5 Tests to decide if a grant is worth pursuing

February 18, 2022
min read

Huge amounts in funding opportunities are undeniably tempting.

Merely sighting a 6-figure grant opportunity can set your heart racing. You may even begin to think about the many things you can do with such huge funding.

But before you rush into applying for that opportunity, there are key factors to consider. Reading through the Request for Proposal sure takes a big chunk of time, but it’s nothing compared to the time you’ll waste if you apply for a grant that is a bad fit.

Fortunately, we have come up with 5 litmus tests to help you determine if a grant is a good fit for you. Let's dig in:

#1. Eligibility

Eligibility criteria are always stated in the application announcement.

Is the grant open to your nationality?

What is the focus area of the fund?

Is it focused on women-led initiatives?

Is it focused on your industry?

Imagine losing a proposal only because you applied for a grant that prioritizes French-speaking countries as a Nigerian organization.

Take your time to be sure you fit into the eligibility criteria.

If your organization isn’t eligible, move on.

#2. Focus Areas/Funder Priorities

This is almost the same as the first. We cannot overemphasize the importance of alignment in winning a grant. Alignment is the magic wand in winning a grant. If your organization is not within the focus area of a funding opportunity, please move to the next one.

No matter how compelling your proposal is, a recycling proposal will not stand a chance in an opening for sexual abuse advocacy.

To determine if your organization is a good fit based on the funding priorities, think about the work you do every day. Do your operational activities align with the funding priorities?

#3. Matching Fund

The matching fund is the total amount of funds your organization must contribute to the execution of your proposed project. For example, if the funders require a 25% matching fund and you desire to apply for $100,000 then you must contribute $25,000.

Although some funders allow you to meet part or all of your matching funds with volunteer hours and/or other in-kind contributions, others might want the entire matching fund to be in cash.

Before you apply for such opportunities, you have to be very confident you can meet any matching requirement because if you win the grant, you'll be on the hook for those funds.

#4. Deadlines

Pulling together a winning grant proposal is no small feat. It takes lots of uninterrupted time, information, and documentation. Be realistic about your organization’s capacity to pull together a quality proposal within the application deadline before you commit to it.

#5. Number of Awards

Winning grant funding is based on probability. The less competitive a grant, the better your chances. Try to determine the competitiveness of the grant program by dividing the total number of applicants by the number of awards made. Check the announcement of winners for the last funding cycle (funders usually mention the total number of applicants) and do the maths.

If there are 1,000 applicants and 100 of those are funded, that means you have a 10% chance of getting funded. If you are unable to determine the total number of applicants, you can simply consider the total number of awards and the likely pool of applicants.

For example, if the funder is awarding 150 grants and it’s only open to Nigerian-based organizations, then organizations across the country stand a good chance of being awarded. But if the funders aim to award 5 projects worldwide (meaning millions of organizations are eligible for the award), then your chances are slim.

If you are looking for professional help in putting together a winning grant proposal, hire one of our rockstar grant writers here

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