Apply for More Grants in 2023: Three Tips to Broaden Your Eligibility

Davida Opara
January 19, 2023
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6
min read

2023 can be a game changer for your impact-driven organisation, whether it is an NGO or a startup. Nonetheless, this depends on the decisions you make before and within the year. One of the best decisions that you can make to accelerate your organisation in 2023 is to apply for and win grants. While grant funding is not exactly free money, it would enable you to reach your business/organisational goals without breaking the bank – and without the fear of mounting debts or going through the enormous hassle of securing equity-funding.

Of course, so long as you have a great project design and other basic requirements for winning grants, your chances of success increases with each grant you apply for. However, you can only apply for a grant that you are eligible for as revealed in a funder's request for proposals. While this might seem like an obstacle in applying for and winning more grants, it is possible to broaden your eligibility for various grants. In this article, I will be walking you through 3 proven tips to help you qualify and apply for more grants in 2023.

Ensure Your Organisation Prioritises Gender Equality/Inclusion or Women Empowerment

In 2022, there were numerous grant opportunities that were either exclusively for:

If your startup or NGO is still at its early stage, engaging a woman co-founder or ensuring that women are included in your senior leadership will automatically open you up to a broader range of grant opportunities. Nonetheless, inclusivity also extends to the culture of your organisation: are women supported? Is there equal pay for equal work? Does your organisation have special provisions for maternity? While gender equality/inclusivity in the workplace has a correlation with better financial performance, it also provides extra points you will need to win your next grant!

Moreover, you will also need to consider your beneficiaries: do your products or services have a solid impact on women? What percentage of women are you currently impacting and what can you do to increase your reach? In recent times, many grants – including those that do not compulsorily require a percentage of women beneficiaries – accord preference to projects that are able to reach a diverse group of people and/or encourages gender equality.

Finally, if your organisation has the resources to run multiple programs simultaneously, you can consider designing a project with 100% women beneficiaries that also aligns with your mission and goals.

Broaden the Geographical Scope of your Programs/Projects

Basically, when you implement your projects across a broader geographical area, especially in more than one country, your eligibility to apply for more grants widens. Some grant funders, especially development organisations like the African Development Bank, tend to prefer projects that reach 2 or more countries in Africa. Also, you would be able to apply for grants available in one country that might not be available in the other.

Of course, broadening the geographical scope of your project will require more resources, as well as the need for improved communications across possibly different time zones, country representatives, and perhaps multicultural teams. But don't get discouraged at that prospect yet; there are ways to reach beneficiaries from other countries even if you are on a "budget":

  • Run a virtual, or hybrid program.

    When Grant Master held the second edition of her Creative Writers' Fellowship, we had nearly 1500 applications from multiple African countries, and the pool of selected applicants who underwent the training also represented over 7 African countries. This was possible because the training was entirely virtual, and the team was able to maximise the same resources that could have been used to deliver the training to just one country (like we had done in the first edition) to include other countries.
  • Secure those Partnerships!

    Professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and Zoom have made it possible to network and connect with people and organisations from other countries without leaving the comfort of your office – or room. You can conduct your due diligence to discover potential partners that could act as implementing partners within their country. This would ultimately increase the geographical reach of your project.

Utilise Digital Technology

We have already seen how making your projects go virtual can seamlessly broaden your reach. But it doesn't end there: integrating technology and IT solutions particularly, such as including the use of mobile applications in your project design, can widen the grant funding opportunities available to you. For instance, you can see the eligibility criteria for grants like Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility .

Why are grant funders so obsessed with tech? Because technology has a potential to catalyse impact. Just think about the difference online MOOC providers like Cousera and Udemy have made to education! The best part is that you and your team do not need to internally have a technical expert to be able to integrate tech into your project or product; you can always work with contractors to bring your product ideas to life.

Conclusion

There are several grants that will have your name on them in 2023 if you just broaden the range of grants you can apply for. In this article, we have reviewed three insider tips to help your social impact organisation do this; prioritising gender diversity in your organisation and projects, expanding your organisation's reach to other countries, and integrating technology into your products and services or project. Which of them will you apply this year?

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