Grants Part 2: The Secret
18 Sep 2019 03:03 PM
Blog posted by: Holly Bagnall-Bell, 18 Sep 2019.
If you caught my last blog you’ll know all about our funding processes. Today I want to give you something that will help you to succeed not only with our funding rounds, but hopefully with other funders as well.
Here are my 6 top tips to pulling together a good funding application.
1. Use all the guidance
We provide a guidance document for every funding round with key bullet points. In my last blog post I mentioned that we match our assessment criteria to these bullet points, so it’s important that there is an answer to each of them in your answer. We have received some applications in the past that use the bullets as headings within the application - this is a great way to make sure that you are covering all the information we asked for. After you have written your answer it’s a good idea to go back to the question and make sure that every bullet point has been answered in full.
2. Think like an assessor
When you are writing your application, it’s really important to assume that the assessor knows nothing about your centre. I explained in my last blog post how the group that assesses the applications is built of team members from across Good Things Foundation, so there is every chance that the person assessing your application has not come across your centre before.
3. All in the details
To help us understand your project, you should build a picture with detail in your answers. For example if you have to describe how a project will function practically, take us through a learner journey and how each part of the project works. We often ask for examples, which means you should provide clear descriptions of how things actually work, providing relevant and detailed examples relating to the question. In some answers we may ask for statistics; make sure that you are providing relevant figures, that support your answers. It’s good to aim for the following:
- Clear and detailed examples
- Concise and relevant data
4. Word counts aren’t just a number
In the guidance we provide a word count for each answer, and this can be a helpful indicator to not only how much you should write, but how much weight this answer has in the scoring. If you have one answer with a word count of 200 and another with 700, it means that there is much more detail needed for the 700 question, and there is more opportunity to get some higher scores in the application.
5. Give us only what we need
Think about exactly what data is needed to answer the question. As in point 4, we choose the word count to help guide you into the level of detail we need. If you under utilise the word limit you need to check you have answered all the questions and provided examples. If you have exceeded the word count, it may be that you have provided something we didn’t ask for in the guidance or have provided data that doesn’t add anything to your answer. Double check that you are near enough to the word count and always go back to the bullet points in the guidance.
6. Get a second set of eyes on it
Once you have a near finished application, we always recommend having a critical friend read it over. I think this is important with any applications or writing as if you’ve been looking at a document for a long you may have missed something key - it happens to everyone! Having a second set of eyes on the application will highlight any weak areas, and can also be a handy thing to check over your spelling and grammar (although here at Good Things we don't discriminate against the odd typo). Once you’re both happy with the application, you can submit this.
Along with these tips above, I would always say give yourself more time than you think you need and to always backup your application offline. Although we have worked hard on our application systems errors can still happen, so it’s best that we know about any issues before the last day of the applications – sometimes we have submissions up to the last minute! Don't risk it.
If you want more guidance on applications, please check out our Writing Better Bids webinars.