Four steps to get a grant.
If you are the owner or manager of a company or run a social business (public and charitable organizations), then you well understand that receiving a grant is a great help, and sometimes even the only way to achieve a certain goal. Such a goal can be obtaining funds for operating expenses, for the implementation of a new project, for expanding the company’s activities, for holding an event, etc.
Even if you already have the experience of receiving grants from various sources and their implementation, the human factor can always become an obstacle. Subject to an honest and transparent assessment, correct drafting and design of the project and other positive factors, the grantor organization may have several factors that will stand in the way of you receiving the grant.
Grant writing often covers a wide and deep spectrum of funding opportunities. Each grant in each sector can have wildly different requirements. According to the information posted on the website Instrumentl.com, here are some statistical indicators regarding the receipt of grants:
- The average grant writing success rate is lower than you might imagine. According to some data, it is known that only about 1 out of 10 applications for grants are accepted, that is, the success rate of obtaining a grant is equal to 10%. At the same time, according to information ilovemyresults.com, in some spheres of activity, for example, in innovations for small business, or research activities, the success rate of obtaining a grant reaches 15-20%.
- The three main challenges to finding grants were: lack of time and/or staff; competition; difficulties in finding opportunities to receive grants.
- There are more than 86,000 grant-making organizations, of which 92% are independent foundations.
How to increase the probability of receiving a grant? We offer a vision that has four steps and is based on our 30 years of experience in receiving and implementing grants, as well as on 3 years of experience in creating and implementing grant programs in international donor projects.
Step 1: Find the right grant program.
Among the many grant programs, it is very important to choose the one whose goals and objectives coincide with the activities of your organization or company. For example, if your foundation works in the field of education, you should not apply for a health care grant.
Another example. You are engaged in the production of food products and have planned that the funds after receiving the grant will go to expand production, and the grant program has the following goals: increasing the volume of export of products or services, training for middle-level personnel and the introduction of alternative power sources in production. In this case, you will have to forget about your goal and develop a project specifically for the grant program, namely, the creation of a marketing strategy for exporting products plus useful trainings for personnel. And believe me, expenses specifically for the purpose of increasing exports and training will bring a lot of benefit to your company.
One more detail. Even if you only have an idea, it can be easily turned into a project that will then receive a grant. About this – in the next step.
Conclusion: the first step should be to correctly find a grant program and your idea (project), which contains activities that coincide with the goals and objectives of this grant program.
Step 2. Create the right project.
A project is a set of actions aimed at achieving clearly and concretely formulated goals within certain time and budget frameworks. It is also a logically and chronologically coordinated set of coordinated actions, the implementation of which leads to the achievement of a certain goal within a set time, with the involvement of certain human, material and financial resources. Project management will be discussed in more detail in a separate article.
In addition to the description of the project activity, the enterprise (organization) and, if necessary, the marketing strategy, the grant application contains two important points: indicators (performance indicators) and the budget. Grant-giving organizations have separate divisions that are engaged in the preparation, implementation and management of grant programs. These divisions have specialists in M&E (monitoring and evaluation) and budgeting. It is very important that the indicators are correctly displayed in your project, and budgeting often borders on real art. There are certain criteria and proportions, according to which it is determined whether the budget is drawn up correctly and indicators are created. For example, sometimes, if the expenses for the salary fund in your project exceed 20-25% of the total amount of the grant, specialists in the grant-giving organization will determine this project as inappropriate.
Not very often, but sometimes, a grant application also requires drawing up a business plan or business model, conducting a SWOT analysis, creating a cash flow, etc. In this case, you will need to show not only the expenditure part of the budget, but also the projected level of profit for 3-10 years. This work also requires a lot of concentration and attention. Usually, in such cases it is better to turn to specialists who have experience in planning and budgeting.
Conclusion: be very careful about such points of your project as performance indicators and budget. Their correct submission will greatly increase the probability of receiving a grant.
Step 3. Submit and manage the project correctly.
After you create a grant application, it is necessary to correctly prepare the documentation and submit the application. You need to have all the confirmation that your company (organization) is officially registered according to the legislation of Ukraine and has bank accounts in hryvnia and foreign currency. Grant-givers also often ask to fill out several more forms or agreements, for example, regarding the use of data about your company (organization), etc. Sometimes there may be a requirement to provide resumes of project participants and other additional information.
If you are applying to participate in a competition held by a grant provider from the US, you will need to register in the SAM.gov system. This is a rather complicated procedure that consists of several stages. Moreover, there is a possibility that you will be denied registration in the SAM.gov system if one or more of the documents you submit do not meet certain criteria.
Finally, you have collected all the documents, created a cool grant application and are ready to submit it. Some grant providers ask to send the application and attachments by e-mail. Most often, grant providers provide the opportunity to fill out a grant application online on their website. Please note that sometimes you may be asked to send all documents in one file in PDF format.
If your project is approved for a grant, you sign an agreement that must specify the terms, conditions and other requirements for the implementation of your project. Usually, financing is not provided immediately in full, but is divided into certain stages. At the same time, in fact, financing can take place after you provide evidence of the implementation of each of the stages of the project. You should very actively cooperate with the departments of the donor organization, such as Monitoring and Evaluation, Finance and others. Often, the last tranche is provided only after the successful completion of the project and correct reporting during the grant period.
Conclusion: as you can see, winning a grant competition is only half the battle. You may have to involve additional human resources for project implementation and correct reporting during its grant component.
Step 4. Contact the professionals.
If you have a desire to receive grant funds and implement your project, but do not have time, experience or other resources, it is best to turn to professionals. Our team consists of the most experienced specialists in the field of writing and evaluating grant applications who have worked in foreign grant-giving organizations. We also have excellent experience in outsourcing projects that have received grant funds. Our turnkey work increases the probability of receiving a grant by 20-30% and 100% guarantees the successful implementation of the project and the closing of grant funding.