When I get approached by a business looking for a grant, I ask questions and listen. I listen for the real reason people are wanting a gr
ant …. a lifeline, an investment in a new idea, to reach an audience, to continue to fund an existing service, to develop a business plan. There are many reasons why people look to grants, but not all reasons will fit with a grant and for them, a grant is not the answer.
There are two kinds of enquiries. The first one is easy to deal with. This enquiry does lead to a grant option. The enquirer may already know the grant they are looking for and are looking for somebody to help them write up the application. Alternatively they have an idea of what they want to achieve and it is something that somebody, somewhere will fund. A rule of thumb is that if the idea leads to economic, social, cultural or environmental benefits, then there is likely to somebody out there willing to offer a grant within certain criteria:
If your proposal has economic outcomes, for example getting people into jobs, skilling up the workforce, building new industry, developing new export markets, generating income from tourism or starting up a business,
then these will support economic output and GDP. You are more likely to find a grant to help you achieve these outcomes.
Likewise there are funding options to integrate people in society. These may include grants to reduce social isolation, reduce domestic violence and homelessness, recovery from disasters or community development.
Culture underpins society and there are grants available for cultural activities whether they be art, music, dance forms or sport.
Finally, we are trustees of the environment and as such, fund
s are available to protect and improve our natural resources and agricultural sustainability. If your proposal falls within these domains, then there is likely to be an interested funding source whether it be government (federal, state or local), investor, or philanthropic trust. For people wondering where to start, a list of sources of grant income is available on
What if what you want to do doesn’t fit with a grant? This is the second kind of enquiry.
By making the effort to listen, we hear people who think they need a grant but what they really need is marketing advice. They generally fall into one of two categories: