7 tips for writing grant applications
There's no magical secret to writing a successful grant application, but there are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting funding.
1. Decide what you want to do or what kind of grant you need
Before you even start to look for funding, make sure you're clear about:
- the type of project you want to do
- what kind of grant you need
- why you want it.
Answering these questions first up will help with everything else in this process.
2. Identify sources of funding
Visit our Grants and where to find them page in this section for links to lists of grants available in Victoria and Australia.
Other places to look for grants include:
- community websites
- newsletters of community organisations
- social media (hint: a good place to start might be @youthcentralvic ;P ).
3. Address the guidelines
It's crucial to make sure your submission directly addresses program guidelines.
Get a copy of the grant guidelines and application forms well before of the submission deadline and read them carefully to make sure:
- your project is the kind of project they fund
- you have time to get all of the supporting material together.
Allow plenty of time to complete all application requirements before the submission deadline.
Using an auspice organisation
Some grants only accept applications from organisations, not individuals (or groups of individuals). That doesn't mean you can't still apply - you might just have to find an auspice organisation to help you. For more about this, visit our Finding an auspice organisation page.
4. Do your research
It pays to find out as much as you can about the organisation offering the grants. Research can also help you make your grant application as strong and convincing as it can be.
- Contact the funding agency and ask for advice about their requirements.
- Talk to people or organisations that have received funding and find out how they did it (often the funding organisation has a website with information about previous recipients - you can also search online for them).
- If you're trying to get a community project off the ground, make sure you know as much as possible about the community and your target audience (for example, by running a survey and using the feedback in your application).
- Use secondary sources of information (your local council (new window) will probably have statistics and data about your local area, or even staff who can help you with your submission).
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (new window) has a wealth of data that may support your submission.
5. Present your submission well
When putting your submission together, make sure you:
- are clear about what you want to achieve
- use clear language and avoid jargon
- present only relevant supporting material (for example, graphs, tables, graphics)
- structure your submission so it's easy to follow (for example, include a table of contents, index, appendix)
- get someone to check the submission for errors and spelling mistakes
- keep a copy for your own records
- include profiles or resumes for yourself and anyone involved in the project (our How to write a resume page has some tips).
Submitting a budget
If you have to submit a budget with your application, make sure you:
- are accurate and realistic (the funding organisation will spot the inconsistencies and this will reflect badly on your application)
- don't cut corners to be more competitive
- use appropriate rates of pay
- don't forget overheads you might need (for example, WorkCover, insurances, office supplies, rent)
- get more than one quote for any equipment you need to buy
- relate any necessary equipment purchases to the aims of the project
- include your own contribution to the project, both your financial contribution and your time commitment.
6. Follow up your submission
After you submit your application, it's a good idea to call the organisation to make sure they got your submission.
It can also help to try and generate support for your project by contacting other organisations, your local community or your local members of parliament (find them using the Parliament of Victoria Ministers and Members search (new window)).
Keep a record of all discussions and contacts with the funding bodies. If you promise to do something, make sure you confirm those promises in writing (and then do them, of course!).
7. Take a deep breath!
Well done! You've done all the hard work, got the application in, and now it's time to relax. The decision is now in the hands of the funding body.
Search the database for grants and assistance available from the Victorian Government.
Office for Youth - Grants
Find out about the grants currently available through the Victorian Government's Office for Youth.
Searchable Federal Government directory of grants available across Australia.