Writing a Submission for Funding
Many organisations function on very limited or no resources, however, to ensure ongoing service delivery, it is necessary for organisations to seek additional funding.
There are four main sources which an organisation can seek funding from. These include
Australian Government (Federal/Commonwealth)
State Government, e.g. Queensland Government
Local Government (Council/Shire)
philanthropic organisations/companies, e.g. banks, mining companies and large retailers.
Funding is usually used to:
purchase equipment and resources
cover the costs of salaries or specialised expertise for a limited period
contract amenities and facilities
manage a project or program
Preparing a submission
Writing a submission for funding can be overwhelming, time consuming, and at times, an unrewarding process (if unsuccessful) for an organisation.
Prior to writing the submission, the organisation should consider the following:
What is the project?
How much money is needed?
Can the organisation’s current budget cover any of the costs?
Does the organisation have enough staff members to effectively manage the project?
Do we have enough time, expertise and commitment to write the submission?
Do we have access to expertise in submission writing that can assist, if needed?
The proposed project/program for which the organisation is seeking funding must meet the eligibility requirements of the funding guidelines. Therefore, it is very important to read the funding guidelines and any other related documents thoroughly before writing the submission.
If the project/program meets the funding guidelines, the guidelines will specify the information required to complete the submission. The organisation may wish to involve or consult with persons of expertise in the relevant area or collect further information from existing publications or studies to ensure that these requirements are met.
If you are unsure, make contact with the funding body to seek clarity about the funding guidelines. In some cases, the funding body may agree to meet (or telelink) with you to discuss the following:
priority target groups and types of projects, including expected outcomes/benefits
format/presentation of application, including additional information or attachments
terms and required conditions of funding eg reporting requirements.
If your project/program does not fit the funding guidelines, do not proceed with the submission to this funding body. Alternatively, the organisation may seek alternative funding from other bodies that fits with the project/program.
Allow plenty of time to complete all the funding guideline requirements to meet the submission deadline.
Writing the submission
It is suggested that you customise your submission to meet the funding guidelines format of the funding body. Allow plenty of time to complete the submission by the specified deadline.
Helpful hints for presenting the submission:
Attach a cover letter – should introduce the organisation, state the relevant funding source and include a brief statement introducing the project/program.
Use a title page - should provide a brief description of the project including aims and outcomes/benefits to the clients.
Make sure it is easy read and clearly presented (well-structured).
Use short sentences and short paragraphs – be concise and do not use jargon.
Be focused on the aim/outcomes of the program/project.
Have consistent use of fonts (lettering), spacing, bullet-points, etc.
Bold major headings and underline subheadings.
Use diagrams such as tables, charts, etc.
Get someone to proofread the submission.
Keep a full copy of the submission for your organisation’s records.
Content of submission
The information required for submissions can range from short and simple documents to lengthy and complex documents. In most cases, however, funding bodies prefer a concise document that usually includes the following information.
Project/program needs statement
In this section, you need to identify the problem/issue to be addressed and why the project/ program is needed. The organisation should also explain/argue why they are the most appropriate organisation to receive funding to deliver this project/program. Provide examples of other projects in which the organisation has been successful in receiving funding and delivering measurable outcomes.
In this section, state the goals of your project. These are broad outcomes of the project. These should be realistic and have some degree of measure that reflects some positive change occurring. These should be specific to the target group and the project. For example, "To strengthen the cultural identity of youth aged between 14 and 18 years”.
Project/program activities and resources (scope)
In this section, describe the proposed activities in detail. For example, include the following information:
List the activities and when the activity will be run and the length of activity.
List staff and non-staffing resources required to complete each activity.
Attach a proposed budget (if required).
List measures of success for the activities (sometimes called performance measures).
Funding bodies may request a separate itemised budget sheet for all project-related expenses. These expenses should include administrative/operational expenses.
A proposed budget may include:
Salary (include award level and rate, hours work)
Leave entitlement including sick and holiday leave (if applicable)
Advertising and publicity
Equipment, e.g. computers, projectors, sporting etc
Hire of vehicles
Hire of venue
Photocopying and printing (including paper and service fees)
Travel, e.g. taxi, airfares, mileage, parking
Assessment and reporting expenses
The organisation should be able to address the guidelines within the main body of the submission. However, sometimes additional information is required.
For example, attachments may include:
Letters of support
Audited financial statements
Certificate of Incorporation
Research evidence that support your submission
Resume/outline of professional experience of key staff members.
Letters of Support
It is suggested that the organisation attach letters of support from individuals and/or relevant organisations. These could include federal or state members of parliament, local council members, government departments and other local organisations.
For example, if the organisation intends to work in partnership with another organisation, ask this organisation to write a letter in support of the project/program. This letter should include comments regarding the importance of the project/program and the anticipated outcomes/results for the target group or community.
Monitoring and evaluation
In this section, include how you plan to monitor and assess outcomes of the project. Include the following information:
list of person/s who will be monitoring and evaluating the project/program
records which will be kept
costs involved with monitoring and evaluating project/program.
The summary is a very important part of the proposal, because it tends to be the next most often read part of the submission. It needs to wrap up the entire proposal in the submission in a short paragraph. It should be inspirational, but realistic and attainable. The summary should motivate the funding body to read through the submission and ultimately approve funding.
Submission negotiations and acknowledgement when successful
The funding body may chose to discuss the submission with you. For example, the funding body may support the outcomes of the program/project but may wish to negotiate certain aspects such as costs, method of operation, etc.
It is important for the organisation to:
be clear about what the funding body wishes to discuss/negotiate.
know who will be attending the meeting and their contact details.
determine which aspects of the project/program may be negotiated.
keep a record of the discussion, including decisions made and timeframes.
When you are successful in your grant application, always formally acknowledge the grant with a thank you letter. If you are not successful in an application, try to find out why by asking for feedback from the funding body.
Notify and thank again the organisation/s that supported the funding application.
Advertise the approved project/program to the relevant target group and relevant organisations.
You may wish to acknowledge the funding body on any publications released to the public. To obtain permission to use the logo for the Department of Communities, contact your local Community Support Officer who will need to complete a Logo Request Form.
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