Tips for writing an application

By | March 18, 2016

Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start with writing a project application. You know you are passionate about your project, but experience tells you that’s not always enough. Here are three tips for writing an application to help you get going.

1. Why this?

– What’s important about your project?

The first point to address is why this particular project should be funded. It might be obvious to you why this project is important, but to an outsider, like the person reading your project, it might not be so clear. Many of the competing proposals will also be worthy of funding, but your challenge is to make sure yours is.

You need to address the priorities and pressures of the person or organisation you are applying to. Find out what they care about and think about how your project proposal addresses those issues.

Ask around, read the project advert, or just check out the website of where you are applying to. There will almost be some advice or guidance on the kind of thing they are looking for.

Make sure you provide evidence that your project fits what the funders are looking for.

2. Why now?

– Why does your project need to happen now?

Having addressed point one you may well have an excellent case that your project deserves funding or backing. The next danger is that they might read the application and think “well that’s a good thing to fund, but we can always find it next time”.

If you don’t make it clear that approval or funding is needed right now, there is more of a danger that you will lose your place to a more urgent request for help.

It’s not enough to demand that your project be funded, you should find examples to show the consequences if you don’t get funding or approval now.  For example there might be an event coming up that your project feeds into, a decision that will be made that needs your project’s input. Highlighting these imminent events helps emphasize that your project is important, and timely.

Make it clear that not funding your project now would be a missed opportunity.

3. Why you?

– Why are you the best person to complete this project?

The final piece of the puzzle is to make it clear why you (your team, or organisation, etc) are the right people for the job. You want to avoid thoughts of “Great project, and it needs to happen now, but those guys really don’t know what they are doing”.

The main things to convey here are a) you are competent, and b) you get the job done. A good place to start is with specific examples of where you have delivered before.

Ideally these examples will be similar to the project you are applying for now, but even being able to demonstrate a track record of completing projects (on time and on budget) will help reinforce the idea that you will deliver what you promise for the project.

You need to demonstrate that you are competent and will get the job done.