Bid writing is a huge part of any business role. Glyn Marsh, Senior Financial Consultant with School Business Services, recently gives his top ten tips for School Business Managers.
Any Bid Is Like Applying For a New Job:
The grant awarder may not know you from Adam and so the only impression they’ll have is from your application. When writing it check, re-check and check your spelling; it would be a great shame to miss out on a grant from an organisation that supports the use of the English Language because your spelling and grammar aren’t up to scratch.
If All Else Fails, Read The Instructions:
Read and re-read the application criteria and ensure you submit everything they have asked for; budget plans, sketches, supporting statements. If the grant relates to a specific time frame don’t start doing anything before the start time.
Does It Fit With Their Ethos:
Select your grant giving organisations carefully; your success rate will be higher with an organisation whose ethos you meet. An off site ICT facility needed for alternative provision could be made available for ‘silver surfers’ if the charity could sponsor some equipment and identify a volunteer instructor. Piggy-backing another initiative could get the community involved.
‘It Will Give Me a Nice View Out Of My Window’:
. . is not usually a good enough reason for applying for a grant to develop waste ground into a growing area. However, approaching the local allotment association could provide a partnership organisation able to access funding on your behalf. For example, the FA wouldn’t entertain giving funding for an artificial playing surface unless a school had at least one community football club involved.
I’m Not Asking For Everything From You:
There’s a lot of demand on grant givers, so you’re likely to be more successful if you can demonstrate that you’ve made a bit of an effort yourself.
Keep It Local:
There are a significant number of grant givers who’ll only support organisations that support projects in a certain geographical area. Rather than approaching a national provider for a large grant try five local ones for the equivalent amount, you can then always invite them into an assembly to present the cheque – win / win.
Make It Personal:
Before submitting your application, contact the organisation seeking advice on the style of application. Always ask for clarity on the application criteria. This will get you a personal contact to whom you become a real person and not just another application. They may also offer to read a draft of your application ad when you send it in always send them an email to let them know you’ve done it.
Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself:
You can always delegate tasks. Asking lots of people to do things will help and it means you can demonstrate community involvement and its not just you burning the midnight oil.
You’ve Got To Be In It To Win It:
You won’t be successful with every application but, like the lottery, if you don’t buy a ticket you’ll never win the prize. Work on your probabilities and go for the ones you can win.
What Happens Next Year?:
This is often a question you’ll be asked as most grants are exactly that, a one-off grant, and are seen in many ways as pump-primers to get you going. Part of the grant application will expect you to demonstrate how you’ll go about sustaining the project.
The above text was part of an article in the February edition of Education Executive Magazine.