Applying for Funding? Here’s a Step-By-Step Grant Application Guide A press release pops up in your inbox: a new round of grant funding has just b
Applying for Funding? Here’s a Step-By-Step Grant Application Guide
A press release pops up in your inbox: a new round of grant funding has just been announced. Great! You can finally get to apply for funding. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to make that business idea a reality, get the COVID-19 relief you need to help your business rise and thrive or get that vital community program adequately funded.
You need to submit a grant application that stands out from the rest. But where do you start? You’ve probably done some research on Google to find some answers, but the truth is, writing a winning grant fund application isn’t easy. You must follow the right steps when writing a competitive grant application that gets positive attention from funders.
Even though there are many types of funding opportunities, our guide can help you with all of them. Here is our step by step guide:
Do you want a grant to help you start a new business? Revive a business impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Expand operations or contribute to a business community project? Know what you want and be prepared. That way when a grant funding opportunity comes up, you’re ready with everything you need to apply.
You don’t want to approach the grant writing process without intention and being proactive. You don’t want to be scrambling to meet the funding requirements instead of the needs of your business, community or the people you’re serving.
The truth is, most funders don’t give plenty of time to develop applications. Preparing in advance helps you spend more time crafting the most impactful application. So, let’s get into the HOW to get ready and stay ready!
Check Your Eligibility
If you think you’ve found the right grant, check again. Grant applications often fail because they don’t meet one of the basic requirements laid down by funders. Funders clearly lay out the overall purpose of the grant on their websites or documentation. Look at the purpose of the grant fund and be sure that you fit within that bracket.
Also, check the funding criteria. It will say what type of businesses, organizations, or even nonprofits can apply for the money. There may be restrictions about location, the business’s size, charity status or specific types of business. Take your time to see whether your business meets all the requirements.
Tip: You can contact the funders to share an outline of your proposed idea or project. They are there to hand out the money, so don’t hesitate to inquire about anything. They’ll be happy to tell you if and how your proposed idea would fit their outcomes. Talking to them will ensure you’re on the right track, build a relationship with them, and raises your business or organization’s awareness.
Write the Application With the Reviewer in Mind
To make the reviewer’s job of understanding and scoring your grant application as easy as possible, write your grant application with the reviewer in mind.
Assume that the reviewers know nothing about your business, organization, community, needs, what you do, and how to do it. What you submit in your grant application will be used to evaluate your eligibility.
- If you want the reviewers to know something, explain it in detail
- Eliminate any jargon in your application
- Avoid using acronyms and terminology that is hard to understand
- Explain unique ideas, concepts and terms the first time you use them in your application
Follow the Directions of the Application Process
When you apply for funding you have to do a great job of following the instructions.
You have an application form to complete and a list of instructions. Now it’s your time to follow the directions of the application process. Answer all the questions and attach the documents requested. Following the application guidelines or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) is the most critical step.
Funders assume that if you can’t follow directions when requesting funds, you probably won’t follow the advice given for follow-up. Or they assume you won’t follow the directions for completing reports they may need from you after awarding you the grant.
Take your time to understand what is required and answer all questions as they’re listed.
It Takes Time to Craft a Strong Proposal
Writing a winning grant takes time. There are many tasks to be completed and documents to submit. In addition to that, you may need different people to complete tasks and due dates to complete the tasks. To make the application process easier, get input from others and get a winning grant application cheatsheet and checklist.
Get inputs, edits, and schedule draft reviews from others to get more insights. Ensure you include all the necessary information. Having someone outside your business or organization read the application and provide feedback helps. If you don’t know how to get started or the application process is stressing you out, seek help.
Focus More on Your Strengths and Not Your Needs
To create an application that shows you’re worthy of funding, you must highlight your strengths more than your needs. Tell your story and support it with the right data.
Funders want to hear:
- The story behind your need for funding
- Your impact on the community
- What you plan to change
- Your solutions to challenges, and what makes you different.
Position yourself as a viable business or organization with a worthy idea or cause that is competitive for a grant fund investment.
Why do you need to apply for funding? Display your need for funding by providing precise and convincing information that demonstrates the need for relief to:
- Push that idea
- Get that business running again
- Fund a project.
Involve Those You Serve and Partner With Others
One often overlooked stakeholder in grant applications is the people you serve as a business, organization, or nonprofit.
Get their input to understand what they’re struggling with. As well as why they’re having challenges, and what can be done to help them achieve positive outcomes. Without this information, you may not have the data you need to create solutions.
Partner with other businesses, agencies, or organizations working to solve the root cause of the problems you’re facing or addressing. Collaboration and resource-sharing are vital aspects that funders also look at when reviewing applications.
Demonstrate and Back-Up Your Grant Funding Proposal
When you apply for funding you have to clearly convey the problem that you’re facing with data-backed research. Show how you’ll go about achieving your project’s aims and objectives. Make a compelling case for funding by demonstrating and backing up your:
- Cost-saving measures
- Use of available resources to show that you can make the best out of the grant fund.
Tip: Align your objectives with your activities and your budget. Present a budget that demonstrates sound planning.
Read Other Successful Grants
You can improve your grant writing skills by reading other successful grant proposals. Do some research online and reach out to your network for help too. Read through the grant proposals to find ways to tell your story, identify what makes them strong and discover how you can write a competitive grant application that increases your chances of getting relief funds.
Be Persistent and Be Prepared to Learn
Sometimes, you’ll have your application turned down. Even the most experienced grant writers get rejected, so be persistent in your pursuit of funding. The best way to deal with rejection is to first take a pause. Then read the feedback you receive or request some if it’s not provided, and learn from it. Use your investment in time and energy put into the first grant application to enhance your next application.
Apply for Funding by She Boss UP Micro Grants
If you’re a woman entrepreneur or business owner that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can get relief by applying for the She Boss Up Grant. The She Boss Up COVID-19 Relief Micro Grants are for women-owned businesses in the United States who have experienced challenges due to the pandemic.
Women interested in this grant opportunity can apply by visiting our website annually. She Boss Talk raises the brand awareness of women in business to amplify their impact, influence, and income. Get in touch to learn more.
(The She Boss Up Applications are now closed)
You are looking for other grants to apply to, check out our post 6 Places To Find Grants that Your Probably Didn’t Know About.
Last updated January 21, 2022, at 8:36pm EST.
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This method has definitely helped me land grants (no grant writer needed).