It's a fresh new year and we're back to the daily grind! January is normally a slower month for grants and is the perfect time to start planning for the year ahead. From my experience government grants and tenders always pop up in December, even as late as mid month. It is half way through the financial year and key milestones need to be met. January is a bit slower, normally there isn't very many grants to be to worried about writing and it is the perfect time to look back on what was available last year, do some research and start building that new grant calendar.
I have experience with a few different grant search engines that will build you a personalised grant calendar and my thoughts have always been it's better and cheaper if you do it yourself. In a future post I will discuss my thoughts on which grant search engines are best, but for now I think you should use the information you have and take the time to research.
If you or someone else in your team was writing grants last year, you should have a record of what was applied for, or at least applications you can refer too. Whether these applications were successful or not, it doesn't matter, it is a good opportunity to mark the open and close dates down for this year and plan to reapply. In your research you can search on the foundation, trust or government website to see if they have already posted new dates or information for the new years grant round. If there is no updated information, still expect it will open around the same time and plan for it anyways.
Lets say you are starting the year fresh and have no previous grant information to refer too, thats alright, there are still ways to research grants and plan for the year. One great resource is the government connect website, it's free and posts government grants from across Australia. This website is a great place to start because it shows all current, previous and forecasted government grants. This will provide you with great grant information for your calendar and is free and easy to use. Another great option for planning is Council websites, they normally have all grant rounds dated for the year and offer opportunities for you to connect with them to discuss options for funding. Council websites are a great local resource for funding information.
If you are looking for non-government funding, the easiest way to search and plan for the year is through a grant search engine such as Our Community, Grants Hub, Strategic Grants. But if you don't want to spend any money or sign up to one of these sites, you can still search for foundations and trusts individually. There are some major players out there such as Perpetual, Equity Trustees, Ian Potter Foundation and The Myer Foundation that will have information on their website and contacts you can speak too. It is all about doing research and taking down information that will help you plan for the following year.
Now once you have your grant information what do you do with it? I have always used excel to table the basic information and keep track of my grants. I do this by creating 12 separate tabs, one for each month, and include information in each tab around open and close dates, grant name, provider information, basic grant details, submission date and any other information that I find helpful when referring back. This system has always made sense to me because it was the easiest way to keep track of grants through the years, even if I didn't apply for them. This calendar helps remind me what was available, what was applied for and what was the outcome within that year. If you are only applying for maybe one grant a month, then you wont need a tab per month, but the information will still be the same.
A well organised and detailed grant calendar will help keep you on top of funding applications throughout the year and help inform you for the future. I regularly refer to my calendar to update details, add new information or refer to any grants previously applied. Making this a regular part of your planning is a great way to start getting funding for the new year and stay organised for the future.