Writing grant guidelines is a critical foundation piece for any grant program. It sets the framework up for how your grant program will work.
Too often these are crafted more as policy documents with grand objectives that become challenging to work with when it comes to the practical application of them.
The skill in writing good guidelines is being able to juggle the needs of the many audiences that will come to rely on this key document. Yes they need to articulate the dream, the reason the grant giver wants to give. But that is only one of the jobs the guidelines need to do.
Georgie crafts guidelines that work for everyone involved in the process. She works to ensure that in addition to sharing the vision of grant giver the guidelines also:
Provide clear communication to the grantee
Crafting guidelines is a different approach to drafting internal program policy. The main purpose for guidelines is to speak to the prospective applicants and make it easy for them to understand:
• whether their project is a fit,
• what they need to do (at application and if successful),
• what you will do and what to expect from you.
“Applicants need to connect and see themselves as your target audience. The best guidelines are those written with all the possible questions an applicant might ask pre-empted and addressed. And one of the biggest things I hear from applicants is “Please just tell me what you need in plain English”. So ditch the jargon and just have a conversation with those you want to hear what you have to say.”
Work for your application form
You need to be setting requirements that can realistically be met and be very clear about what you will ask your applicants to know they and their project are a fit.
“Don’t put requirements or assessment criteria into your guidelines if you are not really clear what questions you might ask an applicant to decide if they meet the criteria. Or without being sure your target audience can answer those questions.”
Create a clear assessment framework
Another key purpose for the guidelines is to guide assessors in what they need to assess. What are they going to be looking to measure when they read an application? This simply doesn’t work if criteria are focused on what must be provided instead of what yard stick will be used to measure what’s provided. You could write that an applicant will need to provide information about the location that an activity will take place. But more informative to both assessor and applicant would be to frame the criteria as the extent to which the activity will benefit communities in regional and remote locations.
Support your monitoring and evaluation framework
Program objectives need to be measurable. Designing meaningful indicators from a foundation of clear measurable goals will help you tell a real outcome story, founded in a clear sense of what success looks like from the get-go.
Georgie works with you to co design guidelines that are clear and precise about the change your program hopes to make, by being sure you can measure the change and have a clear understanding what actually needs to be done to make it happen.