Tips for Preparing to Write a Great Grant Application
Another small business grant is on the near-horizon! The Small Business – Business Boost Grant (expected to be similar to the Business Basics Grant) is launching late in July, with the exact date applications open yet to be revealed.
It’s expected to be a first-come-first-served basis with the Business Boost Grant. The Business Basics Grant was opened and closed within a matter of hours, and applicants scrambled to get their details lodged in time. Applying for grants can be an intimidating and stressful process, even without such a tight timeframe.
The key for getting your application in before spots fill up is to get everything you might need ready well-beforehand. That means strategies, plans, budgets, supporting documents, and all the rest. So, we’ve put together an article full of tips to help you do just that!
(These tips apply for any grant submission, not just the Business Boost Grant!)
Perfect the Elevator Pitch
Every grant application will require a brief description of your business and what it does, otherwise known as your Elevator Pitch. The pitch will likely be one of the first things the people reviewing your application will read. It’s your first chance to make a stellar impression on the reviewer.
The pitch should describe the who, what, and why of your business. Keep it precise. A short, descriptive paragraph is perfect.
Example: Brokat Studio is a digital marketing agency that works with businesses of all sizes to increase their marketing efforts and digital presence. It is our mission to see our clients flourish and find success.
You can include a brief summary of why you are applying for the grant and what it will help you accomplish.
Note that some grants require a full cover letter, where you can go into more detail about your business or organisation. A snappy elevator pitch is still something to lead with, though, and is always handy to have memorised!
Get Your Documents Ready
Supporting documents are something to get prepared ahead of time whenever possible. Depending on the grant, these documents could be letters of support, a detailed budget, or a quote from another party.
Essentially, you’re providing evidence that your business is deserving of the funds, and will leverage the funds to their fullest potential and have already begun preparations for doing so. These documents can also be evidence supporting your plans for the funding, such as if you were to use the grant to cover your operating expenses.
Two documents the Business Basics Grant asked for were quotes or invoices relevant to your plans for the grant, should the application be successful. An example of this is a quote supplied by a marketing agency (like us!) detailing the costs of a digital marketing campaign designed to increase your audience engagement.
Get these documents prepared well in advance. Doing so will help avoid a small mountain of stress as the application deadline looms close.
(If you need a quote from a marketing agency, contact us!)
Develop A Plan
Determine what you will use the funds for ahead of time and create a plan of action. Identify a strategy, if needed, and create a budget for the funds – even a basic one will do.
The more detailed you are with your budget, the better, especially if you’re applying for larger grants. A budget demonstrates that you won’t let these funds go to waste, that you’re well-organised, and that your business is worth the investment.
Example: Funds will be equally divided between covering operating costs and upgrading our business’s hardware and software, enabling us to divert more resources to expanding our service offering, which will further establish us as a leading provider of digital marketing in our target area.
Grants designed to fund specific actions will have reviewers analysing these sections very closely. Take a close look at the eligibility criteria to ensure your plan for the funds is appropriate.
The people reviewing your application will likely be looking at hundreds of similar ones. A detailed plan of action for the grant shows your commitment to your business and will help your application stand out.
Identify Problems, Provide Solutions
Ahead of time, define why your business needs the grant and how said funds would help you solve that problem. Having a solution prepared shows forethought and that you’ve planned how to deploy the funds. The plan of action mentioned in the previous section should be closely tied to the problems and solutions you identify.
Example: Your operating costs are high and don’t leave enough funds left over for upgrading equipment. The grant will provide those extra funds, allowing you to source better equipment that increases your business’s ability to provide services. It may even allow you to provide new services.
Getting this information together early makes the actual application process a fair bit smoother, especially if it is a questionnaire style form with mini-essay answers. In your application, concisely identify the problem and how the grant will fund the solution.
Keep Things Realistic
Grand ideas are all well and good, but most grant application reviewers are looking for realistic, achievable goals.
Keep your application realistic and tied to what the grant will help you attain.
Being proactive with grant applications is always a good idea. Keep up to date with what’s available and, most importantly, when it’s available to stay ahead of schedule. Last-minute applications open up room for errors, which could hurt the success of your application, especially if you need to source supporting documents from third parties.
For instance, the Business Boost Grant applications open in late July! Get everything you can ready now, and you’ll be better prepared for the quick application process.
Stay apprised of the Business Boost Grant, and other similar grants, here!
Keep It Clear
One thing that the people reviewing your application will appreciate, perhaps more than anything, is a well-written and clear application.
Be concise where you can, avoid cluttering your sentences with high-level industry terms, and, overall, be honest. The people reading your application know what they’re looking for; making those details upfront and clear will be a point in your favour.
Setting your application apart from all the others can appear difficult when your business itself isn’t, for example, something typically thought of as exciting. Not everyone can be a rocket scientist.
What will make you stand out is your passion for your business.
Passion makes all the difference. It infuses your application with vibrancy and enthusiasm. The purpose of a grant application is to convince the reviewers that your business is worth the investment. Your passion may be what does that.
Your dedication to your business will be shown by not just language choices but by the depth of planning you detail in the application, the supporting documents and data you supply, and the clarity of your ideas.
Review and Revise
A second, or even third, pair of eyes on your application is incredibly valuable. Take on their feedback and revise the application a few times. Double-check your budgets, dates, and statistics. If there are word limits imposed, heed them.
Be sure to address all of the criteria, answer all the questions, and tick all the necessary boxes. It would be heartbreaking to have your application rejected purely because you missed a vital question.
Those are all the tips we have for you today for preparing to write a great grant application. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Business Boost Grant and will chat more about it as further details emerge. We wish you luck in applying for it!
Don’t forget – we are more than happy to provide you with quotes for any digital marketing need. Submit an enquiry here or email us at email@example.com, and we’ll get back to you asap.
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