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Top 5 tips for being grant ready

What does it mean to be grant ready? Is that even a thing?

Each grant is unique, so any grant writer will tell you there is no complete checklist you can fully prepare in advance. However, there are a few concrete steps you can take ahead of time that will prove useful when it comes to preparing and submitting an application for funding. Here are my top 5 tips for getting your business or organisation grant ready:

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1. The big picture: Whether you are a business or a community organisation, the rule of thumb is the same. The funding organisation wants to know that you have a plan, that they are not your only plan, how your project fits into the big picture and how you plan to grow the business. A well-thought-out business plan doesn’t have to be 40-pages long; it just has to be crystal clear. For a community group, this can be your overarching organisational strategy and/or framework – keep it simple. A brief, well-written document detailing your who, what, why, where and when should do it.

2. Do your homework: Don’t wait until the funding round opens and you’re working against the clock to think about your key preparation. What are your key priorities for growth? What do you want funding for? Divide these into different core areas of growth (export, increased volume of manufacturing, marketing, etc.). There may be multiple grants worth pursuing, each of which covers a different core area of business growth. What key resources do you need to achieve this? Cost out major supplies, services or equipment and have these quotes on stand-by – and be sure to tell suppliers why you are requesting a quote.

3. Build your case: Take a step back – look at your plan from the point of view of a funding organisation. Why you? Why this project? Why now? What is your point of difference or comparative advantage? Why should they fund you and not another organisation working in the same sector? Ask yourself: Have I demonstrated a clear need for intervention and explained why my organisation is the best placed to respond?

4. Gather support: Some key questions to ask yourself include: What social, economic or environmental issue will your project address and how? What impact will your project have at community, regional or national level? Which relevant body can you ask to endorse your concept or to provide you with a letter of support? Aim to identify an individual or organisation that has a vested interest in your project going forward, to ensure it is not a token gesture, but is instead a meaningful expression of support. Bear in mind that it may not go down well to ask for these at the last minute. These can easily be gathered well in advance and need not refer to a specific grant application (so they can be re-cycled).

5. Get to know the funding environment: Subscribe to alerts from funding organisations you are interested in whose objectives generally align with your own. Download their guidelines and have a close read through the criteria; this will allow you to get a feel for the type of grants they offer and what is involved, even if you are not yet ready to apply. 

These simple steps will get you well on your way to being grant ready and will save you lots of time when that perfect grant opportunity comes along. Grants are not rocket science, but finding the right grant for you and building an application can be overwhelming. Stay tuned for more tips on grant funding for your business or organisation.

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