually have a contact or coordinator responsible for managing their grant program. Call them and run your project past them. If you can see them in person even better – it’s their job to respond to your inquiries. Not only will you get on their radar, they may provide constructive feedback about an aspect of your project that improves its prospects.
That’s it for now but stay tuned for next time when we’ll cover a bit of the actual writing…
Words by Ziyad Springborg.
Image by Harrison Earl.