Startup? Non-profit? Sole business? or Large Corporation? 2020 was hard for all of us, different too — and its effects ripple on into 2021 to redefine the way we apply for funding. Let’s take a look at some things you don’t want to miss out on when writing grant proposals this year
Some things are more important than others, that couldn’t be any truer this year. In this post I will not discuss the typical grant checklist given by other writers on this topic, instead, I want to point out the key factors to help your business stand out of the crowd as you look for funding. I will dwell on the particularly important ideas to help you find success in the current situation.
Solve A Real World Prevailing Problem
One of the most common things people say when giving advice on proposals is; “Properly describe the problem you’re trying to solve and why your solution works best.” This is absolutely brilliant advice… except for when we don’t really know what problem we’re trying to solve in the first place.
If you’re the kind of company that can make solutions to problems I suggest you start right away; Last year created a large list of problems for very many people and most people found themselves in very difficult situations. Thankfully, funders are here to provide the resources needed to “help bring good funding and great ideas together”. The text in bold is the main goal of many of the companies that offer grants, it helps to match their objective.
Aiming to solve a real world problem puts you in a good position to compete for a large majority of the grants this year. There are a lot of things funders are looking to solve at the moment ranging from famine in small communities, shortage of school fees for returning students, all the way to racial injustice and increased anxiety.
If your company has the capacity to mobilize the tools and intelligence needed to provide good solutions to any of these problems and many others, all you need now is the money. The organizations giving out grants are well aware of that and they look out for solution providers when screening grants. If you’re trying to solve a real world problem, it only increases your chances of being picked for the grant.
Have a Positive Online Presence
Brand Design has never been more important than it is today. With all the negative things going on in the world at the moment, a positive presentation of your company is likelier than ever to mean the difference between your company being picked for funding and others.
On the left is a banner Ad for a meditation app — Calm. Last week I stopped my subscription with Calm and switched to Headspace. I did this after nearly a year of using Calm and having meditated for over 3000 hours of meditating in the app.
Why did I do this? Well… See for your self;
This banner for Headspace was soo much more compelling to me than anything I ever saw Calm do. When addressing tough problems like anxiety, stress or when talking to people facing hard problems, it’s often better to take a simple, more lighthearted approach to the visual aspects of your company.
It brings a simple and easy form of positivity to the situation. Very often, even before someone tries your solution, your company is already way compelling than others.
Chances are, the grant reviewer is gonna take sometime to take a look at your website and it will help if he finds that you present yourself in a fun, friendly, and warm-welcoming manner.
I know you solve world problems that affect real people’s lives — but you don’t have to be so serious all the time. So make sure to take sometime to add at least a little bit of a warm welcoming vibe on your website.
To my surprise, it’s actually not hard at all to take a serious (and a little bit unwelcoming) design and turn it to gold. This is some work, I did with a friend of mine over the weekend. Full website here.
I was shocked to see how much we could change the site, and make it a lot more appealing than before in such a short period of time. So don’t be scared to make a few changes, it can be really beautiful.
Consider Positive Environmental Impact
A lot of money is being invested into making sure our world stays healthy. One of the most important to do when applying for a Private Business Grant is to clearly state if your business uses any of it’s funds for environmental maintenance.
Many of the largest organizations are quite serious about the threat climate change poses to us if we don’t act right away.
Instead of buying that important material from the nearest factory, do you plan to go to a further factory simply because they clearly state that they use renewable energy? Talk about it in your proposal. Do you have a small jar in your coffee shop where customers can put donations that then go to a climate change organization? Maybe say that you plan to use some of the money you get to advertise it to your customers more.
So if there is something you can do to help conserve the environment, be sure to include in your plans as you apply. It helps the reviewers know that you are a responsible business and that you are doing your part of taking care of our beautiful planet.
Plan as Far Ahead as Possible
Situations are hard nowadays, and a lot of people find themselves needing funding almost immediately. What this often means is that we tend to write applications without doing enough planning.
I cannot belong to a nonprofit organization because when you receive grants, you have to make such great compromises with your artistic plans. — Mikhail Baryshnikov
Absolutely true… a funder can tell when your proposal is not well thought out. The only way to avoid this is planning as far ahead as possible. If there is some things you need to purchase after getting the grant, be sure to talk to the vendor as your write your proposal. Mention in your plans that you did.
“I talked with my assistant from EmPower about the costs of their environment friendly refrigeration solutions, he mentioned it takes about 4 weeks to ship a product.”
Make that call to your local warehouse, find out if they have that product you’ll need. Did it get anymore costly than last year? Do they offer whole sale discounts? All those things, you need to know, the more you know, the better the plan. So plan-plan-plan!
That’s it… So this the list of some of the many things you could do to stand out for funding this year. As you long as you stick to the typical guidelines of grant writing and add in even one of these elements I’m sure it will boost your likelihood to be chosen. These are the things grant reviewers are looking out for. Thanks for reading.