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Grant Writing Tips from Blogs off http://www.sallyirvine.com/

A note from Sally:

Some of this information may now be a little dated.  Can I encourage you to research and don't be afraid of the changes that have happened since 2010.  Often now, grant makers require online submissions, uploading both application and acquittal once you have successfully won a grant.  This often can make reporting easier, but it might mean learning new skills that don't always come easy for everyone.

A few websites to help:

(and no, I haven't received any credit for listing the above links.   They are simply to help get you started).

Sally
May 2017


The following information is from the blogs that I have written at  http://www.sallyirvine.com/ These are to give you ideas, tips, and helpful information to assist you and your group when thinking of and applying for grants.

This information is given to you but please be aware: It is my opinions expressed and the information may or may not assist in your particular circumstances. Therefore you and your group should form their own decisions and actions about writing and applying for grants.

Can I encourage you with one more thought? Many people never step out of their comfort zone because it’s too hard, too frightening or they can’t be bothered. Don’t be one of these. Take hold of an opportunity to invest in your community and make a difference. Because you will. Don’t be afraid of opposition – it will come as some will not want to make a difference but many others will benefit from your choices and you will be able to lead them to know they too can step out and make a difference. After all that’s how change happens in our communities and it only takes one person to start the journey.

Building community is much more a world-wide event with the internet. You can build relationships all over your country, and the world as well as in your home town/city.   Most of all be passionate, and desire the very best your community. After all it’s where YOU live, your family lives and communities only grow and prosper when the local residents commit themselves to improving the area in which they live – together.

You can make the difference – it’s starts with one who has a dream and shares that dream over and over...
July 2010
Sally Irvine, Australia

Website: www.sallyirvine.com
Email: admin@sallyirvine.com
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1. Grant Writing and WAHM’s (or other community minded people)


WAHM's are usually community minded people and many their skills and abilities to assist their local community by participating in one (or more) organisations.
These women are willing to learn, research and train others and we need to be this way because we are MUM's! If you’re community organisation has asked you to consider grant writing as a way to raise funds for projects, then here are a few tips to help.
• I can't stress this one enough. Read, read, read the paperwork thoroughly – know the guidelines, maximum amount that can be applied for, what the grant can be used for and what you can’t use it for, terms and conditions and reporting requirements to the Grant Maker.
• Do you know if your organisation/group eligible to apply? Does the organisation meet the general guidelines relevant to the grant?
• Be aware of the aims, purpose, mission statement of your organisation, budget, financials, timelines that need to be included in grant
• Who will be responsible for (a) overseeing the writing and application of the grant/s and (b) who will oversee the distribution and reporting of funds?
• It is vital to obtain relevant quotes – that is don’t get three quotes on 3 different pieces of equipment or services, make sure quotes are on similar items
• Always allow enough time to complete application and send it to grant organisation, don’t rush. If you rush you will miss something and then your hard work won't even be considered.
• Talk to others in organisation and get their opinions on your application – they will be able to share ideas, editing and may bring some perspective that you haven’t considered that is relevant to application.
• Work with the Finanical Department of your organsiation and keep your budget is real and accurate.
  •  Making sure your application is easy to read, will help your chances of being considered so don’t have difficult to read fonts and line spacing
• Tell the story of what your group wants to do – but make it to the point and clear to understand.
• Write up a checklist so that you can tick off and know that you’ve covered all requirements.
• Many Grant Makers/organisations have relevant people to assist you – contact them for help if you are unsure of questions and/or terms and conditions.
• When you’re grant is successful, take the time to review process, evaluate and address areas that can be improved, this will help you and also help those you may teach about this process
• It is essential that all acquittal and reporting paperwork is completed and sent in, if you want to be considered for future grant opportunities.

The above information is to assist you as you serve your local community and the outcomes for you is that you may find yourself a paid position with these skills, even working from home!

Grant Writing (2)

Grant Writing. It can be rather daunting. However, with support, encouragement and action you can do it. Last month's blog was on Grant Writing Tips, which I hoped helped all the WFHM's who have undertaken to assist their local community.
Once you have written and sent in your grant application, keep a record of contacts made, businesses who have supplied quotes, and notes you have made that assisted you. Make a checklist that can be used for future grant writing. And keep copies of the grants you have applied for - they will be invaluable in the future for referring back to. Also, clean out all the papers, notes, etc that you no longer need as they will just clutter your workspace and make it difficult to find paperwork you really do require. (Tip: have a display folder that you can slip your paperwork and notes in for future reference.)
Most of all, take time out for yourself. I found this to be one thing I didn't really do and it lead to sleepless nights, and in turn not being at my best at times.

3. Travelling down the road of Grant Writing...

Grant writing can be like travelling down a road - how you drive will determine how you get there...
You've just been given a position on your Community Group and you shudder..."Can you help us? We need someone to write grant applications and it's easy!" Heard something like this?
The last two postings on my webpage has been to help you with tips on Grant Writing and for those of us beginning it can be difficult. Why? Many of us haven't had exposure to Grant Writing and thinking the way that those who make Grants available think.
So this month we'll take a quick look at some of the things that organisations who make grants available want in an application.
• They are making their money available - it's not yours by right - they choose whom they will give it to
• You need to show that your organisation will achieve the goals, complete the job that you are asking money for - so be progressive, forward thinking, able to work in with changes and keep written and photographic records
• Become familiar with your common goals/interests/aims
• Have ideas that are well presented - something that they will take notice of
• Read, Read, Read the guidelines, application and related information
• Each grant is unique, spend the time needed to make each different application the best it can be
• Follow guidelines, answer every question, show respect to grant making organisation
• Be prepared for others in your group to review your work and make changes, and suggestions
Grant writing can be a challenge, but it can also be very rewarding, especially when you see the end result of the work put in. Get involved in your local community and enjoy making a difference!
Grant Writing – building relationships

4. Hi All,
We are continuing at looking about Grant Writing which has taken up much of my time the last few months - I'll admit at first it was so daunting that I found myself disliking the whole idea until my first grant application was successful! Whilst I'm still finding my way (like so many of you) the relationships I've built and things I've learnt have been valuable and worthwhile.
Building Relationships: We need to build relationships with like-minded people in the community whom we can bounce ideas off and work together to achieve a common goal.
Say you want a bus service in a remote area then you'll need to:
a) work out who requires the service - which groups, e.g. children attending local school, elderly, etc
b) who else in the community might be stakeholder in this idea - e.g. school, kindy, Home & Community Care Service, police, community services, Hospital, Aged Care facility, etc
c) who else might be willing to contribute to project with time and finances
d) which grant makers might have a suitable grant you can apply for
e) how much time will you need to devote to the project and will you need to form a committee to get project done?

These are just some ideas and certainly you will find that you could add to list - and if you have ideas please email me and if you agree I'm happy to include your comments. When Work-from-Home-Mums work together we can achieve GREAT Things!

5. Grant Writing – a skill that can be learned

Grant Writing isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone but it is one that can be learned. Persistence, perseverance and motivation are important factors if you wish to write grant applications. Many people are afraid to try and assist their community group/organisation with this important area because they have never tried. Why not have a go? You may find that you really enjoy the challenge and learning of new skills. Our communities need more community minded volunteers who would assist with their skills and talents.
To write grants you need to be a learner, researcher and trainer!
• Read, and this can’t be stressed enough that you must read the paperwork thoroughly – know the grant makers guidelines, the maximum amount that your group can apply for, what you can use the grant can be used for and what you can’t use it for, the terms, conditions and reporting requirements to grant organisation.
• Is your organisation/community group eligible to apply? Does the organisation meet the general guidelines of the grant?
• Does your group have its purpose statement, mission statement, budget, audited financials, and business plan as well as any operational budget
• Are you or is there a team of people responsible for overseeing the writing and application of the grant/s and will you or the Treasurer and management team oversee the distribution and reporting of funds?
• If you are required to obtain quotes make sure they are relevant- i.e. don’t get three quotes on 3 different item of equipment, make sure quotes are similar on models, items, etc• don’t rush – make sure you allow enough time to complete application and send it in
• Ask other people to read your application (within your organisation) and be prepared to edit and reflect as well as change your perspective• Ensure your operational budget is real and accurate, don’t pull figures out of the air. Keep your application easy to read, remove fancy/small fonts and consider line spacing
• Tell the story of what your group wants to achieve– but make it to the point and clear to understand, not longwinded or fanciful
• A checklist assists you so that you can tick off and know that all requirements are covered.
  •  The Grant maker/organisation will have people to assist you – contact them for help if you are unsure of questions and/or terms and conditions. Do this in plenty of time, not on last day of applications being accepted.
• When the grant your group has applied for is successful, allow sufficient time to review process, evaluate and address areas that can be improved. Also teach others the process you have learned.
• This is IMPORTANT! Make sure that all reporting requirements are followed through. That is, if you want to be considered for future grant opportunities.

6.  Special Projects

Over the next week, I'll share some tips and ideas on putting together a special project or event that requires funding. If you have any ideas, suggestions or tips you would like to share, please email them to me on admin@sallyirvine.com because the sharing of information and knowledge strengthens our groups and communities.
So here's a some to tips to get you started:

• What is your project/event?

• How will it help your group/community organisation

• How will it help the wider community

• What is the aims of the project/event

• What funds and resources do you need

• Who are the stakeholders

• What grants might be available

• What, if any, are the ongoing benefits after this project/event is finished?

We'll journey through this points during the next week!

Enjoy life - make a difference.

Special Projects (1)

What's the special project that your group would like to apply for funding for? If you were asked to answer in one sentence why your group believes the project is important what would you say?

So here's some tips I hope will give you some ideas:

• The name of your proposed project?

• a one sentence statement about the project?

• Who within your group/organisation has the skills, experience to assist/co-ordinate this project?

• Who else might be interested (stakeholders) from other groups/organisations within the community?

• Do you need to call a public meeting to gauge the interest in this project and should a committee be formed soley to oversee this project?
These are just a few tips to get you started.

7.  Special Projects (2)

2 blogs ago I summarised some tips for special projects/events. Last blog we looked at what special project your group might consider. This time we'll briefly look at how your special project/event might help your organisation and wider community. The road can be a long exhausting journey unless your group identifies just how it believes the project/event will help.
So you've agreed upon a project/event now what will be the benefits of the project/event. That is to say why should you invest time, resources and people into forming a plan to achieving your goal?
How might the project/event help your organisation? Here's some tips: Let's say you want to bring a speaker to your area to talk on topics that are issues within your community that your organisation has identified. How would this event help your organisation?

• Pool resources, skills, talents

• Identify administration, organisational and event planning skills within group

• Promote communication about what's happening within group/community

• Raise funds through different avenues (e.g. grants, donations, special fund raising event)

• Organise local interviews for when speaker arrives

• Bring group together - promoting teamwork

• provide a safe forum for group to interact

• learn skills, gather information that would assist group co-hesion

How might your project/event help the wider community?

• Provide a forum for people to gain information on issues affecting the community

• provide a safe environment for people to share and talk about issues

• assist those affected by issues

• build confidence within community to deal with issues

• provide a safe place for those affected to interact with wider community

Remember, these are just ideas and they may or may not assist with your local issues and events. If you and the stakeholders involved in the project/event can show how it would assist your community it can do the following:

• bring the community together on a common issue

• help raise necessary funds (through various avenues) to assist with project/event

• promote and strengthen community spirit and like-mindness.

You will be amazed at how the community will come together and how much can be achieved if your project/event is backed by local groups and the wider community. Your group can help your local community to take hold of its future and change the direction and make a positive difference. Enjoy life, make a difference!
Wind Turbines, Ravenshoe

8.  Special Projects (3)

From the last couple of blogs we'll continue looking at Special Projects/Events but now we'll turn to finding funds and identifing stakeholders.
Funds?! All organisations/groups need funds. Funds come in different ways- selling something, membership fees, donations, grants, special event fundraising, cake stalls, car washes etc. Your group needs to identify how funds will be raised for
a)normal operational activities and
b)special events and projects.

Stakeholders - who might be interested in contributing/partnering with your group to make the special project/event a reality? E.g. from previous blog how will your project/event help the wider community we used the example of bringing a speaker to the local area to talk on identified issues within the community. Now of course depending on what the issues are you might consider asking:

• local police

• local council

• local support groups

• local Churches

• local community service groups, e.g. Lions, Rotary etc

• local welfare groups

• local school

You will find as you look around your community that there are many other groups/organisations who might be interested in coming on board to assist and help raise funds, and organise project with you. You can be the catalyst to begin!

9.  Special Projects (4)

We come to the last of the related blogs for Special Projects/Events.

And we need to ask ourselves the question "What, if any, are the ongoing benefits of a group's special project/event?

We come back to our Example of bringing a speaker to town to talk on important issues that have been identified in the community. Brainstorm: how might this event/project help in the short term, medium and long term? What benefits might come to the group, and the wider community? Could a like-minded group be formed to action ideas and assist those whom need help? Is there ongoing funding or can your group sell copies of sessions (e.g. DVD's) to raise funds? What are the legal issues in doing this?
These are just some ideas to help you. It's important that programs/events/project have a time line but also that they would assist the community, groups and stakeholders involved and strengthen each one as well.
Enjoy life - enjoy doing things differently and making a difference in YOUR community!

10.   ourcommunity.com.au

Check this site our www.ourcommunity.com.au for resources, information and ideas to help your group/organisation access grants and fundraising ideas as well as training. Great resources to help local community groups, schools and not for profit organisations. Did you know that accessing training will help your group by:

• skilling local people in your community

• keep members longer as they know what the organisation is about

• encourage communication within the group

• encourage communication between your group, grant makers and stakeholders

• bring the community together and strengthen community pride

11.  Reviewing a Year with Grant Writing and its Outcomes...

As Christmas comes closer and many groups and organisations finalise business and activities so that everyone can have a break over the Christmas/New Year holidays, take the time to reflect on what has been achieved over the past year.

• What activities did your group work on and accomplish?

• What grants were applied for?

• Which grants were successful?

• What can your group learn from the grant writing process that will make the job easier next year?

• Did the financial accounts and budget meet requirements and do you need to organise the audit?

• Did your group say thank you to each other - encourage one another?

• Did your group record the work and accomplishments (e.g. photos, video, feedback)

These are just a few ideas and I'm sure you will be able to add to this list and that's part of the fun is adding your ideas. (PS I'd love to hear from you and share your ideas with others too! - That's building community)

12.  Helping Your Community Group – keeping accurate minutes

I thought I'd touch on the importance of keeping accurate minutes in a meeting whether it's your local sporting group or a community interest group or school group. Accurate minutes are like a map - they can remind us of the direction the group has chosen to take. Without them, a group can find that memories fail and people remember unwritten decisions differently and this then leads to problems and arguments.

"What are minutes"? Simply put they are a written record of what happened during a meeting. Minutes can be either a summary of what happened or very detailed - this depends on the group meeting and what is being discussed. Usually minutes contain "motions" - that is decisions made by the group that will be actioned. For example a sporting club may decide to purchase a trailer so that they can move their equipment easily with them when competing against other clubs. A member of the group will "move" a motion (I move that {name of group} purchases a trailer to the value of {$.....) for the purpose of {.............} from { name of supplier}. Then someone will second that motion and the decision will be put to the entire group for either acceptance or rejection.
These "motions" are important so that everyone can remember what is to be actioned in the next week, month, year/s. *Tip* Keep a separate book with minutes that will affect future committees as new people take up positions on the committee and they may not be aware of past decisions and why the group has actioned certain projects, etc.
If you are fortunate enough to become the secretary or minute keeper in a group, then take the time to ask questions from the previous person who held this position and don't be afraid to ask other members on the group for assistance. Look for ways that will make your job easier in recording. For example: everyone writes their name in a book for each meeting to confirm they are present. Have a register for the mail - that is a book which records all mail in and all mail out. Make sure that relevant reports are attached to each set of minutes and keep accepted copies of minutes in a display folder (1 pocket for each meeting). These are just a few tips which may help your group.
Malanda BillyCarts 2009

13.  Helping your Community Group (Meetings)

In your community group you will usually use certain terminology and acroynms which for the seasoned member are understood and accepted. However if you have new members on your committees then they will most likely look at you with a blank face and think you're talking a different language. So how can existing members help new members understand the everyday acroymns used within the group/organisation. A group can have an active, positive meeting or become frustrated by having to explain each acroynm over and over. When you travel a road you don't know you use a map - so a list of acroynms used within your group can help unravel the frustration.

Firstly, what is an acroynm? Accoring to Wikipedia - Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations that are formed using the initial components in a phrase or name. These components may be individual letters (as in CEO) or parts of words (as in Benelux or Delmarva). There is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the various terms (see nomenclature), nor on written usage (see orthographic styling). While popular in recent English, such abbreviations have historical use in English as well as other languages. As a type of word formation process, acronyms and initialisms are viewed as a subtype of blending.

In one organisation I'm involved in - Community Radio - we have a list which has been put together of the different acroynms used reguarly within our group. We've found that members can refer to the list to understand what organisation/project is being spoken of during the meeting. For Example: A.C.M.A. Do you know which organisation this is? It's the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Now if you have never had contact with ACMA before you wouldn't know who they were, but in the world of community radio in Australia, it's essential to know who ACMA is. I'm sure that your group would also be able to compile a list which even for seasoned members is helpful because sometimes we all forget...and the list is like a map we can all refer to!

So enjoy the challenge of being in community groups, making a difference and investing in your local area now and for the future!