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Opinion: Why Strategic Approaches to Grants Matter

With the number of third sector organisations in Australia multiplying every year, the space where the core fundraising pillars such as donor giving and fundraising events exist is becoming increasingly crowded; with the financial resources needed for organisational growth being slowly whittled away. The good news for those of you in this difficult space between strategy and growth however, is that with approximately $80+ billion of grant funding distributed across Australia annually and an exponentially growing preference amongst grant makers for projects that seed lasting social change; grants are quickly becoming a cost effective fundraising solution.

As fundraising professionals you’re most likely no strangers to grant funding, and have even filled out a grant application or two (or maybe more!) in your time – but it’s highly likely that you’ve also occasionally pondered the question of whether you’re efficiently leveraging your information and resources towards achieving quality applications that have every chance of success.

Although research has shown significantly higher rates of success where a grants program is consistently executed across the longer term (think 5+ years^); many organisations continue to underestimate the power of a well-established, streamlined and strategically applied grants program. Our own experience as specialists in end-to-end grants management has also frequently confirmed that the key to success in grants extends well beyond grant writing and planning. Here, we share the three fundamental pillars that determine the success of any internal grants program:

Strategy

Where the funding needs clearly align with your overarching organisational goals, you’ll find it much easier not only to develop your ‘ask’ packages, but also to match them to the priority areas of grant makers. It doesn’t stop there though – with careful leveraging of relationships with funding bodies often improving your cases for funding and empowering the emergence of further financing and partnership opportunities.

Data
In the world of grant makers searching for attractive impact returns on their investments, data is king. By incorporating relevant data that supports your ask package into your applications, your proposals will be transformed into a credible investment prospect with the promise of high impact returns.

Story
By combining your strategy and data with content that speaks the language of the targeted funding bodies and amplifies your impact stories; you’ll harness the power of high calibre applications which communicate your impact potential as an exciting investment prospect.

Through ensuring that these three fundamental pillars are in place, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a solid and sustainable internal grants program in step with your organisation’s strengths and mission; at the same time decisively grabbing the attention of the funding bodies that hold the key to your future growth.

About the Contributor:

Janine Owen is the Founder of Grant’d – an end to end grants management agency for Australian change-making organisations.

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