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Tips to Navigate Your Way Through a Grant Funding Portal

Tips to Navigate Your Way Through a Grant Funding Portal

Nancy Moore

The thought of completing an online grant funding application may feel a little overwhelming at first, however, I often tell people that navigating through a grant funding portal is like piecing together a puzzle. Don’t let the overall picture overwhelm you, instead break it down, piece-by-piece. The grant funding application process takes time, practice, and patience to complete successfully; here are some tips on how to navigate your way through grant funding portals, no matter how complex they are.

Project proposal: Before considering the process of any application, develop a project proposal document which allows you to conceptualize your project or program in writing. This document also serves as an important reference for you during the application process, providing information for a Letter of Request (LoR), budget template and the portal application itself. Should you be successful in your request, it can also be used to brief your team or partners on the project and its delivery.

Project proposal details. Be concise and succinct in providing details about your project, the systems often have a word count limit. You want to provide the key information about your project as follows:

  • Aims and objectives
  • Unmet needs
  • Educational objectives
  • Target audience
  • Deliverables
  • Timelines
  • Impact evaluation criteria
  • Other supporters
  • Budget

Don’t feel you have to provide every detail, however, practice how to summarize these key points for the portal application, as you will have the opportunity to upload your project proposal at the end.

Register and Log-in. Be prepared with information about your organization, including contact details, legal entity, tax status, annual turnover and executive board members. Ensure any requested documentation (for example W-8BEN-E tax form) is current and signed; apply information to organizational letterhead (for example banking details). This sounds simple but it often takes time to find the information and prepare the relevant documentation.

Project start date. Funders will not support projects that have started or are about to start, so be sure to allow sufficient time between submitting the grant application and the project start date. A good guide would be to allow 60 to 90 days and an additional 14 days for contingency (for example contractual amendments). 

Funder’s budget template. Should you have to complete a budget using the funder’s template, allow yourself time to complete this task. Often this part of the portal is the most time consuming. It is strongly advised that you do this offline and use an Excel spreadsheet with color codes to track where costs have been allocated from your project budget to the funder’s budget. Once costs are allocated accordingly, complete the funder’s budget template. Hopefully the budget will all add up however, if you do find any discrepancies, you will have your Excel spreadsheet to reference and amend accordingly. Funders like to be informed how their funds will be allocated for the project, make sure you outline this within your proposal.

Uploading supporting documentation. The types of documents requested vary from funder to funder, some ask for more, others ask for the minimum. Documents required for upload tend to include the LoR; proposal; budget and tax document. Regarding the LoR, if you are able, provide the organization’s banking details; outline any special arrangements and list any supporter benefits within the annex. The more information you provide upfront will assist the efficiency of the funding process.

Submitting the application. Once you have completed the portal (including the compliance questions) make sure to proof-read the application and then ask a colleague to review. Hitting that submit button is never easy, there is no going back! Have the confidence to submit the grant application knowing it will go through committee review and if the funder requires additional information, they will request these at a later stage.

Tracking. Congratulations! You submitted your grant application. The next steps would be to track the grant application. Make sure to periodically check-in with the funder and don’t be shy to politely ask for a status update.

Be mindful that no funding application process is the same, all you can do is be prepared and ensure you put enough time aside to complete the process without any unnecessary pressure. Good luck and please contact us should you require any advice or guidance.

About Nancy Moore

In her role as a Grants Manager, Nancy Moore is responsible for the management of the partnership grants at Colab Health. Nancy is skilled in working with Non-profit and charity organizations. Drawing on her 20 (+) years business administration experience she has a keen eye for detail, continually improving workflow and is highly organized in managing multiple numbers of grant applications across various workstreams. Nancy has great interpersonal skills, and her work is often appreciated by colleagues and the many partnering organizations she is/has worked with. 

Articles by Nancy Moore

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