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WIN Your Next Grant

Written by Rosanna Commisso

As NFP community organisations, a large % of us depend on local grants to fund community initiatives.  The competition for these grants is fierce as funding bodies may receive up to 40,000 submissions, with 86% of these being denied due to:

  • Questions left unanswered
  • Responses do not answer the questions asked
  • Projects are activities focused with no measurable outcomes
  • Project is not new, different or innovative – it has been done before
  • Project idea is too vague – not presented clearly
  • Project doesn’t grab the funder
  • Submission poorly written
  • Insufficient or no evidence supporting the need for the project – no stats, data, demographics provided
  • No evaluation included as part of project
  • Project too ambitious in scope and unable to be measured

I recently attended a Grants Writing workshop organised by Ryde Council, and from this I created the Grants Writing Tips below to assist you in applying for your next grant.

Download these questions as a worksheet here:  Grant Writing Tips

When completing your application, you need to consider:



Project Questions

What is our project – what does it involve?

Why is the project needed?

What stats, research, demographics, qualitative & quantitative data etc support our project?

What are both the short-term & long-term impacts of our project?

How will we measure these outcomes?

How does our project build community capacity?

How is our project sustainable?

What are the project milestones?

How will we monitor the project at these key milestones to ensure that it is meeting the proposed outcomes and objectives?

What evaluation method will we be using?

What performance indicators (KPIs) will we use to measure the success of the project?

How does the project link to our strategic Business Plan?

How is the project different to what has been done previously, either by us, or other organisations?

How does the project provide value for money? What is it’s ROI (return on investment)?

What aspects of the project can we run if we receive only partial/no funding?

What funds will our organisation contribute funds to the project? Who else will be providing financial support?

How will we promote the project if it proceeds? e.g. social media strategy

How is our organisation innovative & different from other similar organisations that may be applying for this grant?

The Final Check

Are my responses concise & compelling?

Is the project vision clear?

Do we have the capacity to undertake the project within the time frame specified?

Have I answered the questions directly & only included pertinent information?

Has every single question been answered?

Have jargon or motherhood statements been removed?

Have I written my responses in professional business English?

Have I used bullet points, charts or tables to highlight certain points?

Have I broken up the text by using sub-headings?

Have I written my responses in short sentences?

Have I checked grammar and spelling manually?

Have I used one simple font throughout?

Is my project title 10 words or less?

Have I used keywords (words that funders have used in their brief) in my responses?

Have I included case studies to demonstrate community need?

Have I focused on opportunities and solutions by solving identified problems?

Have I itemised each spend in the budget?

Have I included a budget total & is it correct?

Have I signed the submission?

Is the project focused on measurable outcomes rather than just activities?

Have other colleagues reviewed my finished submission & provided feedback?

Have I included up to date & relevant evidence e.g. statistics, research, demographics, data to support the project?

Have I included details on the evaluation method that we will use to measure the project outcomes?

Have I included details on how the project will progress and the project milestones?

Have I allowed myself 4 weeks to complete the application?

Is the project new – it has never been done before?

Have I adhered strictly to the word count?

Is our organisation website & social media professional looking?

Have I included testimonials or letters of support for the initiative?

If applying for a Council Grant, have I read the Council’s Social Plan and made sure that my project supports the listed priorities?

Have I referenced these priorities in my submission as evidence of need?

Download these questions as a worksheet here:  Grant Writing Tips

Using statistics

Statistics are also vital part of grant submissions, so if you need supporting figures for your project, download the Northern Sydney Health Statistics snapshot as this contains relevant local data that can substantiate your funding claim. You can also check out the website for your local area.

Current Grants 

To ensure you don’t miss out on applying for a grant, create a 12-month Grant Application Calendar using information from one of the following website:


For more information, contact:

Rosanna Commisso
Home Support & Partnership CoordinatorP: 1300 134 332