Applying for grants can be both exciting and daunting.
To look at it one way, you may be able to land funding for your project. How often does that happen?
Depending on the purpose of the grant, you’ll be able to use the awarded funds to make an impact on society at large, or in your community, to build and innovate, fill budget gaps, or finish projects.
I know that securing grant funding is far from easy. As a content support partner, we’ve helped a number of grantees prepare their submissions and move to the next stage.
Over the past couple of months, with my team at 360 DigiSales, I’ve had the immense privilege of working alongside the recently announced cohort of Interledger grantees in the Financial CFP.
For myself in particular, it’s been wonderfully educational. Financial inclusion in Africa is a topic that’s near to my heart, and the individuals we worked with were from the same part of the world I come from – near my home country of Uganda.
Through our work with the grantees we got a new perspective on financial inclusion in Africa, and dove deep into their business model, and how they work as teams. In working with the Interledger Foundation, we also learned a lot about what it takes to write a successful grant application.
Preparing your grant proposal for submission comes at significant expense in time, effort, and possible fees (eg. staff pay, consulting) – and, of course, there’s always a possibility that you won’t be awarded anything at all.
You therefore have a key decision to make: should you put in the work and try for the grant?
To help you make an informed decision, our team has put together our top five considerations.
1. Do Your Research
Before you start writing or completing any applications, you should first determine if the grant is a good fit for your agency or organisation. Research the grantor or governing body and their history, and learn about their “why”.
Ask yourself the following:
How long has the grant been around?
Do they have a good track record (i.e. distributing funds as outlined in the grant)?
Does the grant fund projects similar to yours?
Are you able to connect with past awardees to gain insight into the application process?
Are there past grant reports available (such as this one)?
2. Is Your Project Eligible?
Before applying, review and pay close attention to the grant requirements. Keep an eye out for webinars, info sessions, or explainer videos that go over the details. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to the grant administrator(s). Be sure to check the following:
Your purpose - Does your project’s purpose align with the purpose of the chosen grant?
Your business - Oftentimes, grants expect you to be a business with a specific number of employees or staff, or a Limited Company. Does your business meet the requirements?
Your industry - Does the grant award funds to projects in your industry?
Your location - Be mindful of location requirements.
3. Estimate Time and Effort
All grant applications differ, but most are very involved and time consuming. Again, take the time to review the grant requirements. Do you need to gather financial statements, CVs, organisational charts, job descriptions, etc.? What about budget narratives? Does the funder require a purpose statement? How much reporting will be required after funds are awarded? What are the deadlines? Are there restrictions?
Once you have a solid idea of the requirements, try to calculate the number of staff hours that may be necessary to complete the application. Also, consider consultation fees that may arise.
4. Identity of Your Grant Team
It may sound silly, but your grant team could be the determining factor of being awarded the grant. Choose wisely. Choose responsibly.
The people that you have in mind, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and determine if and how they will contribute to the team. Are they self–starters? Are they more technical? Are they great researchers? Are they detail-oriented and thorough?
Lastly, don't be afraid to reach out to grant consultants for help. You may incur a fee, but they may be worth the extra cost for you.
5. Review, Re-read, Review, Re-read, Submit
As your team is compiling the requirements, keep a keen eye out for errors, and missing documents or information, dates, times, and deadlines.
It’s also a good idea to ask others to read and review your overall application. Consider working with a content support partner, such as 360 DigiSales, or otherwise try to get feedback from two or three trusted people outside of your organisation.
Ask for their thoughts and opinions. Ask if they would change anything and why.
After submitting, it’s okay to stay in contact with grant administrator(s). Ask if they have any questions regarding your application, or reach out with your questions.
If there’s just one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: it’s ok to ask for help or advice. Grant applications are hard!
If you’d like any help from us when you write your next grant application, please do reach out.
To stay up-to-date on grant opportunities at the Interledger Foundation, I recommend checking their website periodically, or, better yet, join their community.
Top comments (2)
This is fantastic!
@luboyera thank you for sharing this is very insightful!