Answering questions about a grant proposal can be intimidating, especially if it’s something you’re doing for the first time. Needless to say, it’s not as daunting to fill out a grant proposal for a foundation, as these often require less detail. However, whether it’s a proposal from a federal government department or foundation, there are similar questions that you will inevitably find. You’re probably wondering why funders always ask these questions, it’s simply because they want to know more about your organization and your project. They want to get to know you and at the same time, judge whether they want to invest in your project. This could be compared to a job interview where the person wants to know what kind of person you are, what you are passionate about and whether you are the best candidate to fill the position.
Often, these questions are asked in different forms because funders want to know the same things about your organization and the project you want funded.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION
This question is found in the vast majority of applications. It could easily be compared to the question “Tell me about yourself” which is often one of the first questions asked in the majority of job interviews. By asking this question, funders want to get to know you. They want to know what the mission and the vision of your organization is. You can also talk about the projects you have undertaken in the past and how you have been able to complete them. It’s also relevant to talk about the grants you’ve received in the past and how you’ve handled them. Don’t forget to mention your target audience as well. Funders want to determine if your organization has the capacity and experience to implement the project for which you want a grant. This question gives you the opportunity to stand out. Ministries, like foundations, receive hundreds of grant applications each year. So, in your answer, you need to explain what makes your organization different and also why they should choose to invest in your organization over another. The goal is to present a good overview of your organization in relation to the grant you would like to receive.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
This is where you can elaborate on the project, (whether it’s a brand-new project or an existing one that requires funds for expansion or some other initiative). Describe the impact the project will have. If it is a cyber security project, describe how this project will allow you to protect your customers’ data, for example. If it is a project related to distance learning, describe how this project will allow teachers to transmit the material and students to continue their learning despite the fact that they are not physically in a classroom. It is important that your project is realistic. Have a detailed plan of each stage of the project with the time required to complete each step. If it’s a project you’re doing in collaboration with another organization, describe that organization’s contribution to the project.
Remember that funders want to finance projects that will be beneficial to society and, the community but not human or technological resources. It goes without saying that for your project to be a success, it will be necessary, in the majority of cases, to hire new employees and acquire new technologies. These elements must be included in your plan and explain the role that this will have in the success of the project, but the emphasis must be on the fact that this project will be a solution to a problem that there is in the community, for example.
WHAT PROBLEM/ NEED OF THE
COMMUNITY DOES YOUR PROJECT ADDRESS?
To answer this question, it is often necessary to look for external elements, such as studies that have been done and/or statistics that will support your project. If your project is to ensure that remote areas of a province have access to the internet, for example, you can find statistics that show what percentage of households in remote areas do not have access to the internet to support your project. You will demonstrate to donors that your project will meet a real need and thus improve the quality of life of people in this region, for example. In this section, it is important to give more information about your target audience and also the geographical orientation of your project. Before answering the question, make sure you have done your research and have data that will support your project.
WHAT ARE THE EXPENSES
ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PROJECT?
To answer this question, you can make what is called a budget statement. A budget statement is simply a written description of your budget. In the vast majority of cases, it’s a requirement to send your budget as an attachment. Take the time to explain each item in your budget. If the funder is not the sole investor in the project, it is important to indicate who the other funders will be and the amount they intend to invest.
HOW WILL YOU MEASURE THE IMPACT OF YOUR PROJECT?
Most funders want to know if their investment in a project has been successful. Often, the project evaluation process is included in the planning phase. If this is not the case, one way to ensure the success of your project is to focus on what the project has accomplished in the community. If we continue with the distance learning project, you can describe how many students are now able to continue their education from home by comparing with the data you had at the beginning of the project. It is also possible to call on an outside firm to help with the evaluation of the project.
A final point would be to respect the criteria. Donors can explain the challenge they have to finance all the projects presented to them. This is why very often; they have criteria that may seem strict. Take the time to read the criteria set out in the application guide and demonstrate how your project can meet all of these criteria. You are more likely to receive funding if you can explain how your application for funding meets all the established criteria.
Just like a job interview, the application for a grant requires you to be prepared, to know yourself and to demonstrate that you have transferable skills that can be beneficial for the success of the project and that the community will be able to benefit. It is also necessary to verify eligibility, to respect the instructions, and to send the application within the mentioned deadline. Another thing to consider, have your app read by a third party and ask for feedback. You’ll then be ready to apply!