BLOGS

"Grant Applications - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" by GRIN

Jul 15, 2016

"On a number of occasions recently people working in the not-for-profit-sector have told GRIN how demoralised they've felt after a grant application they've invested blood, sweat and tears in has been rejected, often with a cursory note providing few details about why the application has failed.

Given that many individuals in the sector spend long hours working on applications in their spare time or putting aside the 'day job' to construct a strong case for much needed funding, the impact of a poorly presented rejection letter or email can be devastating.

While there are examples of good grant application processes and organisations, there are one or two we recommend agencies only apply to (a) if they can cope with the disappointment of being turned down; and (b) as a last resort.

Under the 'Good' category we'd group Awards for All, any South West Foundation administered grant scheme, while Community Foundations normally give good applicant support and feedback.

Our 'Bad' list includes the first stage application for the BIG Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities programme, which is far too detailed for what should be an outline application phase. BIG could learn from LEADER in this respect, which has a well judged outline application phase, although later stages of the programme are challenging, to say the least. Unsuccessful first stage Reaching Communities applicants often receive very little explanation about why their proposal has been rejected. Sometimes it's merely a token, ineffectual sentence (note: Power to Change has a tendency to behave in a similar way) which helps no one but the funder.

Are there such things as 'Ugly' application forms and processes? Online application forms that you can't save and have to be completed in one sitting should be avoided, unless you've equipped yourself with emergency rations and a sleeping bag, would qualify. Non-structural European funds, such as Creative Europe, are generally for hardened grant applicants, while the later stages of the LEADER process could qualify for both the 'Bad' and 'Ugly' categories."

What do you think? Have you got examples of good, bad or ugly application schemes? We'd love to know. Email info@grin.coop with your comments.

NB The government currently is consulting on the future distribution of BIG Lottery funding, The consultation ends on Friday 12 August. Click HERE for further details.