1. Government Grants are rarely available to individuals. To be eligible you will most likely need to be a registered non profit organisation in your area. Each grant making body will have its own set off rules that you should read as a priority and before making any other arrangements to apply for funding.
  2. Research funding opportunities in full. Many government grants will be backed up by significant documentation detailing the regulations of who and want they are able to support. It is vital that consume as much of this information as you can before you apply to ensure that you are eligible. Grants from Governments and related state agencies often demand a big investment in the application process so it is crucial that you don’t waste your time.
  3. Record as many details as you can about the opportunity you plan to apply for. You need everything from the name of the program, the program number, application guidelines, eligibility regulations, all deadlines, all contacts and any other details of importance related to the program. Not only will you have all of the information in one place but this process will help you to better understand the organisation’s funding restrictions.
  4. In the midst of all of the documentation it is easy to lose track of what the grant funding is actually there to do. In many cases the objectives of the program may actually change from year to year as well. Wherever possible you should try to contact the grant representative to discuss the funding opportunity with them. Not only is this a great opportunity to develop your relationship with a funder, it also provides an opportunity to gather insight from the staff about what projects they are looking for. You should also try to use this opportunity to briefly discuss your project proposal as they may be able to help you by making recommendations, suggesting changes or even advising you that there is a more appropriate fund available.
  5. Be studious and careful in adhering to all guidelines, however unimportant it may seem. Funding organisations often demand that proposals are written in a certain style and deviations from the official guidelines are likely to damage your funding application. Most grants are heavily oversubscribed so it is doubly important not to give any reason whatsoever for the funding organisation to dislike or even just throw out your application based on an easily fixed technicality.
  6. Be prepared to submit your application at least one full day ahead of the deadline. Often government grants will include multiple documents, signatories of different people in your organisation, articles of incorporation and additional technical documents, by leaving it to the last minute you will have no time to rectify any mistakes or omissions you have made. Even the best grant writers in the world sometimes miss out crucial pieces of information so you need to give yourself time to discover and problems and resolve them.
  7. Show evidence of the need for your project, ideally by using recognised or government statistics. Grant funders need to understand why your project is important, why your cause needs to be urgently addressed and what impact financial support for your organisation could make on the community. Don’t assume that they already understand the problem you are trying to resolve and try to be as clear as possible.
  8. Grant funders and particularly government grant funders wish to see existing community support for your organisation and the services it supplies. They want to fund organisations that are already relevant in their communities, have a track record of success and have a ready way of connecting with groups in need. You can supplement your application by including quotes, case studies and testimonials of either people who have already received your services or people who can explain why they desperately need the new service you are proposing. This will help to provide a human element that a program officer can relate to.
  9. Invite a friend to read over your proposal before you send it. A new pair of eyes from outside your organisation will be able to add new perspective and invite you to consider your proposal from different points of view. They may be able to highlight a section that is unclear or not needed as well as basic grammar and spelling.
  10. All funders, both government and private, often seek solutions that are both innovative and replicable. Funding organisations want to see a new way to tackle an existing problem whether it is using new technology, utilising local knowledge or by adapting a new monitoring and evaluation technique. They also want to use your project as a testing ground to see what works and what doesn’t in the hope that your scheme can be replicated in similar areas across the country and around the world.
  11. Maintain an excellent record of all activity undertaken throughout the grant process. Governments and their agencies are known to be far more strict on reporting than private foundations and many demand the right to evaluate your project on site with little notice. Ensure you are prepared by keeping and maintain high quality records of all activity, expenditure and impact.