written by

Michael Woods (He/Him)

Maximizing grant success for inclusion and diversity projects

Are you a volunteer-run sporting organization in Australia struggling to secure grants for your projects? You're not alone. Many not-for-profit sporting organizations face challenges when it comes to obtaining funding, despite being eligible and having promising initiatives to pursue. The good news is that with the right strategies, you can maximize your chances of winning grants and propel your organization forward.

We have prepared this article with the help of our friends at Grant Professionals. We'll debunk common myths and provide valuable insights into the grant application process. Whether you're seeking local, state, or federal government grants, we'll equip you with the knowledge and tools to overcome obstacles and enhance your grant success.

Here's what you'll learn:

  • How to identify suitable grants
  • Tips for writing your grant
  • Other handy grant tips
  • Tips for winning inclusion grant projects

Read on to take your volunteer-run sporting organisation to new heights by maximizing your grant success to unlock new funding opportunities so you can get your next inclusion and diversity initiative off the ground.

How can an Australian Volunteer-run Sporting Organisation maximise its chances of winning grants?

While there are many grants offered by Local, State and Federal Government, many not-for-profit Sporting Organisations (SOs) struggle to attain funding directly, even though they are eligible and may have an eligible project for which to apply. We have found that there are many myths and misguided information being provided, for example:

  • Many unsuccessful applicants believe that they don’t use the ‘right words’ when preparing applications.
  • Some grant providers seek to help applicants by conducting grant writing training sessions but this requires more volunteer time to attend, grant writing cannot effectively be learnt after a short training session and nor do club volunteers write enough grants during the year to practice what they have learnt.
  • Many well-meaning advisers pass on details of grants which the SO “might want to have a look at” - often the grants are unsuitable or cannot be applied for by the SO.

Having been on committees at numerous volunteer run sporting organisations, our experience is that the lack of understanding of the grants that not-for-profit SOs should pursue, committee turnover, lack of time and lack of skills are the most common reasons that prevent SOs from maximising their chances of winning grants.

How to identify suitable grants?

With thousands of grants available, identifying suitable grants for SOs can be a minefield. There are many well-meaning ‘advisors’ who are happy to pass on grant opportunity details to SOs, but very few critically read the guidelines to ensure that the grant that they are promoting is suitable for the SO. We have seen many instances where SOs are encouraged to ‘look into’ grants that are closed and/or for which the SO is ineligible to apply! This often results in wasted time for SOs that are already time poor, frustration that they may be ineligible to apply and cements the SOs perception that they’re wasting their time with grants! So, identifying suitable grants that a SO can apply for is the critical first step.

Our friends at Grant Professionals, offer a no cost service whereby they notify SOs that register for their mailing list to receive notifications of suitable grants when they open. The notifications summarise the key points from the Grant Guidelines and often also provide examples of projects that have been successfully funded in past rounds (if available), to help SOs determine whether they have an eligible project / initiative. Should a Sporting Organisation on their mailing list identify a grant that we have not communicated, they are also happy to assess whether the grant is suitable and whether the SO and the proposed initiative is eligible.

Click here to get notified about suitable grants from Grant Professionals.

Writing the application

While preparing a grant application is not rocket science, applicants should adhere to the following if their application is to have any chance of success:

Tip1: Read the guidelines thoroughly

Tip2: Read the Grant’s website pages

Tip 3: Gather all mandatory documents

Tip 4: Answer the questions:

  • Be succinct
  • Observe the word limit
  • Understand and consider what the grant is seeking to achieve (e.g.: if the grant is seeking to provide equal access to all genders, then the writer should detail exactly how this will occur as a result of their project and avoid irrelevant side benefits)
  • Chat to the Grant Provider if unsure of whether your project fits the bill
  • Submit your application with all attachments before the deadline date
  • Ensure that everything is aligned.

So, if you do all of these things, does that guarantee that you will always be successful?

No, but it will maximise your chances of success.

Grants are competitive, which means that there will usually be winners as well as losers, as funding seldom aligns with the amount of demand for funding from all worthy applicants.

  • If successful, ensure that you complete all the necessary documentation and retain all evidence of costs, delivery confirmation, photos and details of project outcomes so that you can properly acquit the grant if and when asked to.
  • If unsuccessful, then don’t be afraid to seek feedback from the Grant Provider, as this could prove to be very valuable in the case that you submit another application in a subsequent funding round.

SOs who miss out on funding shouldn’t feel that their project is unworthy or that they have been rejected, as a subsequent submission which addresses the feedback / guidance given, will maximise chances of success if there is a subsequent round of funding.

What if an SO needs help to develop or deliver their project?

Many Grant Providers recognise that voluntary SOs may not necessarily have all the skills or expertise to design and deliver project outcomes on their own. For example, an SO:

  • looking to deliver a project that increases participation of children may require assistance establishing a Child Safe environment that complies with new legislation.
  • that is keen to have a more diverse and inclusive in the membership base may need some expert assistance form a reputable provider.
  • that needs to establish a strategy and business plan that will enable them to grow participation and improve the viability and resilience of their organisation may need to engage an experienced third party.

Grant Providers are often prepared to fund these costs if a reputable and qualified third party is engaged, as this will normally enhance the project and deliver improved outcomes.

Tips on winning grants for inclusion and diversity projects

The following tips will assist sporting organisations to prepare a compelling application for an inclusion and diversity project.

Clearly define the goals and objectives of the inclusion and diversity project

Start by outlining what your club or organisation aims to achieve through the project, and how the project aligns with your club's values and mission.

Identify the target audience

Who are the individuals or groups that will benefit from the project? Be specific about the demographics.

Partner with other organisations

Seek partnerships with other organizations that work with diverse communities, including local councils, schools, community groups, service providers. Collaborating with others can help you reach a wider audience and maximize your impact.

Develop a detailed project plan

Clearly outline the scope of the project, timelines, milestones, and how you will measure success. Make sure the plan is achievable, and that you have the resources and expertise to deliver on your goals.

Identify and address any potential barriers

Consider any potential barriers that may prevent people from participating in your program, such as language barriers, transportation issues, or cultural differences. Develop strategies to address these barriers.

Seek input from the target audience

Consult with the target audience to understand their needs, interests, and preferences. Incorporate their feedback into the project design and delivery.

Explain how your project will reduce barriers to access, improve equity and celebrate diversity

This will help show how your project will create inclusive, welcoming and safe sport opportunities and environments.

Next steps

  1. An excellent tool you can use to design your inclusion and diversity initiatives is Inclusive Sport Design's Program Planning Framework. Click this link to learn more.
  2. Need help with your planning your inclusion program and preparing your grant application? Contact us to get started.

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