What if a grant is suddenly available, but your project's not investment ready?
So, the perfect funding opportunity has finally come along but your project's not investment ready. Do you:
(A) Fudge your project so that it meets the funding requirements; or
(B) Hold off for now?
For sure the temptation's option A, however, the correct answer is B. Either submit a competitive application or hold your fire.
Better to make a great impression with a well-thought out project than to muddy the waters and confuse funders. You might apply for support again in the future, so best not create the impression that your organisation doesn't know what it's doing or lacks the skills to draft an application.
When it comes to grants, the key is to be adaptable but not overly opportunistic. Grants should support identified business goals and bring projects forward. Don't create a project just to win a grant, no matter how tempting it might be.
Grant funding is always very competitive. Successful projects need to be well-developed and make strong, evidence-based claims against a set merit criteria. Projects in the concept or early stages of planning might be eligible to apply but are unlikely to be competitive when they're assessed against investment-ready projects.
Similarly, if the funding on offer is for developing a business case or feasibility study, your project idea will need to be well developed.
If a funding round opens and you're not ready to apply, then don't. Continue to develop the business case for your project and look to apply to a future round of funding instead.
Five signs you're not ready to apply for funding:
- You can't articulate your project’s regional or strategic fit
- You're unable to produce evidence to support the need for your initiative
- Any co-funding or in-kind partner contributions aren't confirmed in writing
- You're yet to identify all applicable regulatory approvals
- You haven't sought an independent opinion or had fresh eyes gaze over your project plans and supporting documents