National policies regarding grant investment in communities and rural areas recommend that local development should be locally driven. Focusing on a bottom-up approach, led by local stakeholders and local partnerships, is highly encouraged. In our experience, there are a number of key priority issues that your grant proposal should try to address.
Here are 3 areas you should consider for a successful, locally-led grant application:
1. Identify your community need
There are several community grants available on an annual or semi-annual basis, offering varying levels of funding. Each grant application welcomes a range of proposals for community development. Before proceeding with your proposal, it is important to ask the following key questions:
- What does our community lack?
- What facilities or resources might help address one of our current social issues?
- What facilities might attract new people to our area?
We advise that you focus on developing your response to the above areas in a thorough manner. It is not best practice to rush this process – application assessment rounds re-appear, and it is better to have a well-rounded, shovel ready plan than an incomplete application. Organisations should consult local community groups and stakeholders, conduct surveys, and consider the ‘multi-use’ aspect of your idea.
2. Focus on inclusivity in your grant application
Consider a project that offers something for everyone, no matter their age, ability, or interest. The more inclusive projects typically score higher when it comes to grant assessment. In addition, consider the potential for a social enterprise to collaborate with your project. Most grants will require fiscal projections and want consideration to be made to the future financial sustainability of your project.
Consider inclusivity factors, such as:
- Will there be job creation as a result of your project?
- Could it stimulate the local economy by attracting tourists?
- Will it provide additional facilities for your community, such as an event space?
It’s important to focus on the broader aspect of your community, rather than your personal interests. Doing so will ensure that your project is inclusive and benefits a broad range of diverse community members.
3. Consider long-term projections
It is important to consider the long-term social impact and sustainability of your project. Try to base this off citeable academic research, as local authorities and grant assessors will take an evidence-based approach to evaluation. Consider your project’s long-term projections, such as:
- Who will oversee and run this project?
- Do we need to set up a new committee?
- Does that committee contain team members with useful professional backgrounds in; project management, construction, accountancy, business development?
Considering the future social impact of your project will aid your overall application. Adopting a future-focused plan which contains innovative ideas, rather than repeated projects, are highly regarded by Local Authorities. Therefore, it’s advisable to consider how your project is innovative and could be replicated in other communities, whilst still supporting the strategic objectives of local and national development policies.
Get in touch – grant applications
Oftentimes, grants applications can seem like a lengthy process which may be difficult to navigate. If you’re considering applying for a grant, but require expertise and assistance, get in touch with our Director of Grants & Economic Services, Patricia Keenan on 086 0657347. To view our previous projects, or the range of grant supports we offer, visit here.