Here are 9 simple tips to understand the grant program, its processes and how you can give yourselves the best chance of becoming a winner!
Read the grant guidelines very carefully.
Understand what the grant program is trying to achieve. Many government grants are supporting a policy that is attempting to (for instance) fill a gap in the market, build an export capability, build particular industry and training skills, develop new medical devices, support early stage R&D, assist with commercialisation, help SMEs grow, attract new businesses to regional areas etc.
The preamble to a grants program should give the hints about why it has been developed. Once you grasp this, you can see if you fit in with the aims of the grant program.
Take notes about the details of the mechanics of the grant – including looking at timelines, payments, milestones, reporting, and the Ts and Cs.
Attend a briefing session if it is offered by the grants provider. Often a new grants program or a new funding round will be prefaced by a briefing session where interested parties can come along and hear details about the grant processes and importantly to be able to ask questions. It’s your opportunity to meet the Program Manager and to hear some of the questions being raised by people in the room.
Create a small team to work on the submission – a team that includes someone who can write, someone to chase up the financials, someone to find the referees and background information required to fulfil the grant obligations.
Ask for help! Get someone independently to read through (and edit) your application. Government and organisations that provide grants take a dim view of carelessness grant applications. Grants are ALWAYS hotly contested, so make your application stands out for the right reasons – clear, well-articulated, compelling in its rationale and argument. All this backed up by a team of skilled individuals who will give the grant provider confidence that their money will be well spent.
If there is a contact on the grant website, get in touch with them. Ask a couple of questions before you get too far down the track. This will ensure you are on the right path and the grant is suitable for you and your organisation.
Submit the grant on time – DO NOT submit it after the due date and time. Late applications will almost certainly NOT be accepted. Excuses such as the internet was down, couldn't get all the info in time etc will not soften the resolve of the grant provider. Other people managed to submit their applications on time and so should you.
The Grants Whisperer