This might sound boring and obvious, but investing in thorough project planning sets your organisation up for success when the time comes to apply for grants. Many organisations leap into project planning mode when a grant fund opens. Unfortunately, most of the time this is too late.
Applying for funding (and winning it) can be hard work. And being caught unawares when the grant funding rounds open makes it even more difficult. So how can you improve your chances of securing grant funds? By planning in advance! Project planning that is done well in advance increases your chance of success, makes the process less stressful, and ultimately benefits your project.
What are the advantages of planning early?
Most of them tie into the benefit of having more time – allowing for considered and informed decisions. Time to:
- consider all your options;
- consult with your stakeholders and community;
- talk to other organisations who’ve done something similar and learn from their experiences;
- find the best solution, service providers, and price; and
- understand the real ongoing costs and impacts of the project’s implementation on your organisation.
Most importantly, it gives you time to gather the evidence to demonstrate the need for your project. It will also help your organisation be sure that the project is a smart business decision that won’t leave you with regrets.
What type of project planning should you be doing?
For small community projects, you need at least a basic project plan. It should map out what is involved and how you’ll tackle it, what resources you’ll need, and who’ll be involved. Our Mini Project Planner is great for small community projects where you don’t need (or don’t have the budget for) external assistance. If your project is larger or more complicated, our Project Planning Guide walks you through all the basic components your plan should have, and our Project Planning Template takes you through each section with tips on how to complete them, along with examples of what it should look like.
For more complex projects, we recommend a business case. A business case is an in-depth look at the project that allows your organisation, along with stakeholders and potential funders, to fully understand the costs, benefits and implications of your proposed action. You’ll find that many larger grant funds require you to have a business case in order to apply. Even if it’s not a requirement, having one prepared will make the application process significantly easier, as you will already have identified the key information the funding body will want.
Need help with a business case?
Our team has prepared robust business cases for projects ranging from $1M to $15M that have successfully secured funding. Read more about this here or contact us with any questions about preparing a business case yourself, or with our assistance.