Sarah Cox: How to win a funding grant

Grant funders will receive far more funding applications than they can support at the best of times. During a global pandemic and a recession, this is going to be increased tenfold. So it is really important that your application stands out from the rest, and that you make every single word count to help secure the funds you need. Funders want to know what the impact of your planned project will be on your community and how it will change people’s lives for the better, so you need to demonstrate this to be in with the best chance.

Here are Ansvar’s top tips for a successful grant application for your charity, helping you do the things you know will help those around you.

Have a clear purpose for the grant

Because grant funders will receive so many applications, it’s imperative to be clear, considered, and convincing. There will be nothing more frustrating to the person reading your application, than getting to the end of your form and still being none the wiser as to what you are actually proposing.

Make sure you explain every detail about what you intend to do with the money you are applying for, you should account for every penny. It can be easy to fill in a lot of blanks in your own mind as you are a part of the project day-to-day, so it’s important to remember that the funder will be seeing your application with fresh eyes and won’t have the same innate knowledge of your cause as you do.

You could ask a trusted friend who is not part of the project to read through it and ask if it makes sense to them. You can then fill in any gaps that they might ask for clarification on.

Consider how you will quantify the impact

Rather than seeing the monitoring and evaluation part of your application as a necessary evil, consider how important this aspect is to a funder who is learning about your charity - perhaps for the first time.

Having a clear way of measuring and demonstrating the impact of the grant’s effects will give the funder faith in your ability to deliver a real difference to the community you work with. This definitive measurement will show the funder exactly where their money is going and what it is doing.

Funders will find it most helpful to define the ultimate impact that you are looking to achieve and then work backwards from there. Consider your end goal and then recount the steps you will need to take from where you are starting.

Tell a story

By granting these funds the funder will, by association, be a part of your charity’s story. Therefore it’s important to have a clear understanding of exactly what you do, how you do it and what you stand for, so that they too can believe in and buy into your cause.

Make sure you take time to re-tell your story in as clear and concise a way as possible. Though the funder wants to know about you and your charity, they probably aren’t going to be interested in the history of the boiler in your premises. Keep to the headlines of what you have achieved, how you have changed lives and what your charities’ purpose is. You may also wish to include a case study or two for a more powerful application, adding a more personal touch.

Evidence the need

It will highly increase your chances of being granted your funds if you show evidence that there is real need for the project, rather than something you have simply perceived. Are there any local survey results or similar that you can include to help support your application? Perhaps there was a similar project in a community like yours that had dramatic positive effect, or if there has been public demand for this project.

Anything and everything that you can use to help persuade the funder to choose you over another applicant, is important to include in your form.

Back it up

To summarise, one of the most important takeaways from this blog is the importance of quantifying and evidencing the need for this project. Back-up everything wherever possible with data and facts.

You could write the most beautiful, emotive application in history for the most incredible, life changing project, and you might not get the funding simply because you were missing the data that backs-up everything you have said. We hope you will consider this advice the next time you are writing an application, and we wish you all the best in securing the funding you need!

Sarah Cox is the Managing Director of charity and faith insurance specialist, Ansvar, the sponsors of this piece.

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