Grant writing – the importance of being organised

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Time and time again our grant writers are reminded of the need for our clients to be organised in order to provide us with the best possible assistance during the grant writing process. We are highly successful grant writers as can be identified by both our successes and the client testimonials on our website and we have processes in place which ensure we prepare high quality documents but the number of clients who are simply unprepared to either write a grant submission if they were doing it themselves or in our case assist our Consultants during the grant writing process is amazing.

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Grant Writing – Is the selection process generally above board?

This might be a strange topic to write about in the grant writing world – are grant submissions all considered fairly and equally and if not – why not? Experienced grant writers I think would generally all agree that the selection and evaluation process at times is not what it seems – especially in the Government and Council sectors. When discussing with our grant writing clients I am always upfront in that I cannot promise any outcome except that our grant writers will produce great documents that will wow our clients and if anyone independent was to assess our submission – they would think it was outstanding. That in essence is as much as we can do because from there it is in the lap of the gods. Continue reading

Grant Writing – Should I apply for the maximum amount available?

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Grant funding program guidelines generally have a maximum funding limit available and many grant writers seem to believe that if there is a maximum sealing on what you can apply for that you should apply for that maximum amount. In this article I would like to discuss this view and for grant writers to really assess this as an integral part of the grant writing process. Grant writing as I have said many times before really is a very strategic process – well it is strategic for skilled grant writers – not so much for inexperienced grant writers! And as such the amount of funding you are applying for needs to be factored into the grant writing process and considered in the risk assessment process in putting your absolute best case forward for consideration.

Maximum and minimum funding limits are set by the program managers in order to constrain the scope of projects and generally the maximum limits are factored in as part of the overall total amount of funding being made available. Therefore they are put in place as part of the funding guidelines for very specific reasons. Most grant writers seem to be attracted to the maximum limits like a moth to a light or like the allure of poker machines where players always think they just might win the big payout.

Our Consultants at Red Tape Busters are very very careful about applying for maximum amounts in the grant writing process. We have very real reasons and strategies behind this but the main consideration relates to the fact that the more organisations that apply for and are successful with winning the maximum funding amount – the less number of organisations in total will then be awarded funding. Funding programs and program managers generally like to spread the available funds around to as many organisations as possible. Therefore I believe that if you are applying for the maximum amount – the less likely you are to be successful. As professional grant writers we need to maximise our client’s chances of success and if we believe that a funding program/fund manager with a $1000000 funding pool available and a maximum funding limit of $200000 will want to allocate more than 5 successful grants of $200000 each which in general they surely will – then there really is little rationale for applying for the maximum amount. I always have a favourite saying – the closer you are to applying for the maximum funding amount – the less chance you have of success. The further you get away from the maximum funding limit – the better chance of success.

There are circumstances where applying for the maximum amount might be warranted but they are few and far between but yes there are circumstances where we will apply for the maximum amount. These instances generally are constrained to really really really good projects where the project is outstanding and fits the program guidelines perfectly, where the project cannot be completed with anything less than the full amount and where partially funding the project is untenable or where you are applying for a project or an item or piece of equipment which can’t be split up into “sub projects” and where the cost is equal to or close to the maximum amount. In those rare instances you might have to apply for the maximum funding amount. Also program managers generally and I say generally have an affinity with supporting rural based organisations or organisations suffering disadvantage over urban based organisations or organisations who are more “affluent”. In those situations severely disadvantaged organisations or those suffering from drought, socio economic issues etc might well get a project funded to the maximum funding limit. Again though be careful – the closer you get to apply for the maximum – the less chance of success. It really is that simple.

The skilled grant writer will give their client or project the very best chance of success in the grant writing process and our view is to apply for little and often instead of applying for maximum money. You will be far more successful with our strategy that is for sure.

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.

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

 

Grant Writing – Issues that will count against you in the assessment process?

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Many grant writers think that the grant writing process is pretty easy and you just fill out an application form and tell a sad tale of how badly your organisation needs the money and low and behold – funding is provided. Grant writing as I have said many many times before really needs a strategic approach in order to maximise the chances of success. In progressing your submission you really need to be aware of issues that will count against you when the assessment panel sit down to wade through the zillion applications because virtually with every grant program – you will have significant competition to win that funding. These following pointers will certainly discount your application from further consideration: Continue reading

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

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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?

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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.

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  • 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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.