How to bid write for grants

Over the past several years grant fundraising has become progressively more competitive. Here are some top tips to help you out with your funding bid.

Your funding bid is usually the initial impression the funder will have of your organisation. To make a great impression, you will need to provide evidence that your organisation is well-managed and has an exceptional track record in achieving a strong impact.  You will need to target your funder carefully and ensure that the funder’s aims and eligibility criteria aligns with your bid. You will be more successful if you find the funder whose aims, and objectives fit with you project rather than altering your project to fit the funders aims.

It is important to be realistic and realise that it is better to grow gradually and develop in the direction the direction you want rather than go out all at once. Also completing your application will take longer than you initially imagined. Some grant programmes are only open once a year, so you will need to start planning months in advance.

Top Tips

Prospective Research

Prospective research will help make the process of applying for funding a lot easier. It is worthwhile to conduct research, to prevent failure and poor performance. Start off by spending an ample of time researching a wide array of grant makers. From this research you will be able to see which ones align with your objectives. Try to conduct your research as early as possible and well before any funding is required for the organisation. You will want to be aware of the funder’s deadlines well in advance, as it can take from 3 months to a year for a response once you start submitting bids.

If your organisation is new to grant fundraising, try to dedicate several days to conduct prospective research. Funders programmes often change, and it is important to refresh any research frequently.

It is often worthwhile reviewing the accounts of the funders you are considering applying to, for the lists of grant recipients. This can give you an idea of whether they have a history of supporting similar causes, the nature of the grant making in practice which may differ from/refine their stated objects. It would also reveal how much would be appropriate to request.

Furthermore, your Local Authority may allocate grant funding to local projects that help fulfil their strategy on a particular issue; so, try to keep an eye on your council website. If there is a lot of new or proposed building in the local area, there be an opportunity to benefit from a ‘’Community Infrastructure Levy’. This is where developers are obliged to invest in communities their developments are likely to affect. This can also apply to landfill sites and power plants. Large corporations also have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy in which they may be interested in working with and supporting organisation where they have branches.

Read the criteria, and any guidance given

Although this may seem an obvious piece of information, it would surprise you at how many bid writers have failed to answer the questions or align with the funding criteria. This is where reading the guidance provided by the funder is needed. If there is little information on the specifics required in each section, read between the lines.

Often, the Funders will ask things in different ways. Anyone who is writing the bid must be able to address what the question is asking. With this method, the bid writer may have the desire to cut and paste from a different section of the bid, without carefully considering what the questions means, and how the answer should be meet that criterion.  

If after you have carried out the research, read the appropriate guidance and there is something confusing you, give the funder a call. It can be helpful in picking up the phone and having a discussion with the funder, even if it is something as simple as getting their opinion on your eligibility.

Required evidence and impact

It is no good delivering or developing a method of targeting an issue just because you think it is the right thing to do. You need evidence to support your approach and give the grant-makers confidence. There are two key aspects to this:

  • You need to be able to evidence the impact of the work you have already done. Especially if you are looking to scale up, replicate or continue existing work. Projects need to be monitored, reviewed, and evaluated. Grant-makers want to see clear evidence that what you are presenting to them is effective and truly meets the needs of the stakeholders.
  • If you are developing a new project/way of working and you need funding to get it off the ground, how do you know it’s the best solution to the issue you’re trying to address? You need to consult with the target beneficiary groups(s) and other stakeholders: what are the issues? DO the issues differ in different localities what of support do people want? How does this full a gap in existing services?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.