When searching and applying for grants, planning goes a long way. It is important to know what your Club needs when you need it and how much it will roughly cost. It is important then, to develop a plan.
Know what your Club wants to do and why: It is better if the grant application is stimulated by an idea rather than the other way around. That way your organisation doesn't create work for volunteers just because there is money available. Start talking about the idea with others at your organisation. A key question at this point is do you have the volunteers, support to carry the idea out if you get the money? Each year review your priorities and update your plan. Develop a spreadsheet (see an example below). Try and include everything that requires funding.
Read the Guidelines Carefully: Before starting your application look for the key clues first – eligibility, funding objectives, priorities, target groups, overall aims of the funding agency, timelines. If the grant targets e.g. disadvantaged communities, it is worth finding out from the funding provider what this constitutes. There are also some funding programs that only let you apply once or every two or three years, so make sure you use your grant wisely.
Identify Suitable Grants: Sign up to grant newsletters (eg Our Community) or the like, and/or Google for other grant sources which link to your idea e.g. youth grants, volunteer grants, planning and environment. Check GippSport’s Grant page on our website, subscribe to our newsletter and like our Facebook page as this page is often updated with grants information. GippSport and your local council offer a range of training sessions/workshops that provide useful information about applying for grants and developing plans. Try and encourage your Club to attend these sessions where possible.
Make the Call: It is important that you bite the bullet and make the call to the funding agency contact person before you launch into the write up of the application. Have a discussion about your ideas, the grant and what the funding body is looking for. Also, is it worth asking how competitive the program is?
The Grant Aims: After reading the grant guidelines and discussing with the funding agency, do you know what is trying to be achieved through the funding and does your project do this in some way or another. This link is the most important aspect of your application. Have a look, if provided, at the details of previously funded projects (sometimes on the website) to get further ideas. FRRR and Community Safety Fund Grants have previous projects.
Partners: Your application may be looked upon more favourably if you have other project partners who may provide other funding or in-kind support. Even a small contribution from a local service agency or the Bendigo Bank can be a great addition.
Supporting Information: Does the funding agency want or require letters of support, quotes etc. Make sure you include this in your application. Be aware that it can take time to obtain quotations from qualified or suitable companies. It is important to obtain a quotation that matches your requirements, otherwise you may not apply for enough money. GippSport can usually provide letters of support. If you are doing something to your facility, make sure you have obtained permission, if possible in writing, from the land owner/manager. This indicates that the project has been discussed.
Links to other Plans: Make sure you look at your local Council’s plans and strategies and identify if there are key actions that support what you are trying to do. Many Councils have Master Plans for recreation reserves and sporting precincts. There will also be Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plans and State and Federal Government Plans they may relate to your idea. Find yours and see if your project is in the plan or relates to the plan. It can be helpful to refer to a need already prioritised in your community. There may be a Community Plan that has identified a need that your project can meet.
Rough Plan: Why, what, who, when, where and some details about how and how much. Have a brainstorming session to get some of these ideas before writing the application. This needs to be realistic, logical and have a well thought out budget attached. GippSport staff are available to help sporting clubs with this. The Community Facilities Planning and Grants Officer at Wellington Shire Council is available to assist as well.
Writing the Application: Many applications are now online so have your information close by. Use simple, relevant language. You don’t need to ‘pad’ out your application. Most State Government applications give you limited words so make them count. Answer all the questions. Make sure someone else reads it before sending it in. GippSport staff are available to help sports clubs with this aspect of a grant application.
Successful/Unsuccessful: Generally if you are successful for a grant you will be required to acquit the grant. Do not forget to do this as it can impact on future grant applications. It is also a courtesy to thank the organisation you have received the grant from. CELEBRATE by acknowledging your success on your website, Facebook and in your newsletter. Include the name of the funding organisation and recognise the volunteers at your club that helped put it together. If you were not successful, consider contacting the funding organisation to find out why you missed out.
Need further information or assistance? Contact the GippSport team by leaving a reply.