How to improve your chances of making a successful grant application

The following item has been sourced from the Volleyball England Foundation website. which has a Grant Finding section on its website.

The Foundation is currently inviting applications from affiliated Volleyball Clubs in England to help develop the sport of ‘Sitting’ or ‘Paralympic’ Volleyball. Grants are available to clubs that want to add Sitting Volleyball to the activities that they offer, with the aim of encouraging young people and those with a disability or recovering from injury to play the game, once clubs can reopen following COVID-19. The deadline for applications is this Friday, 9 July 2021. Further details can be found HERE. A further application round is scheduled for later in 2021.

Here’s the Foundation’s advice on preparing a grant application:

1.Take time to select the funder.

There are numerous funding pots you can apply to. Take time to select the one or two that fit closely to your and their objectives. Just applying because the funding is there is never a successful way of applying for funding. Don’t be afraid to give the funding scheme a ring and talk to them and check that the project you want to find funding for fall within their remit.

2. Make sure you know

o What are their eligible criteria and do you fulfil these?
o What information / insight / research they require with your application?

3. Give the funder what they want

If the funder has a set process for applications, follow it. Make sure you provide every piece of information they ask for. Check that you’ve completed the form correctly before you send it, otherwise it may be returned or rejected.

Don’t waste your time applying for a funding pot where you don’t meet their criteria.

4. Avoid jargon

Keep the language simple so an outsider can understand the issues. Only use jargon if the funder has used the terms themselves.

5.Plan, plan and plan.

Take time to plan what you want to do. Don’t try and include everything in your application, pick one aspect of what you want to do and focus on this.

Look at what the funder has funded in the past, look at other funding scheme for inspiration, talk to others in your organisation providing a range of thoughts and ideas. Make your application interesting, memorable, compelling, remember the people processing the application may see hundreds.

6. Aims and objectives

Have you set out clear objectives with this project?  Why are you doing this, what is the challenge you are taking on, is there a gap or issue you will be solving? Why have you selected this group to work with, this area?  Your application will need to be realistic, measurable and concise, get to the point, don’t waffle. Make sure you are clear about what success will look like? How will you know you have got there? How long will it take to reach your objectives? Break your project down into bite size pieces, step by step.

7. Evidence

Provide evidence / insight to support the reasons for selecting this project. There is a wide range of sources for this information:

(a) Sport England Active Lives and Active Children data
(b) Office of National Statistics –
(c)  Your Active Partnership website (what used to be the County Sports Partnerships)
(d) Your County/District /Town Council or voluntary sector (Councils for Voluntary Services or Rural Community Council) websites.

Explain what impact your project will have, who will benefit? What will be the positive impact on those engaged in your project? What is the benefit to the individual’s health and well being, both physical and mental, community cohesion, economic or social benefit to the local community?

Make sure you retain press clippings, web pages, social media etc that promote the funder if this is part of your agreement.

8. Provide a budget

Make sure your sums add up. The budget should explain how the money will be spent. Include all the relevant costs. If possible show how you determined the costs. Your budget should be realistic and clearly relevant to your activity. Only apply for items that relate to direct delivery of your project. Ensure you keep all receipts and bank statements so you can show the spend once the grant is spent.

9. Who will you be working with?

Will you be working in partnership with another group / organisation? Some funders will be looking at partnership working with other local community groups. Do you need matched funding, will a partner provide this? Will these partners help you to reach a specific target group?

10. Timing.

Give yourself plenty of time to plan and then plan your project to start in 6 months, for example, it often takes several months for funders to decide, don’t apply for something you plan to start in the next few weeks, funders won’t fund retrospectively

11. Get someone else to look at your proposal.

Does your project make sense? Does your evidence substantiate your bid? Get someone to proof read and spell check remember the person reading this doesn’t know you or your group, they will make a judgement about you from your application. Presentation, punctuation and grammar sets the tone, it really does matter.

The full item, including a YouTube video on “Writing Winning Grant Proposals” is available on the Volleyball England Foundation website.