Tender Writing – Councils especially at times can award tenders irrespective of the merits of the tender response

Tags

, , , , ,

In this day of the 24/7 news cycle, with the focus on transparency, value for money and budget deficits most Government or Council entities are very very careful when it comes to assessing tenders and in awarding tenders to the business with the best tender response when considering all of the tender requirements. Skilled tender writers will prepare responses which are high quality and address all requirements and where in the tender writing process that they give due consideration to their pricing regime. I have also stated many many times that price is a very very important consideration for Council/Government entities and in the main is probably the most important criteria in the majority of tenders. Continue reading

Grant Writing – What are the determining factors in applying for a grant?

Tags

There are many factors which determine if you should be applying for a grant and if your grant writer should spend time on crafting a great submission. Grant writing is far more than filling out an application and explaining why you need that funding. The outstanding grant writer will adopt a very strategic and thorough approach and will not just apply for everything on a whim. Following is a list of issues to consider when applying for grants.

Grant_Writing (1)

  • Organisational Eligibility

All grants have eligibility criteria relating to the type of organisation Grants might be restricted to a business, an incorporated non profit, an organisation with DGR/PBI status for example. So before applying the grant writer will ensure that the organisation as an entity is eligible to apply for this grant.

  • Location Restrictions

Grants at times can be only available to organisations within a set geographic location or a project being delivered within a specific geographic location. Again the grant writer needs to make sure that the organisation and project is eligible.

  • Closing Date

The closing date for applications might be a consideration in applying because if you don’t have the time to craft a quality response then it is a waste of time applying.

  • Project Completion Date

The required completion date of your project also might impact on whether the grant writer should write an application or not. If your project wont be completed within the required completion date then again obviously you would not apply.

  • Included/Excluded Expenditure

The grant writer must also consider what the grant will fund – what will it not fund – this is generally identified as excluded or included expenditure. For instance a grant program might exclude salary or wages or normal operational expenditure from inclusion in the grant request. This is actually the normality rather than the exception. Normally funding is available for equipment, facility upgrades, funding for program development/delivery but not for “people”.

  • Project Management Experience

Generally for projects that involve construction or infrastructure redevelopment work the funding body will want to be certain that the organisation has the project management experience to effectively manage this project and deliver the project on time and within budget. If the organisation does not have this experience within the organisation or externally say with the building contractor then the organisation should seriously consider not applying.

  • Reporting Requirements

Sometimes the reporting and acquittal requirements are so extensive that an organisation may decide not to apply due to this fact alone.

  • Grant Amount

This is a critical consideration – if the funding program will only fund up to a certain amount let’s say $20k and your organisation needs to purchase a ride–on lawnmower worth $50k and you have no capacity to access the other $30k from another funding program, from donations/sponsorships or your own operational account – again it is a waste of time applying. You might however have another project that is more suitable and as such you should consider applying for funding for that project.

Overall there are many many considerations organisations need to assess before madly rushing out and having their grant writer madly complete a grant submission. Again as we have stated many times, grant writing is far more than writing the grant – there are specific strategies and techniques involved and that is the reason we are highly successful in this field.

Grant Writing – Case Study 7

Tags

,

This is Case Study 7 in our tranche of articles which give tips into the grant writing world and the skills and techniques used by our grant writers. In this article we will discuss the Bowen Golf Club and their need to irrigate some of their fairways.

The club had installed a dam to capture and treat their sewerage effluent water and had installed an irrigation system to irrigate some of the course. The irrigation of some of the course had resulted in greener fairways where the irrigation system had been installed and this had resulted in far better playing conditions and more members joining and more competitions being played. A number of fairways however were not irrigated and with the Qld heat and the drought these fairways were in less than ideal condition. Continue reading

Grant Writing – Case Study 6

Tags

This is Case Study 6 in our series of grant writing articles. In this instalment we will look at the Bulimba Bowls Club and their efforts to get major repairs to their roof funded. An inexperienced grant writer would try and find a funding program which will fund the entire repair works which was in the vicinity of $100k. At Red Tape Busters we realise that grant writing opportunities in the vicinity of $100k are few and far between. So our skilled grant writer set about identifying if we could break the project down into smaller sub projects and then find two or more grants that will be viable to fund the entire project over time.

grant-writing

In the first instance we asked the Club to work with their proposed roof repair contractor to see if the project could in fact be split into sub projects. The contractor agreed that we could split the project up into two smaller projects – and if funding was achieved the club could undertake the repairs in stages. First we identified a smaller program where we believed we were a good chance of winning $35k for the club and then another funding opportunity we believed was very viable to fund the rest.

The strategy of our grant writer was to win the smaller funding first and this would demonstrate that the roof repair work was well underway and then apply for the larger funding. In this way we were chasing funding contributions from different programs thus splitting the request over more than one program and fund managers love seeing other programs contributing funding to a project so that there are co-contributions. Also one program was a State Government program and the other a local Council funding program and as such this was a perfect strategy given funding was being asked for from different levels of Government and again our grant writer correctly identified this would help in realising funding from both tiers of Government.

Our grant writer prepared the initial application for the $35k which was successful. They then prepared the second application and could show that the club already had $35k towards the project and that the project had actually commenced. This gave the Council fund manager confidence that the project could be completed in full. Our grant writer prepared another compelling case and as a result the remaining funding of around $50k was granted.

Grant writing for most organisations is an afterthought sadly. They place no emphasis on the process or the skills required. Grant writing is not a science but it is a skill that is very very hard to learn and for grant writers to realise that there is more to grant writing than just applying for the very first opportunity around or trying to fund larger projects via one funding opportunity. We try and maximise the chances of our clients and we are very very strategic in how we approach our task. Our results over 17 years prove we have the grant writing skills and the strategies needed to win our clients funding.

Contact us at Red Tape Busters – http://www.redtapebusters.com/ should you require more information about this article or if you require specialist grant or tender writing experience to help your organisation or business win grant funding or achieve successes with tenders.

Grant Writing – Case Study 5

Tags

This is Case Study 5 in our series of grant writing articles highlighting different cases and strategies we at Red Tape Busters have worked on since we commenced business in 2000. This article will focus on how to create some “selling” points when preparing a grant application for a rural based organisation. The skilled grant writer will be able to easily “sell” the project and the need for funding if the organisation is based in a rural or remote area. Rarely if ever are we unsuccessful with a grant submission for a rural or remote organisation.

grantwriting

With this particular organisation they were seeking funding for a youth based training and skills development program. Given most of the youth had left town over the years and the general population numbers were dwindling the organisation felt they did not really have a sound case to pursue funding. Our skilled grant writer however initially worked with the client on their project and worked hard to identify what sorts of training and skills development did the local young people need. To identify this we developed a survey which was sent to all of the people in town seeking their views and input. We then discussed the matter with local community organisations especially those already in some way assisting youth in the region. We then canvassed the local Council and relevant State Government Departments seeking their input.

After an extensive consultation process we identified that the main area for jobs in and around the area was in customer services so we developed a project to train and skill the young people in delivering outstanding customer service and in being able to work in a shop, be part of a team and accept money, use a register and acquit money at the end of the day. We then discussed the project with a number of businesses and gained their support to employ the young people once they completed the training IF funding was provided. We ensured we obtained letters of support from each business.

We then identified the perfect funding program to pursue and our grant writer then set about creating an amazing grant writing story which identified why young people were leaving town, identifying the findings of our research and consultation, detailing the impacts of the drought in the area – the economic impacts, the mental impacts and the massive social impacts and then identified how this project supported the focus of the funding program AND how this project would benefit the young people AND the community. Further we reinforced that employers would employ these young people if they had the right skills and attitude to work hard and deliver outstanding service to their clients. Many businesses did not in fact have a vacancy but came on board because they could see this project was vital to the survival of the community.

Through the fantastic efforts of our grant writer, we were successful in winning $75k in funding for this great project. Another outstanding grant writing success by the team at Red Tape Busters.

Contact us at Red Tape Busters should you require more information about this article or if you require specialist grant or tender writing experience to help your organisation or business win grant funding or achieve successes with tenders.

We are specialists in providing the following services :-

  • Lobbying
  • Tender Writing
  • Grant Writing
  • Resumes/Job Applications
  • Organisational/Business Development.

Please also “friend” or “like” us on Facebook – RedTapeBustersShaneBowering, follow us on Twitter – Red Tape Busters or check us out on YouTube just search for Red Tape Busters.

Grant Writing – Case Study 3

Tags

,

In our series of grant writing case studies – this is the third installment. Again in this article will showcase the skills of our grant writers and give readers tips on how to improve their grant writing chances.

Grant Writer

We were approached in this instance by a club in a rural area affected by drought which was seeking funding to restump their community hall. The project was going to cost $50000 and the club needed assistance in finding appropriate funding programs which would fund a $50k project. At Red Tape Busters we are very strategic in our approach to the grant writing task. So initially we worked with the client on their project to identify if there was any way of breaking the project up into smaller components in case there were no $50k funding opportunities around given the higher the funding amount needed – the less funding opportunities that exist.

In working with the client we identified that there is not much scope to re stump a hall in different stages given that the entire hall needed to be completely re stumped at the same time given the extra costs of splitting the project and re stumping part now and part later and also the fact that the hall was in fact dangerous with the stumps in the condition they were in and essentially unusable. In pondering on the project our Grant Writer Melbourne identified the possibility of splitting the project in two stages – the first stage being to dig the holes for the new stumps and remove the old stumps and prepare the hall to await the new stumps and the second stage of the project could encompass the purchase of the new stumps and the erection of the new stumps under the hall – thus completing the project.

As such we were able to split the project into two grant writing tasks – the first stage needed a $15k funding grant and the second stage required $35k to complete. In order to identify what funding was currently available our Grant Writer Melbourne undertook extensive research to identify current available funding programs. Two prospects were available – one through the local Council which related to community infrastructure projects with a maximum funding amount of $20k, the second prospect was available through the Department of Sport and Rec and given this was a sporting club this was an ideal program with a maximum of $50k available. We could have maybe applied for the entire $50k from the Department of Sport and Rec however our view is that the closer your project is to the maximum amount – the less chance you have of success. So we decided to pitch two different submissions to the two different programs.

While this was slightly more costly to our client given we were now preparing two submissions instead of one – we were convinced that the prospects of grant writing success were substantially increased. Our Grant Writer Melbourne prepared the two applications which were both successful. The club was successful in receiving the full $50k all because our grant writer was highly skilled and understood fully the strategies involved in the grant writing process and in implementing a cost effective grant writing approach.

Tender Writing – Case Study 1

Tags

,

tender-writing

Tender writing is not just about filling out a form and a pricing spreadsheet. Inexperienced tender writers will not put much thought into what is required to prepare a great tender response whereas the experienced tender writer will understand that having a strategy and game plan is as important as having a great price to offer. So what sorts of strategies can you put in place to maximise your chances with a tender? In this article I relay a real case study of a tender we prepared for a client and the tactics we put in place to be successful.

In this situation our client, a non profit organisation on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, became aware of a tender opportunity relating to the provision of housing/accommodation for people with disabilities. At that stage my client had no thoughts about delivering accommodation services and was primarily solely a provider of support services for those with a disability in the local area of Nambour. This posed a tremendous issue in my mind given the client had no real experience in building purpose built accommodation for people with a disability nor in managing such a facility. I was concerned that given the tender was open to commercial and non profit entities that developers in the area would have more extensive budgets and maybe more experience in constructing accommodation facilities while probably lacking in experience in the disability space.

My client was keen to develop a proposal where they proposed a plan to build accommodation for those with a physical disability, however they did not have any land on which to build the facility so essentially were working from scratch. Through my extensive grant and tender writing experience I immediately identified the need for the client to have an appropriate parcel of land which they could at worst show was able to be quickly acquired on which to build the accommodation facility. I encouraged the client to make overtures to a few residents in an area close to their existing service hub and offer each resident a price in excess of market value and get in principal agreement from the residents to sell their properties should the client win the tender.

This was achieved surprisingly very quickly with written in principal agreements being received. This “proved” that the client had the land to build on. I then strongly suggested to the client that they should build purpose built accommodation for those with a mental and physical disability or health issue as opposed to purely physical disabilities. I undertook research to prove that mental illness is a significant issue in those who are homeless and was able to garner some significant and impressive statistics supporting this contention. I then undertook research to identify how accommodation could be built to meet the needs of people with a physical disability and/or those with a mental illness. The client then took this research and was able to get an architect to draw up some plans which depicted the style of building and how different units in the complex would be constructed differently built to meet the specific needs of the proposed residents.

I was also able to get the client to have graphic designs included giving the reader a real insight into how the rooms might actually “look”. To me this would give us a unique chance at winning the tender by enabling the reader to visualise how the facility would look and feel while also pitching that the accommodation would encompass the needs of all people with a disability – physical and mental. I was convinced that our competitors for the tender would only just develop a proposal for those with a physical disability.

The last hurdle I believed was that the client had no real experience in proving they could manage an accommodation facility once built. To overcome this I encouraged the client to find an experienced manager of such facilities and offer them the position of manager should the tender be successful and again get in principal written confirmation that this person would join the team. Again the client was able to find someone highly experienced in this area.

We then prepared a comprehensive response we believed which would at least give us a chance at getting through Stage 1 given this was a two stage process. We were amazed to find that we were offered $4.9 million after the review of all applications in the first stage and we were told our submission was so outstanding that they were not going to stage 2 – our proposal was that good.

This success was completely a result of our strategic approach in identifying our weaknesses and addressing those but also ensuring our proposal was very very different to our competitors.

The skilled tender writer will have a strategy – they will have a plan and they will maximise their chances in the tender writing process.

Our skills are not just in our abilities to write great tenders but also to come up with the strategies and pitch to stand our client apart. Tender writing is far far more than just filling out a form!

Grant Writing – Case Study 1

Tags

,

Grant Writer

Grant writing can be a complex process which is not just about writing a grant. The experienced and skilled grant writer will do far more than just write a grant. The grant writer who is worth their weight in gold will write a great grant submission. Quality grant writers will also assist the organisation to develop the best project concept, they will identify the best possible funding opportunity which will be relevant to the project requiring funding and then yes they will prepare a fantastic grant submission. At Red Tape Busters we are continually challenged by difficult projects and asked to chase funding for that project.

In one such situation I was approached by a rural Golf Club seeking funding to pay for a new financial management accounting software system. Their old system was outdated and they needed to upgrade to keep pace with technology and software changes. Now generally financial management software and such an upgrade of a system would be deemed as an operational need and an operational expenditure and therefore would not be a fundable item. So the request posed some significant problems in being able to win funding.

Initially I decided to assess the project and identify if I could change the project from the purchase of financial management software to a broader project which was significantly more attractive to potential funders. I pondered on their requirement and also pondered on the club – what it did, what regional area the club was located in, pondered on the issues which might be affecting that area and the people that lived there and also pondered on what project would be really attractive to funders which might address the needs of the club and also the local area.

The project I came up with was to essentially have the financial management software as an “after thought” and a by-product or requirement of the bigger project. I suggested to the club that we implement a project where the club would partner with the local TAFE and work closely with the students from the Business Administration course. The club could offer the TAFE and the students work experience in the club while studying/completing their studies and learn how to use the cash registers and learn the financial management system. Once the students had finished their course and undertaken work experience with the club, the club would arrange potential jobs with key employers across the region – businesses and organisations who had links with the club or whose members were key personnel within those organisations or businesses. In this way the project was focused on addressing youth unemployment in the area, giving them on the job experience to support their studies and then working with potential employers to get these young people a job.

The only requirement the club had was to find a funder who would fund the upgraded software and system seeing this would be integral to the training. Effectively the project had changed from a plain issue of being standard operational expenditure required to fund the purchase of financial management software to an employment program addressing the chronic unemployment issues for local youth in a drought affected area. A much more exciting and fundable project. We then identified the best program to pursue and with our quality grant writers prepare a great submission. The result being that the club received $35k to purchase the software and system purely as a result of our strategic grant writing processes.

Contact us at Red Tape Busters – http://www.redtapebusters.com/ should you require more information about this article or if you require specialist grant or tender writing experience to help your organisation or business win grant funding or achieve successes with tenders.

We are specialists in providing the following services:-

  • Lobbying
  • Tender Writing
  • Grant Writing
  • Resumes/Job Applications
  • Organisational/Business Development.

Grant Writing – 5 Things Not to Say in Grant Applications

Tags

,

You can make some major mistakes when grant writing but the experienced grant writer will avoid major blunders, We all at times make a mistake – we are all human but the mistakes I am just about to discuss need to be avoided at all costs in your grant writing.

Many inexperienced grant writers seem to be focused on honesty and being totally upfront in your grant applications. Grant writers can’t outright lie in an application but the quality grant writer will be careful about what they say in an application and how they say it. You can massage and infer something in an application to present the best possible case scenario as opposed to downplaying your prospects. However be reasonable in your claims but it is better to slightly oversell than undersell in my opinion. Your grant application is your chance to “sell” your organisation, project and the need for funding – very few in the “sales world” survive by underselling!

On a similar theme to the first point it is vital that you do not outline in your application any negative things about your organisation, project, abilities etc. It is hard enough winning funding at the best of times but to highlight negative issues in your application generally will adversely compromise your chances of success.

Some organisations suggest in an application that the organisation is reliant on this funding for survival. This is a totally flawed strategy and will come across as desperate while also suggesting that the organisation is instable, financially unviable and on its knees. Never ever ever suggest that the funding is needed to survive. The one time you might portray such a position is IF funding is being made available to sustain struggling organisations, Such funding is very very rare but I have seen such a program being made available once in Queensland and if your organisation wasn’t struggling and in financial trouble then you missed out on the funding.

Grant writer worth their salt will ensure they are always positive in their grant writing and instead of could, should, might will use positive statements like will, would, can. Positive action statements create a positive impression of your organisation and also infer that your organisation will deliver what you say and that you will spend the money granted exactly how it is supposed to be spent. Negativity in a grant application is to be avoided at all costs.

Don’t use industry buzz words in your grant applications. Some members of the assessment panel might well have no idea about your industry or what programs you are delivering to whom. Never take it for granted that those reading your application have any indepth understanding of what you do. Clearly outline in plain English what your organisation and project is all about and how this funding will realise significant outcomes which link to the outcomes intended by the funding program.

The successful grant writers will avoid these mistakes. Grant writing is not impossible – it is challenging but with some practice, some patience and by following these tips you will increase your chances of success in the grant writing world.

Contact us at Red Tape Busters – http://www.redtapebusters.com/ should you require more information about this article or if you require specialist grant or tender writing experience to help your organisation or business win grant funding or achieve successes with tenders.

We are specialists in providing the following services:-

  • Lobbying
  • Tender Writing
  • Grant Writing
  • Resumes/Job Applications
  • Organisational/Business Development.