Whether to use a professional Grant Writer or simply look after your own funding application is one of the first questions you will ask of yourself when your organisation decides to enter the world of seeking grant funding. After all, no outside grant writing company could possibly know your organisation as intimately as you, right? True, but there is so much more to consider when it comes to the magic of grant writing and whether being a ‘do it yourself’ Grant Writer will give you the best chance of success.
Let us dig into some of these considerations…
Navigating a Myriad of Grants Available
With over 2000 grants that are usually active in Australia at any given time, there is no shortage to grants on offer for a Grant Writer in Sydney to choose from. Even by using one of the excellent tools that offer filtering tools to Grant Writers to find those grants most applicable for specific project needs, you may still narrow this down to 10–20 options. Now imagine if you only have time and energy to apply for just 2 grants then get refused funding, when there may have been 2 other grants in the list that would have had a higher chance of success. An experienced Grant Writer has a breadth of experience that allows them to narrow down to the grants offering the highest chance of success for your project’s funding requirements.
Interpreting Grant Application Documents
One of the most vital skills of a Grant Writer is to quickly interpret all related grant documentation and guidelines to quickly ascertain eligibility of the organisation for that grant. One slight missed detail such as not having the correct DGR status can make your entire grant writing effort a waste of time and resource if you were never eligible to begin with. Be sure to read all documents over and over and ensure you understand every word, and if you are still unclear, then you may be better off utilising the services of a Grant Writer.
Selling the Dream — Words Matter!
As a Grant Writer, one of the most important things to realise is that the grant funding is rarely intended to benefit ‘just’ your organisation. Those offering grant funding are always interested in the bigger picture, at a community, regional and even state-wide level. Usually there is at least one criteria question asking Grant Writers to address the wider benefits. Not only that, but there are also limits on the number of words or characters that a Grant Writer NT can use for their answer. Translated, this equates to every word having a real dollar impact on your grant writing chances of success. Experienced Grant Writers brings years of experience into answering these criteria in a way that perfectly balances and ‘sells’ the micro and macro benefits to the assessors, which can ultimately affect the success or otherwise of their grant writing activities.
Does the Cost of Failure Outweigh the Cost of Using a Grant Writer?
Every Grant Writer, including those who have been grant writing for decades, will have ‘failures’ in their grant writing endeavours. Usually, the sheer number of applicants and their funding needs will far outweigh the amount of funds on offer for any individual grant. Whilst failure is a great opportunity to gain grant writing experience, the actual cost of a grant failing can have a big impact on your organisation. How will a lack of funding impact your organisation, at an economic, community and functional level? Some grants only become available annually, so consider whether waiting an extra year for a second chance is an issue or not for your organisation. Additionally, the next round may shift to a new focus area of services not offered by your organisation, which will completely lock you out of that grant until it changes back to your offering. Lastly, the funds urgency should be considered as a factor when weighing up the potential for failure. Always consider the true impact of failure and whether you want to limit that risk as much as possible by tapping into the experience of grant writers who have written hundreds of grants.
Going it Alone — Tips for Success
Let us say you want to go it alone and have a go at Grant Writing all by yourself. Here are some simple tips to help you improve your chances of success
· Start Small. Find a small project that is preferably not vital to your organisation to win and dip your toes in to use this as your learning ground. This will get you familiar with the approach, the challenges and whether you enjoy being your own Grant Writer.
· Pick Up the Phone. When you find a grant you are wanting to apply for, look for the details of a ‘Enquiries’ contact from within the fund provider’s organisation. Make the call and discuss your project first as this may save you a whole lot of time, especially if this call identifies that the funding is not designed for your project’s intent. If the grant is relevant, then ask about eligibility and any tips they can give which will enhance your chances of grant writing success.
· Give Yourself Plenty of Time. Do not choose a grant that is closing imminently. Instead, choose a grant that gives you time to explore the criteria questions and research material to support your answers and strengthen your case. A rushed application will usually reflect poor attention to detail and low professionalism. If you want funders to invest in your organisation, you need to show why you are not only worth it, but that you are professional and organised enough to utilise those funds well.