The Australian Government earmarks billions of dollars in funding each year in the form of grants and incentives to help companies start up, nurture and scale their business. Australian governmental support for entrepreneurs is regarded as world-class and not surprisingly there is fierce competition for the funding. Funding organisations receive many more applications than they can possibly green-light, so getting their attention is imperative. Successfully selling your project requires that you stand out from the pack and cogently argue the case for why your project should be funded with a grant over many others. So what’s the typical process and how can your organisation become adept at successful grant-seeking?
What Makes a Successful Grant Application?
A successful grant application will address demonstrate your organisation’s ability to deliver the services that respond to needs in the community. A specific issue or problem will be identified, following which you will demonstrate that your organisation can provide a solution by telling an evocative story, showing you’ve developed a creative, well-defined, measurable method to implement a proposed project.
It’s important to understand an agency’s grant program and to prepare to follow their guidelines carefully, including making sure you meet the eligibility criteria. The grant application process is inevitably time-consuming, involving a lengthy application procedure and the need to collect plenty of information and evidence in support of your application, so it’s important you don’t waste time applying for a grant if you are ineligible!
What are Funding Agencies Looking For?
Funders will be looking for “match-up” between their priorities, your organisation and your project. Taking a look at the funding agency’s website and annual reports will give you a good indication of their priorities and objectives, so you can tailor your responses against selection criteria appropriately.
Even though each grant and funding agency will have its own specific application process and requirements, most grant applications will ask similar key questions. A brief description of your organisation and its key staff is typically required, and then the application will proceed to address the funder’s selection criteria, in order to demonstrate how a proposed project or program will realistically meet identified needs in the community.
You’ll likely be required to provide clearly defined aims and objectives, the methodology for how your objectives will be implemented, methods of evaluation for how the project’s success will be measured (KPIs and other reporting scenarios), as well as full details of the project budget.
Addressing Grant Selection Criteria
Claims against selection criteria will need to be supported by up-to-date, evidence-based statements regarding how your project will benefit an identified community or target group. You’ll be demonstrating how your organisation’s strategies will respond to the target group’s needs, how the project implementation will achieve all the stakeholders’ objectives, and how the project will achieve value for money.
You’ll need to get your message across succinctly, but in sufficient detail. This includes detailing what the most important factors of your project are, how the project fits in with the other aims of your organisation, how the community will be involved (perhaps through participation in workshops, programs or presentations), how other organisations might be involved (whether through financial or in-kind contributions) and how the funds will benefit as many different audiences within your community as possible. Most funders wish to see established links with the community or target group, and relationships with other relevant organisations and stakeholders, to demonstrate how you engage with these interest groups when delivering your services.
Managing Grant Funds
For any funding body handing out public funds, how the funding will be managed is a huge concern, so credibility is the cornerstone of your application. The funder will be assessing how your organisation works and how it will manage the monies. Are there clear lines of responsibility drawn up? Do employees have demonstrated abilities in grant acquittal (which is the legal and financial administration of the funds).. Who is driving the project to ensure aims are met? The funder will examine the relevant expertise, skills, qualifications and experience of your executive, directors and anyone else who will be involved. The company’s leadership and the organisation structure will be of interest, as well as governance arrangements across your organisation. To address these issues, you will likely need to research and collect information relevant to your organisation, such as company constitutions, annual reports, strategic plans, previous grant histories (if any).
Applying for a grant is a complex process, but one that becomes easier with practice—and the rewards do justify the effort! But when starting out in the grant-seeking journey, it sometimes helps to obtain guidance from those with experience. Outsourcing to a grant services company is a good way to strengthen your grant application before submission, leading to higher chances of securing the grant. Rather than have write all your grant applications on your behalf, a great grant services company can also help develop your company’s grant writing processes and improve your employees’ grant writing skills.
Grant Applications in Australia
At William Advisory Group, we assist companies and individuals when applying for grants and incentives for business, using our knowledge of the field and the rules to help you access funding for your company. More than simply writing a compelling application document, we understand how funding agencies operate, when funding is being allocated and where, and what evaluators are looking for in a successful application. We’ve amassed a broad range of experience and industry contacts and have written successful grants for companies of all sizes.
Our comprehensive grant support begins with us helping you identify if it’s even the right grant for you, before time and energy is spent on the application process. We may be able to identify if there’s a more suitable grant available for application. As well as assisting with submission preparation and writing, if you have already written an application, we can critique it to ensure you have the best possible chance of winning. Simple tweaks can sometimes make a big difference. For example, we ensure you stay within the word limit, use plain English to facilitate comprehension, achieve the right tone, and submit the application in the correct format, with all the requested attachments, well before the deadline.
To discover the kinds of grants and incentives that are available in Australia, you might like to check out this article from Smart Company, which provides a thorough state-by-state list.
And if you need support in relation to a grant application, please call us on 02 9660 7061 today. Alternatively, you can use our contact page to send us a message.