Grants are easily the most popular topic we discuss with communities and businesses in our region. After all, a grant can be the difference between a project going ahead or not.
Finding a grant is made a lot easier simply by entering key search words into the Hills & Coast Grant Finder – the one-stop-shop for grants. Currently there are over 960 grants worth over $166 billion available for our region so the search function is a valuable tool.
Once you’ve found potential grants, you need to decide whether you are going to invest resources and time into an application. I recommend you do that, in order, through the following checks.
Alignment occurs when the intent of the grant fund matches your project outcomes. As an example, a particular fund might be focussed on tourism employment but if you’re project aims to target homelessness or build a new factory, you wont have alignment.
Eligibility criteria are preliminary requirements and should be reviewed right up front. There’s no point applying if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria which might include:
- Type of project
- Geographic requirements
- Type of organisation
- What the grant will and won’t fund
- The amount or proportion you are expected to fund
Timing is critical for several reasons. Check the closing date. Is the grant open when your project needs funding? Do you have time to complete a good application? Does the grant require your project to be ready to start and be completed within certain time frames? Many grants require successful projects to be shovel-ready, meaning you have already completed design, council approvals, all required quoting, evidence of your financial contributions etc.
Selection criteria may be outlined in the grant information however you may find additional detail by reviewing the grant application form. You need to check how well your project will meet or exceed each criterion. There can be any manner of criteria, but some common ones include:
- technical feasibility
- financial feasibility
- personnel skills and experience
- how risks are managed
- employment outcomes
- impacts on the economy
Supporting documentation can be extensive. Check the documentation requirements to make sure you’ll be able to provide it all.
Writing a grant application is a sales job. You are competing for funds and have to convince the grant assessors that your project is more deserving than the multitude of others they are reading. Therefore, your application has to:
- Stand out
- Be concise and easy to read
- Meet or exceed all minimum eligibility criteria
- Convey the need for funding
- Offer value for money
If you don’t think you can do that, consider paying a professional grant writer to write your application.
So, there’s our checklist for assessing whether a grant suits your project. Remember, start with the Hills & Coast Grant Finder and if you need assistance at any stage of the process please contact our office.
Hills & Coast Grant Finder: https://rdahc.grantguru.com.au/