Regardless of whether the individual or group chooses to work with Community Connections or not, it makes the most sense for those who have the background, vision, and passion for the idea to complete the key content of the grant application. If Community Connections is on the team then there will be information relative to CC’s mission, organization, experience, and background that CC will complete on the application form. If CC is not part of the team, this information would be provided by the grant applicant. Prior to final submission of the application to the funding body, information gathering, planning, understanding capabilities and resources needed, writing the actual grant application, and review and obtaining feedback, may all need to be done for a complete application. The applications and processes will be different from each funding body. Within any funding body there can be a number of different grant program offerings which in all likelihood will have different forms between them. It is very important to properly follow guidelines and processes, meet deadlines provided by the funding bodies, and in this way ensure grant applications are not rejected.
Important questions to ask before you start completing an application:
- How would you briefly describe your project?
- What is the need and priority? How do you know?
- What are the objectives and benefits? Can benefits be measured?
- Is this a one-time project or does it have long term sustainability?
- Do you have the resources, support, team, and time to do the project?
- What activities make up the work plan required to reach the goal?
- What budget is required to properly complete your work plan?
- Are there statistics or background documents supporting the need?
Proven success criteria for applications include identifying your team and partners, those who will play leadership roles, and those who will provide support and take responsibility for the project. As mentioned, Community Connections can act as the umbrella society to assist with grant submission, offer administrative support regarding funds as your project is conducted, and provide some amount of project oversight. Having said that, the ultimate project ownership and responsibility belongs to the project team, committee, or council, and Community Connection’s role is primarily as funding administrator unless other responsibilities are agreed to.
For any organization or group, grant providers can ask for your organization programs, services, structure, membership information, directors list or support groups, and recent audited or current financial statements and budgets. This is something to be aware of, have organized, and be prepared to provide.
Be sure to spend ample time developing your work plan and budget. This is where items can be overlooked which will later adversely impact your project and finances. Examples of these are tasks and costs related to advertising, administration of funds, insurance needs, contracted skills, travel, project contingency, workers compensation allowance, and other. Make accurate estimates and obtain quotes where ever possible. It may be challenging to develop an elaborate work plan at an early stage but even a high level plan with as much detail as possible can be of great value. In addition to catching overlooked items mentioned, it may help to identify “in-kind” work components, where multiple fund sources can be used, opportunities to fund raise, or additional skills that are needed.
Services CC may provide at this point in the grant application build process are:
- Include Community Connections on the application as the sponsoring organization
- Indicate that Community Connections will be administering the funds and providing support
- Provide samples used on other grant submissions and projects
- grant applications, project budgets, agreements, invoices, financial & summary reports
- Hints and tips on completing a grant application
- Review or provide feedback on the grant application (by CC Admin and/or CC Board)
- Interface with grant funders needing clarity on the grant application
Grant Funders will establish deadlines for the submission of grant applications. In many cases there will be more than one deadline during any given year. It is important to stay ahead of and meet these deadlines or a grant application can be automatically rejected. Often the grant application will be received by a first point of contact and upon review they may request more information, clarity, revisions, and have questions for the grant applicant. Many grant funders will allow grant applicants to discuss their grant project and progress prior to submission. This can be most helpful in building a positive relationship with a grant funder and ensuring the grant application is on the right track. Once this level of review is complete the grant will be put before a grant reviewing body or group for review, discussion, and to make a decision on whether to accept or reject the application. If the grant application is rejected the grant applicant is usually notified. If the application is accepted the grant applicant will be notified and the grant funder will process the necessary paperwork and in some situations setup an agreement. This would typically be followed by a cheque to the organization named on the grant application. This whole process can take from weeks to months to complete depending on the grant application and organization.
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