Congratulations! Your funding application is completed AND submitted on time.
Debrief with the team involved.
- Tidy up the e-folder with your application drafts
- Clearly name and keep a copy of your final submitted application in the electronic and hard copy files
- Keep a copy of the receipt of submission (if any)
- Add the details of the funding application (e.g., funder's name, date of submission, program name) to your organisation's activities list and include in annual reports, Board meetings, and other communication tools.
Follow Up Your Submission
Submitting your application is not the end of the funding process.
If you did not receive a submission confirmation, check with the funding body to ensure your application was delivered and accepted.
Assessment procedures and processes vary widely. Some funding bodies clearly outline their assessment procedures. If you are unclear about the assessment process, contact the funding body and seek clarification BEFORE submitting your application.
Be patient: the decision-making process can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months or more.
Responding to Assessment Panels
When assessing your application, the assessment panel may:
- Provide feedback or make comments on your application
- Seek further information, detail, clarification or corrections
- Indicate an interest in your proposal but seek modifications to it before it undergoes final assessment.
Applicants will usually be required to respond by a specified date. When responding, follow the same processes used when developing and writing the application (e.g., develop a response team and provide clear timelines, provide well researched information, ensure any modifications are acceptable and feasible).
Successful Funding Applications
If your application is successful, you will need to:
- Clarify your responsibilities at the outset, particularly financial reporting. This will prevent misunderstandings and more serious problems later
- Find out whether the funder has specific forms, procedures, and deadlines for reporting on the progress of your proposal
- Send a copy of your application to your finance and/or contract management team (where applicable)
- Negotiate and execute the contract.
Contract clauses may need to be negotiated if you:
- Submittted a contract compliance matrix with your application
- Did not recieve a copy of the contract prior to submission.
You may be asked to complete or review a Schedule. The Schedule sets out the:
- Activities, objectives, and deliverables
- Reporting requirements
- Total amount to be paid and payment instalments.
When negotiating with the funding body:
- Only seek to vary parts of the contract which would result in an unfair or onerous burden on your organisation or negatively impact on your ability to provide the services detailed in the Schedule
Be prepared to provide a rationale for each contract term you want to add or modify
Do not take an all or nothing approach. If you are not making progress:
- Break the negotiations into sections and work towards a solution by reaching an agreement on each separate part
- Ask the funding body WHY they will not vary or delete the contract term. In some instances, the funding body is unable to vary the contract term but may be willing to make a formal undertaking that they will not seek to rely on or enforce the term. In this situation, make sure that there is not a clause in the contract which states that the contract represents the whole of the agreement
- Avoid personalising the negotiations by using language such as "I believe" or "I think." Focus on statements of fact (e.g., if we provide you with the intellectual rights to our program, then we will not be able to continue to provide it to the community when the contract terminates)
- Keep negotiations timely
- Protracted negotiations may negatively impact your organisational reputation and ability to work with the funding body
- Know when to complete the negotiations. If the funding body accepts your requested changes, the negotiation is finished.
Unsuccessful Funding Applications
If your application was unsuccessfaul, ask for feedback. Ask if:
- Your application needed more information about:
- The problem or need
- Your proposal
- The evaluation plan
- The budget
- Your organisational capacity and service team
- The funder would be interested in reconsidering the full, or a modified version of the proposal at a future date.
Keep a record of your discussions with the funding body. If required, confirm any undertakings in writing.
If the funding body identified any weaknesses in your application - fix them.
Conduct an analysis of services in your region to look for:
- Partnership opportunities.
In some instances, there may be nothing technically wrong with your application. There may simply be other areas of need which were of higher priority or met the funding body's objectives.
Be Flexible, Adaptable, and Persistent
- Review your funding strategy and identify other opportunities
- Develop a media statement emphasising the need for the service in the area and let potential partners approach you
- Continue to cultivate your relationship with the funder as future possibilities may arise. Send copies of annual reports and organisational updates so they can become further acquainted with your organisation.
- Maintain communication: Always set a time for the next discussion.
- Prepare and practice your response: Negotiating is stressful and requires attention to detail that comes with practice.
- Keep your word: Integrity is the foundation of all negotiations and agreements.
- Submit a long list of demands: The funding body may conclude that you are too far apart to come to an agreement.
- Respond only in writing: Instead, conduct your negotiations through personal discussions and explain your thinking, then follow up in writing.
- Say what you won’t do: This will send the funding body the message that you are rigid and uncompromising.
- Abdicate the process to your legal department or lawyer: Make sure that you are involved with all discussions to avoid misunderstandings.
- Revisit contract clauses to which you have already agreed: Once you agree, the issue is settled and off the table.
Covey, S. (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Free Press, United States
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