Three steps to winning a business grant

There is money everywhere. Especially if you have passion and purpose around what you are doing, it tends to find you. There is over $30 billion in grant money available for business and not-for-profits in Australia.

That is a lot of cash.

The challenge for many is how to access this money. It is not enough just to put your hand up and say “I am worthy”. If someone is going to give you thousands of dollars, they want to know how it is going to be used, and for who.

Far too often, people make the mistake of making it all about them, their situation. Grants are not about what is in it for you. It’s about the change you are making in the world, your world or your community. If you are doing something that is helping others – you are more likely to be successful in securing grant funds.

It’s easy to apply for a grant. It’s easy if you know how. It’s easy if you follow three simple steps.

  1. Set your vision
  2. Map out your vision
  3. Set your budget

You can use these three steps to apply for a government grant. They can be applied to other grants as well, from not-for-profit grants from philanthropic organisations to business grants. The principles are the same.

  1. Set your vision

Be clear on what you want and where you are going. If you asking for money you need to be able to articulate this so they can see it too, see what you want to achieve.

Are you building a house for survivors of domestic violence? Is it a shelter for homeless people? Are you creating jobs for people who are marginalised? In all of the cases … you need to have a vision. Everyone starts out with a great vision. The key is to communicate it in such a way that others will want to be part of it.

  1. Map out your vision

What change/changes does your vision make in the community? This is where you need to get into the details and specifics. Funding providers want to see a road map of where you are going and what it will look like when you get there. If they are investing in your project, it has to have tangible outcomes; specific outcomes.

You need to map out clearly what the change will be. From homeless person to person now in a home or is it feeding homeless people. “Homeless people will be better off because they will have food and now, they can look for a place to stay … to call home”.

  1. Set your budget

You need to have figures on how this is going to work. What are the costs – look at everything that will need to be funded – from admin assistance to marketing. Some grants are specific about what they will give money for so make sure you read the criteria and funding requirements. A budget is about making some assumptions about what you will spend and what you will need it for.

Form and function

All these components are important. It’s about giving form and function to what you are looking to achieve. To make your dream, your project come alive – you need this form and function.

Your project also needs the passion and purpose you bring to the project. A funny thing happens when you combine the two Fs and two Ps – other people buy into your vision. They want to be part of it. Sometimes that means the money finds you.

Other pots of money

It’s not always a about a grant. There are many ways to find money for what you want to achieve and make your dream come alive.

Other ways you can get money include:

  • getting a sponsor
  • crowdfunding
  • offsetting with fee for service
  • engaging the wider community into your project or vision.

Even if you apply for a grant and are unsuccessful, you will have got a lot of clarity about what it is you are doing and what the outcomes are going to be. So, next time, it will be easier.

Christine Stow, CEO, Grants Made Easy

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