Eligibility and Planning
I touched on eligibility and planning in Grant Writing Part I — let’s dig deeper into these critical elements.
Don’t start writing that application yet — READ THE GUIDELINES — then put them down, go for a walk, and do it again. Focus especially on eligibility — what and who they will fund, and won’t fund, and why.
The guidelines are the rules, and they are unbreakable. Check with the funding body, if you are not sure, and get the response in writing. They will have the last word — make sure your project really does fit before you spend time and money writing that grant. Many a day and a dollar has been wasted because fine print was misread!
So, you’re eligible! Fantastic! Now, start planning. And if you are doing it with other people — Slack, Google Docs and Zoom are really useful (we all have our favorites) for planning it out and doing it online with others in real-time. I use all these platforms.
Elements you should cover:
- Have your project sorted. Know what you want to do, why, and with whom. I use mind maps all the way through — brain dumps are always helpful.
- Discuss it with the community or whomever you are trying to help — what do they want to be done? Do they really want your project or are they just being civil?
- Before you invest time in the grant application itself, send a project brief to key business and community leaders, and politicians, then call and meet with them. If the brief is well received, ask for letters of support (LOS). I usually write a draft LOS to save time, then ask supporters to review and sign. My draft includes key outcomes expected by the funding body.
- If they are really keen, get them involved and work out what that means in terms of an in-kind contribution (e.g. wages, stationery, infrastructure, transport, use of space) which can be included in the budget. If they don’t have anything you need for the project, ask for a cash contribution, bearing in mind that many government grants are dollar for dollar.
So, remember to read the guidelines and leave plenty of time for planning. Best of luck!
Go to Grant Writing Part III — Eight More Tips — for more tips! 🙂