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How to give your SME a competitive advantage when funding through grants

Funding through grants is beneficial for companies to secure additional resources for ongoing and future projects or other activities.  Aside from additional finance, grants are also a great way to improve your organization’s visibility because you will work with donors who have large networks. All this can help you in the long run to achieve your company’s vision. These benefits attract many companies to apply for grants, creating a competitive environment. There are many different ideas and proposed activities today for funding. When writing your grant proposal, whether it’s your first or hundredth time is always tedious work. Long working hours and the already mentioned competitive environment have discouraged many. We decided to give you some tips to help you secure your first grant before you give up.

Align your organization’s vision with the project

If you already found grant calls that relate to your organization’s vision you have already completed half of the work. Sometimes donors will put up open calls where applicants can write about anything they want. Finding common ground with your donor is especially crucial since you will surely get their attention when reviewing your proposal. Donors prefer organizations that have clear strategies and an understanding of the domain they specialize. Today more than ever, having a sustainable vision for your company is a top priority for many of your donors. Applying for a grant for the sole purpose of acquiring funds is a big NO.

Create the proposal from your reviewer’s perspective

It is important to understand the grant reviewers and their scoring criteria for your proposals. They are people too who most likely don’t understand your industry’s jargon or acronyms. Writing your proposal as easy as possible for them to understand your plans is key to a better proposal ranking. You should always assume your reviewer knows nothing about your company. This will motivate you to pitch your proposal as clearly as possible. Even if your reviewer does know you, due to many submitted proposals, most likely will only review your application documents.

Revise and proofread your proposal multiple times

Never underestimate the time you have to submit your proposal. The earlier you start the more time you will have to polish it. Make sure to bring an extra set of eyes for reviewing your documentation. If you are determined to submit a well-prepared proposal, have someone outside your organization review your documents and provide feedback. Remember, start writing as early as possible. You may need a week to complete the documentation, but constantly reviewing and perfecting it can take longer than that.

Always serve and involve your stakeholders

One thing that many applicants overlook is researching the stakeholders they serve. Because finding the root causes of the issues is the focal point of impactful solutions. This will also ensure that your application isn’t positioned in a way where it does something but no one’s sure what. Let your activities help your stakeholders overcome their obstacles and foster cooperation.

If your organization is striving for access to this type of funding, it’s important to note that not every application brings success given the competition. Our tips may guide you on how to write the perfect proposal but perseverance and acquiring learning points from each application is the biggest competitive advantage you and your company can possess. 

Filip Dzhambazoski

Filip Dzambazoski works as Marketing & Communications Assistant at Impact Foundation. Filip's completed his branch of studies in Law but is passionate about exploring new fields and expanding his knowledge. For him, "Realizing your passion by helping others find theirs" directly correlates to the way we should shape today's leaders into the future decision-makers.