Grant applications take time. Sometimes applications take time even when the amount of money offered is quite small. Many funds have very low success rates. Grant funders often complain that people who apply have not read their guidelines.
You want to make good use of the time and energy you spend on grant applications. This means you need to understand each fund you are interested in. Then you need to pick and choose which applications you go ahead with.
Once you find a fund that you think is a match for your work you must read the information about it carefully. You'll be looking for information that funders label in different ways. Here are some common names:
There are two types of information you need.
This might include:
Never apply to a grant fund if your organisation does not meet these criteria.
This covers information about what the grant fund is trying to achieve. Different funders will express this in different ways.
Sometimes organisations have no subjective criteria or objectives. Or the objectives they do have are so broad it is hard to decide what they want to fund. To find out if it is worth writing an application to them you have to get creative. You can try different steps depending on how much time you have available.
There are several things you should be looking for when you do this research.
Just because an organisation has funded projects similar to yours doesn’t mean it will fund yours. But it is a good indicator that it is worth the time to apply.
If the funder hasn’t given grants to any organisations like yours before, it won’t usually be a good use of time for you to apply. There are two things that could change this.
Sometimes you will still be struggling to decide whether an application is worth your time. Then try to find out more.
Don’t forget that success rates for most non-lottery grant applications are low. Make your chance of success higher by researching the grants you find properly before you submit your application. Only apply if you strongly believe you fit their criteria. Never apply if the fund says ‘no unsolicited applications’ unless they've invited an application from you.
This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 18 November 2020
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