Grant writing is not rocket science – you don’t need a degree to write grants BUT you do need to have great research skills, great wordsmithing skills plus a thorough knowledge of funding programs and where to find funding opportunities. One of the major problems that non profit organisations and businesses face in the current economic climate is that Government agencies, Councils and even Philanthropic Foundations and Trusts are really reviewing their funding budgets and certainly with State and Federal Governments many are now actively seeking to find savings and one area they can find savings is to slash budgets involved with popular and long standing funding programs. For instance in Queensland we have had two very popular funding programs – Gambling Community Benefit Fund and Jupiters that have served non profit organisations very well now for a number of years. However the past Labor Government took significant funds out of the program to divert to other Government spending and now the LNP Government has slashed the maximum amount of funding available through the Jupiters Community Benefit Fund from $150k to $75k. Further, as a result of the State Government slashing ongoing funding to hundreds of non profit organisations early in 2012 the chase for elusive funding in Qld is very challenging. All other State Governments have also either slashed funding to non profit organisations or will also review funding regimes. This means that the competition for funding is enormous and that only the best applications/projects will generally be successful. This is where organisations and their planning processes come to the fore. Successful organisations are those generally with a long standing commitment to a robust strategic planning regime.
Planning for the future is as much vital to non profit organisations as it is to businesses. With the current squeeze on funding opportunities, planning is more important now than ever in the non profit world. Essentially organisations should have in place 5 year strategic plans which look forward 5 years and guide the organisation’s direction over this period. These strategic plans should be developed in our view through a discussion with stakeholders and an assessment of the competition. By including key stakeholders such as clients/members/committee/staff/volunteers/local politicians in the discussions or when holding a planning workshop, organisations can really be comfortable that their forward plans will be robust, inclusive and reflective of the organisations overall goals and objectives. In these planning processes important projects including those requiring external funding should be identified and included in the plan. By forward planning and ensuring that well thought out projects will be progressed this will also by default give the organisation a better chance of securing funding when applications are made. Most organisations rarely plan as such and when a funding program is announced or becomes available it is only then that they try and develop a project concept that might fit with the identified funding opportunity. This is fraught with failure. Well planned projects will always have a better opportunity of winning funding than something thrown together at the last minute. We at Red Tape Busters firmly believe in working with our clients to develop quality projects BEFORE chasing funding.