Funding community NRM projects is often a challenge. Most of the local groups that NACC NRM works with rely heavily on grant funding to remain operational.
Issues like finding relevant funding sources and completing application forms, all whilst competing for a small slice of the pie, are all too familiar to many of our local landcare and community groups. To help address some of these issues, the RALF team ran another online grant writing workshop on 9th June, with Becci Clarke from Tuna Blue Facilitation.
Participants from organisations based all over the Northern Ag Region had the chance to ask questions, brainstorm ideas, discuss projects and wording with peers, and receive expert advice from Becci on grant writing. We have collated some of our learnings from the workshop below:
The best funding applications are usually started well before the due date and are often in the pipeline before a funding opportunity is even announced. Begin with community consultation and engagement that identifies and articulates the need. What should follow is a well prepared and bounded project plan. Trying to fit a project to a funding round that is not well aligned to your project goal, or designing a project that fits the funding guidelines but doesn’t address a real community need can be a disaster.
Make sure you are answering the following:
- Does the problem really exist, and are you solving a need? If so, what is it?
- Is the problem fixable? And more to the point, can you/your group fix it?
- How will the grant money help you to fix the problem?
Funders want to receive convincing applications that clearly demonstrate your group can be trusted to use their money to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Ensuring your proposal is clear and achievable that demonstrates good planning, rigorous assessment, and community support will help to achieve this.
When you’ve completed your writing and you’re not only ready to submit but ready to tear your hair out, find somebody who is not involved in the project to read over it and ensure it makes sense. It is easy to forget that grant assessors do not know your project inside out like you do. If it is coherent to somebody outside the project, then you can be more confident it will also be clear to the assessors.
Keep your budget realistic. Get quotes for large expenses and show your workings rather than just writing down rounded figures. Look up actual costs where you can. The assessors will double-check your calculations!
Here are a few more of our top tips from the day:
- READ THE GUIDELINES
- Don’t overcomplicate it!
- Make it Credible, Clear and Connected (the Three C’s!)- make every word count
- Use a Program Logic or similar tool to get your head around your project before you commence writing your application.
- Plan, Prepare, Partner, Perform and get others to Proofread (The Five P’s!)
- Spell out the connections between activities, objectives and benefits, don’t just imply them.
- Make sure your budget correlates with your application
- Do your homework and research, check out who is providing the funding and ensure you show them how what you want to do corresponds to their values and goals.
This workshop was supported by NACC NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
If you or your organisation are developing projects to improve the sustainability, productivity and profitability of agriculture and NRM in the NAR and would like support to do this, please contact our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators: Annabelle (E) email@example.com or (P) 0448 986 879 or Lizzie (E) firstname.lastname@example.org or (P) 0447 361 335.