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10 Tips for Writing the Best Grant Application

Posted January 22, 2018 by LSC

Land Stewardship Centre is pleased to once again be accepting applications for the Watershed Stewardship Grant (WSG). If you have a project in mind to enhance, protect or restore Alberta’s precious water resources, consider applying. Stewardship and synergy groups, naturalist organizations, recreational and community associations, and other non-profits can apply. We invite and encourage creative, innovative and collaborative projects.

As you think about preparing your grant application, our new Stewardship Program Coordinator, Alexandra Frederickson, has put together 10 tips and suggestions that will help make your grant application the best it can be:

  1. Contact the Program Coordinator to get feedback on your project. The Program Coordinator can provide insight and feedback on whether your group is eligible, if your project is aligned with WSG priorities as well as suggestions for ways to improve your application.
  2. Read the Application Process document and other program resources on the WSG webpage. After consulting with the Program Coordinator, it’s suggested you read through all these documents to gain insight into what the WSG is, what the grant has funded in the past and what the criteria and restrictions are. With this understanding of the WSG, you can begin to shape your proposal accordingly.
  3. Ensure your project is aligned with at least one of the key priorities identified by Alberta Environment and Parks. The WSG was created to support the Alberta Government’s Water for Life Strategy so it is important to ensure that your project aligns with one or more of the 6 listed priorities, found in Application Process document. In your application, clearly show the link between your project and the priority you are addressing.
  4. Be concise and to the point. Groups often struggle to hit the right balance between providing sufficient detail while still remaining concise. Strive to adequately describe all aspects of your project – act like the person reading the application has never heard of your project or group – while keeping answers clear, concise and free from repetition or jargon.
  5. Make sure the budget balances (meaning expenses and revenues are equal) and that all costs indicated are associated directly with your project. You want to ensure that your written proposal and budget are telling the same story. Please also ensure that WSG limits (i.e. 75% max of budget for wages/salaries, etc.) for the budget are respected (these restrictions can be found in the Application Form).
  6. Have realistic goals and measureable outcomes. Make sure that your project outcomes make sense give the time-frame and budget, and ensure that there are ways of evaluating these outcomes (i.e. if you’re planning on holding an event, you might say you hope to reach 100 people and that event attendance will be tracked via EventBrite with participants being sent a follow-up survey).
  7. Think out-side-the-box. While your organization may have applied to the WSG in the past for similar projects, think about how this year’s project can be more creative or innovative to highlight that you are continually evolving to meet current needs. In addition, is there something you can add to your project, like an educational initiative or other, to meet more than one of the WSG key priorities? Projects that meet more than one priority are more likely to be funded.
  8. Are there ways you can partner with others? We encourage you to visit LSC’s Stewardship Directory, and Synergy Alberta’s and Nature Alberta’s Club Directories for a list of stewardship, synergy and naturalist organizations in Alberta. You can also think of industry, municipalities, WPACs or larger non-profits – all of those entities are eligible to partner with for the WSG. Partnering with other groups who are performing similar work reduces redundancies and increases your projects impact. Partnering with others also provides cash and in-kind contributions to your project which only strengthens your application.
  9. Utilize additional supporting documents and information. Include letters of support, maps or any other document you think will highlight how your group can be successful and impactful in your efforts, is suggested for a strong application. Be creative with the additional documents- was your groups good work featured in a newspaper article? Do you have letters of support from multiple sources? Do you have before and after photos from a previous restoration project to highlight past efforts and successes?
  10. Completely answer all questions. While this may seem simple, it is important since incomplete applications are not accepted. Double checking your application and making sure everything has been addressed and included is recommended.

Have questions?

For more information, contact the Stewardship Program Coordinator by email or phone 1–877–727–5276 extension 225.

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