What goes into writing a positive Grant Application?


In order to develop a positive Grant Application, you need to mix a few ingredients! 
When it comes to gaining grant funding, you have to be aware that any ‘Grant Funder’ will want to know your story e.g. what your organisation does and how the grant funding will improve your business and the overall economy.  Your business story may be the hook, but unless you can strongly back it up, it is likely that you won’t receive the funding.  The alchemy of a winning proposal is how you mix the ingredients to get it just right! 

Here's our Top 6 Tips on getting the mix right....


1. Importance of understanding the Grant Program

Before preparing a Grant Application, it is really important to understand the Grant Program you are applying for by familiarising yourself with it's objectives, eligibility and merit criteria, submission deadline, guidance materials and other supporting documentation. This will allow you to understand whether the grant is suitable for you and your particular case.

Related: Government Grants and Incentives: Which one is right for my Business?

2. Make sure you are Eligible

After you familiarise yourself with the Grant Program, you need to review the eligibility criteria in more detail. For example, in the case of the R&D Tax Incentive program, you need to make sure that your products are new to the world and they are developed through a systematic progression of work where a technical hypothesis must be investigated in an experiment. The key is to self-assess the eligibility criteria and apply them onto your particular case. To effectively self-assess the eligibility, it is important to first understand the basic meaning of certain terms within the definition outlined in the grant program.

Related: Isn't the R&D Incentive meant to reward Innovation?

3. Addressing Selection Criteria & utilising an expert

After you self-assess that you are eligible, you have to prepare the Grant Application form and respond to a list of selection criteria provided in the form. You must tailor your response to the selection criteria specifically for the grant that you apply for and be able to support it with strong documentary evidence. Addressing selection criteria to result in a successful grant is not an easy task. You must understand what the funder wants to read in the Application in terms of your response and argument and understand what types of documentation are considered as strong evidence.

It is worth requesting help from an expert who is experienced in Grant Application writing to give you better assurance that your Application will be successful, especially when cashflow is riding on the outcome.  You need to find an expert who has submitted the same Grant Application, has experience in handling the grant audit process and has a record of successful audit outcomes.  Not to mention an expert who keeps up-to-date on the market and has good relationships with the Grant Funder.

4. Ensuring activities and expenditure are recorded in real-time

You need to keep records to substantiate your claim in the Grant Application. In the case of R&D Tax Incentive, there needs to be a thorough and detailed paper trail in place – one that outlines the exact costs incurred and the specific R&D activities which lead to those costs. You need to ensure that dates, summary of your activities and details of costs are present on the documentation and it is best that you record in real-time as you conduct your project activities.

5. Making sure you submit a completed Application before the Closing Date

Missing a grant deadline can be a strenuous ordeal, often having a detrimental effect on your business especially if you depend on the grant money for your cash flows. Preparing for a Grant Application can be an exceedingly time-consuming process, and you need to manage the process from the beginning including understanding the grant program and its eligibility criteria, preparing written response for selection criteria in the Application form, talking to the right people to collect information and evidence, real-time recording and maintaining records. You need a very strong internal project management control to allow you manage the whole process and not miss the deadline.

6. Importance of Engaging a Grant Specialist

We touched on the importance of utilising an expert but to explore this further, when managing the Grant Application, it can be a very complex process that requires a lot of time, diligence and patience. What this does is takes you away from core business. Multiply this by applying for more than one grant and needing to write a different argument succinctly and persuasively each time this is often a major distraction for you and your business.  An expert knows what the Funder is wanting to read, will understand your numbers and can review how your records can substantiate your claim.  A Grant Specialist is also an expert in writing grant applications.  If you don’t have internal resources to prepare and manage the entire process, it is worth hiring a Grant Specialist who has the required expertise and experience.

Azure Group are Grant Specialists!

Our consultants at Azure Group have prepared and managed hundreds of Grant Applications with the strongest success rate through our proven expertise and experience in grant writing, including managing the often ominous audit process. Our renowned track record with Grant Applications has been achieved through conducting all the aforementioned activities for each of our clients to ensure all eligibility and selection criteria are accurately addressed.

Our process involves conducting interviews with you to ensure we thoroughly understand you product, business and financial performance to prepare your Grant Application, including reviewing your records to assess whether they are appropriate for substantiation.

Have you noticed our #FridayExpertTips... here's one that relates to #EMDGgrant

“Many Australian business owners STRUGGLE WITH EXPORTING A PRODUCT because of the complexities and expense. However, the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) can help fund your expansion.”


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About Author

Michael Derin
Michael Derin

Michael Derin, Azure Group's Founding Partner and Chairman has over 28 years’ experience as a qualified Chartered Accountant within the business and commercial sectors. Michael works across our Technology, Corporate Advisory and CFO operations, managing highly complex projects to success.

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