Top 10 tips to remember when applying for a grant

2nd May 2023

We’ve asked our Director of Grant Making, Kate Peters, to share her Top 10 tips that applicants can put into practice when applying for a grant.  

The first thing of course is to get in touch by completing an Expression of Interest – this is a short form  where you can tell us about your funding needs.

From this information, our grants team can advise you if there is a match with one or more of our family of donor funds. If there is a good match, we will invite you submit a full application. This helps us to save your time and means that currently up to 75% of full applications are successful.

If you want to be in the 75%, putting together a good application is vital for your success.

Here are Top 10 tips to remember when applying for a grant.

  1. Get your governance sorted – do you have a financial policy and safeguarding policy? Is your Trustee board supportive and knowledgeable? No one chooses to work in a charity because they like admin, but ensuring you have your ‘ducks in a row’ is vital for your success and securing support from Trusts and Foundations.
  2. Plan your project – if you have taken time to plan and review your work applying for funding will be easy. You will have all the answers!
  3. Understand and explain the need– one of the challenges facing groups seeking funding in Surrey is the lack of awareness of the needs hidden in our community. Make sure you tell us how you know there is a real need for your work.
  4. Explain the difference you will make – what difference will what you do make to the lives of the people you support? Being able to describe things will be better because of your work is the magic which will make our donors want to support you.
  5. Consider the impact! – how will you know if it is working? Show how you will measure the difference you are making. Start small – don’t collect arbitrary data and keep learning at the heart of the process.
  6. Answer the questions – application forms are not fun but the questions on the form will give you a clue as to how the Funder will make decisions about who to fund.  Make sure you answer the questions, just like in an exam!
  7. Keep it simple – remember your reader does not know your project. What is obvious to you may be a surprise to a donor, so keep it simple and clear, no jargon or acronyms.
  8. Tell your story – no numbers without stories, no stories without numbers – a case study can be the most compelling element of your application, back it up with evidence, and you are on to a winner.
  9. Proof-read you application – get someone else to read your application before you hit submit, preferably someone who doesn’t know your project as well as you. They will spot any errors.
  10. Speak from the heart – you can connect with donors by putting your unique, human voice into your application.

Discover more about our Applying for funding.