Writing a grant application

Grant funding is highly competitive. Assessors will be reviewing many applications so it's crucial that you present a concise easy to read application that addresses all the stated requirements.

Where permitted, if you engage a professional writer or third party to assist you with preparing and lodging your application, you must make sure that:

  • any necessary authority forms enabling them to represent you are completed and approved by the funding agency
  • you fully understand, approve and authorise any submissions made on your behalf
  • you have allocated enough time to engage the third party in this process so that your application is lodged by the deadline.

Preparing for your grant application

Before starting to write your application, you need to:

  • familiarise yourself with the grant funding guidelines, process requirements and application forms
  • check the eligibility criteria
  • read any accompanying documents (e.g. terms and conditions, frequently asked questions, application 'tips')
  • gather together details of your:
    • products and/or services
    • experience and skills
    • key personnel
    • description of your business and business plan
    • proposed budget
    • project description, including aims and objectives
    • plan on how you will use the grant money.
  • gather, or ask relevant parties to provide, supporting documents such as financials, quotes, budgets, invoices. Note: If there could be questions raised about your financial documentation because it is unusual or complicated, perhaps due to a related party or other issues, remember to explain it clearly.
  • check you have enough time to lodge your application ahead of the closing date – whether you submit the application yourself or via a third party on your behalf.

Writing your grant application

These key points will help you to create a logical and easy to read application.

  • Write in a consistent writing style and tone – use the grant guidelines as a reference for the type of business language to use (avoid conversational language or jargon).
  • Use concise language – keep your answers and paragraphs short (some grant applications may have a word limit).
  • Write your application so that it's easily understood by an assessor who may be unfamiliar with your industry.
  • Apply consistent formatting, including:
    • headings and sub-headings to help the assessor quickly review the content and key points
    • bullet points to list items (e.g. project outcomes and benefits, project elements and team members) – more detail can be provided in paragraphs and supporting documents
    • font style and size, line spacing, margins, page numbers, and headers and footers.
  • Include keywords from the guidelines and assessment criteria where appropriate.
  • Write factually – the information you submit must be accurate and may be audited, which could result in serious consequences if information supplied is misleading.
  • Avoid using vague, speculative or emotive words (e.g. believe, hope, expect, may, could, might).
  • Write unique answers to all questions – although some questions may sound similar, the assessor will be seeking new information (check the guidelines for clarification).
  • Include a short project title and description of aims and activities.
  • Be bold and positive in stating what your project will achieve if your application is successful but avoid exaggerated claims – the assessor will look for realistic outcomes and all of the claims you make must be able to be substantiated.
  • Demonstrate your project's likelihood of success, acknowledging risks to achieving its aims and how these will be managed. Your application will build trust with the assessor if you can:
    • outline the key drivers of risk and uncertainty and how you will manage them
    • identify the range of project outcomes that may be achieved based on best to worst case scenarios in relation to potential risks (e.g. desired project outcome, satisfactory outcome, poor outcome)
    • provide a short assessment of the likelihood of the above scenarios.
  • Provide project budget details.
  • Include a glossary at the end of your application if you are using words or acronyms that may be unfamiliar to the assessor.

Guide your reader through your application by:

  • stating your main points
  • providing background and introducing concepts early
  • establishing and maintaining consistent themes throughout
  • progressing logically and concisely from simple to complex aspects of your project.