Applying for grants can be time consuming and extremely disappointing if you’re unsuccessful - but absolutely game-changing for your community if you get it right! Our NZ Managing director, Elle, has learned the hard way from her experience trying to access funding as a volunteer project manager at KiwiHarvest. She shares 5 tips that can help your chances of getting funding for community groups or spaces.
1. Check eligibility! And then check it again....
Before starting any grant applications make sure you do your research. Grant eligibility is always specific, focused and strict. Do not waste your time putting pen to paper for any grant application that you have not triple checked that you are definitely eligible for. Things that can trip you up:
Are you the right type of organisation e.g. a charity, trust or religious organisation
Have you already applied for funding previously?
Are they definitely able to fund your project - typical exclusions might be capital works or salaries.
Is it definitely applicable for your region? Should you apply for regional or local funding?
2. Give yourself enough time
These applications always take longer than you think and often ask you to get specific paperwork or board resolutions signed. Give other peopler organisations you are dependent on enough time to get you what you need. Banks, in particular can take a long time to even work out who can get you the paperwork you need. Get organised and put together a calendar of the grants you want to apply for and set reminders for the key dates.
3. Find a personal connection.
Grants should obviously be awarded on a completely objective basis, however it never harms to work out who is working at the fund and see if you can have a quick conversation with them. Most community pokiest trusts are open to you reaching out to check eligibility and introduce yourself as a group that’s applying for funding. You can also research and reach out on linked in. Most trusts also publish lists of who was awarded the grant in previous years. You can also reach out to that organisation and ask for their advise on the application
4. Use data effectively.
Make sure you can back up your mission with data. This could be data on the impact of your community organisation to date, data on your growth or data about the specific problem you are trying to solve.
5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Apply for a variety of funding sources or have other ways of funding your project. Funding organisations look kindly on applications that can prove:
a) Other funders also back the idea and the project
b) More diverse funding will likely increase the sustainability and longevity of the project or solution
Other helpful resources for funding for community groups and centres nz: