Fact: Receiving Grant Funding is fun!
Fact: Writing a Grant Proposal is less fun!
At least that’s the feedback we usually get from businesses and non-profits wanting to submit a grant proposal.
When Valley Heartland CFDC recently opened applications for the Eastern Ontario Development Program here in Lanark County/Leeds Grenville, we started to hear these murmurs.
The funding program itself is amazing: it’s how businesses and non-profits can potentially access grant dollars to help them cover up to 50% of their next big idea’s costs. From purchasing equipment to expanding a space to hiring a consultant, the grant really does help bring good ideas to life.
But – for some – there are the grant-writing struggles: they don’t have the time, they’re struggling to communicate their plan, they’d rather saw off their right arm than write, and so on.
So, last week we posted to our Facebook page that we’d offer the first five people to message us with a complimentary service to help them craft that grant application.
And the response was overwhelming.
We’ve navigated through the application process with five businesses/non-profits, and we’re so inspired by their ideas and goals.
But that also meant having to say no to others who reached out to us after we hit number five. So… to help anyone writing the application on their own, we put together a list of common questions and insight we’ve experienced in the grant-writing process.
(*Disclaimer: these are merely suggestions, and don’t guarantee results with a grant application)
How to get over the Grant-Writing Hump:
Break it down: when you see list of required submitted documents for the grant application, it quickly gets overwhelming. There’s the application, financial statements, price quotes, letters of support, and more. Rather than turning to ice cream for comfort, break the tasks down into minutes and hours.
- It’ll take you 15 minutes to reach out to three people for a letter of support;
- You can get your financial statements from your accountant;
- It’ll take one hour to do outreach to obtain price quotes;
- Set aside two hours to write a first draft for the application; then another two hours to finalize it.
- Reward yourself with ice cream once it’s submitted. See? Much better.
What’s the Direct and Indirect Economic Impact?: When you’re asked about economic benefits, look at it from all perspectives: who are you hiring to complete the project? Who will get hired as a result of your expansion? How will keeping people working in the community help the economy? How will your idea create competitiveness within your industry? How will your product launch or new business help other business owners grow? Think about both the direct and indirect impact your project will have on the economy.
Step Out of Your Shoes: You live, breathe, and eat your business. You know your industry’s lingo and how you operate. But the people reviewing your application may not. Never assume someone understands your idea and industry. Instead, you have to assume the person reading your application has no background knowledge. Spell it out for them so there’s no opportunity for misunderstanding on confusion. But…
Be clear, yet concise: When you review someone’s resume, what captures your attention? A concise, two-pager? Or a long-drawn-out, six-pager? Exactly. Think about it from a board of director’s viewpoint who will be reviewing a number of applications at one time. The more clear yet concise you are with articulating your idea, the better.
Feel better about completing the application? Good stuff. Now go enjoy that ice cream.