It’s every applicant’s nightmare — the grant application they spent so long meticulously crafting has failed to catch the funder’s eye. Here are three top tips to ensure your next application will stand out from the pile.
Tip #1: Focus on substance, not style
Most grant applications must be submitted in the form of black and white PDF forms, meaning that applicants can’t rely on colorful designs or pictures to make their application stand out. Instead, focus on your content. Many funders complain that applications are poorly written, have spelling mistakes, or are full of technical jargon. Make sure your application is well written by working with a professional grant writer or by having one review your work.
Tip #2: Choose your words well
Funders support projects that meet their program’s objectives. For example, if a fund says it supports “innovation” and “regional economic development,” make sure you use those same keywords in your application. It’s also best to match your writing style to the funder’s. Applications into scientific-focus programs tend to favor academic-style applications, while those into entrepreneurial support program favor a more business-focused style.
Tip #3: Make your case by focusing on impact
The bottom line for funding will often come down to the impact your project will have on your business, your community, the economy, and in many cases, the environment. If a funder has to choose between two similar projects, they will pick the one that achieves the best outcomes for the money invested. To tip the scales in your favor, make sure to include the following points in your application:
- How many jobs your project will create or retain,
- How much revenue your project will generate,
- How your local community will benefit (for example, if you are training youth, supporting diversity, or investing in your local supply chain),
- How your country will benefit (Are you bringing a new innovation to your country? Are you building your country’s reputation as a global leader in your sector?), and
- How your project is environmentally-friendly.
As often as possible, support the above points with metrics and data.
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