Creating a powerful, emotive and thought provoking case for support is an area where a good number of otherwise excellent grant funding applications fall down. Producing a clear, well structured and memorable case for support is difficult in that it requires a combination of creative and formal writing styles that is challenging to get right. We’ve put together this short guide to help you understand what you need to do and some of the best ways to go about achieving it.
What is a case for support? Every grant application will provide an opportunity to explain clearly why you require financial support and what you will do with it. This concept is the foundation of your application and represents your best chance to capture the attention of grant making staff.
Nearly every funding organisation in the world has reported increased numbers of applications for support. The rise in the number of NGOs combined with significantly increased awareness and access to funder’s has resulted in intense competition. Research has shown that due to the increase in volume of requests some grant-maker’s have had to reduce the amount of time evaluating applications. Consequently, it is more difficult yet simultaneously more important than in previous years to get this key section right.
One of the fundamental factors to consider when producing and utilising your case for support is your audience. Depending on who you are speaking to we would suggest tailoring your approach to suit your audience. The more personal and tangible you can make your appeal to the the audience you are talking to the more impact and results it is likely to generate.
For example, if you are talking to someone unfamiliar with your work or the problem you are trying to resolve it would be wise to keep your information simple and to the point. Whereas, if you are conversing with a representative of a grant making foundation who works in the same field you can include technical information on your programs. Another factor to consider is the amount of time you have available to deliver your pitch.
Avoid using buzzwords and jargon whoever you are addressing. Keep the details of your program as clear and simple to understand as possible. You should focus your pitch on the strengths of your project, whether that is in the delivery, results, the human elements, case studies, sustainability or long term impact. Make sure to show off the best of your work, this will help you to emphasize why your organisation in particular deserves funding more than your rivals.
Note the funding history and values of the funder you have approached and amend your call for support to them. Try to find a way of highlighting the values that your organisations share and how your project supports their vision and mission for the world. However strong your case is won’t matter at all if you cannot find a suitable way to match your project with the funder’s priorities.
This is where effective research can make the difference between success and failure. The more you know about the people you are speaking to the better placed you will be to understand them and apply your work to the funder’s situation.
Remember the time and enegy you invest into creating a winning case for support should not be forgotten after you have filed your application. Once you have settled on a strong and passionate case for support that people can relate to you can use it with your other donors and at fundraising and awareness events. When speaking face to face you will likely only have a short window to convince someone that they should consider supporting your cause.
A good case of support will stand you in good stead not only when producing applications but can open doors to other opportunities such as promotional links and features in publications. You never know when you might bump into someone who is able to positively affect your cause!
Do you have a tried and tested case for support? Let us know in the comments.