5 tips to increase your school’s success with grant fundraising applications

Schools Improvement Net reader John Ellery is an expert in accessing grant funds for schools and PTAs. He’s put together these five top tips to help you increase your chances of grant fundraising success, whether you are looking at raising money for sports projects, residential trips, disability equipment, outdoor play areas, music and art projects or anything else…

1 – Link your project to the funder’s outcomes When putting together your project and writing your application it is essential to be fully aware of the outcomes of the funder as the vast majority of funders are using your project to achieve the aims that they want to achieve. It doesn’t matter how strong your project is if you aren’t helping the funder achieve their aims, you will be rejected. 2 – First impressions are important Remember grant assessors are humans too and whilst many funders use scoring systems these scores will be influenced by whether an assessor ‘likes’ your project. Assessing grant applications can be like reading a book, if the first couple of chapters are really good you can’t wait to read the rest so a bit of passion and emotive language in your first few answers will help you go a long way. 3 – Answer the questions Seems a really odd point to make but many applicants do ignore the question and use the space to talk about information about their organisation or project they are keen to cover that doesn’t appear to fit in. Whilst this might add to useful background information for the assessor many funders will give applications a scoring against certain questions and if you haven’t provided an answer to the question posed you will score a zero. 4 – Outcomes or outputs Put quite simply make sure you know the difference between the outcomes or outputs as if a funder is asking for an output but you give them an outcome your application is likely you will be rejected. This is an issue for many applicants and some funders don’t help by being unclear if they are asking for outcomes or outputs in which case (and if there is space to do so) there is no harm in providing them with both. 5 – Make it obvious that you have really thought about your budget Funders are commonly uncomfortable with budgets that have round figure and budget items grouped together, for example a request for “IT Equipment – £2,000” would be seen as more credible if the applicant had given a breakdown of how the £2,000 was calculated. A credible detailed budget not only shows that an applicant isn’t making the figures up but suggests to a funder that you have thought through and it can be delivered. You can follow John Ellery on Twitter @johnellery or visit the Get Grants website to get in touch. Do you have some top tips you would like to share with Schools Improvement Net readers? Please contact us using this form to discuss it further. 

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