Back in the day, when I was assessing grant applications rather than writing them for our clients, I often saw applications that devoted too much time to things the assessors didn’t care that much about.
Grants typically pay for inputs. That might be wages, equipment, consumables, construction material or services.
Those inputs allow organisations to deliver outputs. Perhaps it’s a youth program, financial counselling, or a sports complex.
And those outputs lead to project outcomes (short, medium and long term). Think reduced truancy rates, families reducing debt levels, or improved community health.
Emphasise project outcomes
When applicants are preparing their proposal, a lot of time goes into working out the inputs and outputs. And they are important – you need to get them right. But applications often focus on these aspects because the applicants feel that these things are ‘what the money is for’. I’d be able to pay for a nice mini-break if I had a dollar for every grant I’d assessed that talked in-depth about the computers they were going to buy, the craft activity they were going to run or details of the exercise program, but forgot to give the same level of detail about the problem they were addressing or the outcomes their project was going to deliver.
In reality, what most grant funders want to know about are your anticipated project outcomes. Articulating the difference your project will make is key.
Tell your story
When we work with clients on their application, first we check they have a robust project plan where the inputs and outputs are clearly defined. This helps set the organisation up for success.
But our key work is helping clients tell the story of their project and the outcomes they are working towards.
Our insider tip is to ask yourself, ‘Does the proposal truly communicate the value our project will deliver, or have we focused on the mechanics of the project?’ We’re not saying forget about the details, as they are always important. But creating a compelling case for the impact of your project is what will make your application stand out from the pack.
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