Answers Bank - sample answers for grant applications

This page is designed to help frame your thinking when confronted with questions on a grant application form that you are not sure how to answer. Of course, your own answers should be dictated by your own organisation and project - you should never just copy and paste from these examples. The purpose is to help you understand what a grantmaker might be looking for in an answer.

NB: Many of the questions below are offered as standard questions in the SmartyGrants grants management system or as part of SmartyGrants template forms, though they are common among many different types of grantmakers using all kinds of systems.

Please provide a short summary of your initiative

(SmartyGrants Standard Field Label: Brief Project Description)

Example 1:

'My New Life' is an employment and life skills program aimed at women who have been impacted by family violence and/or homelessness. My New Life provides a unique, strengths based learning pathway to prevent homelessness. It delivers practical and relevant living skills (with opportunities for co-design), independent living skills for sustained health and safety, and an environment for learning, social connection and support networks. It is a central component of Women4Women’s housing support strategy and is person-centred, allowing for and focussing on the individual needs and aspirations of each woman.

The program's ultimate aim is economic independence through employment and/or education and an increased capability to sustain stable housing.

Example 2:

The 'Save the Rainbow Spotted Wallaby Project' is a community conservation project aimed at preserving areas of bushland which are the natural home to this endangered species. Many farms have areas of bushland which need to be preserved to conserve the Rainbow Spotted Wallaby habitat. This requires fencing off the land area to prevent livestock infringing on and destroying the habitat. Unfortunately it is costly to fence off areas of land and many landholders cannot afford to do this. The Save the Rainbow Spotted Wallaby Project also tags and monitors the remaining wallabies. Funding is required to continue this critical conservation project.

The ultimate aim of the program is to conserve and hopefully increase the dwindling Rainbow Spotted Wallaby population through habitat conservation and monitoring.

Example 3:

We are seeking funds to install a new kitchen in our clubrooms.

The Graceville Netball Club is an old club and a great club. Established in 1932, the club plays host to more than 200 competitors every weekend from the tiniest Net Set Go participant to former Vixens stars in our seniors ranks. We are a community club and we are growing as our community grows.

Situated in coastal South Australia, Graceville has always been a destination for tourists and is now sought after by those looking for a tree change. Our Club wants to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for the new families in town, a community destination for all ages and genders and a catalyst for increased participation in sport.

A significant obstacle to our mission is our kitchen. Built in the 1980s, our kitchen is cramped, hot, potentially unsafe and in dire need of an upgrade. In addition to feeding the hungry hordes and increasing safety for our volunteers, an upgraded kitchen will also allow us to improve our facility hire revenue stream. A new kitchen will help us attract new players, volunteers and supporters.

Rationale - why does this work need to be done? / What is your Theory of Change?

(SmartyGrants Standard Field Label: Project Rationale)

Example 1:

Support, socialisation and education are crucial to obtaining long-term employment and economic security. Research has shown that employment provides a pathway for women to have economic security and the ability to counter the effects of family violence. Employment also has a major positive affect on a woman's mental and physical health. A 2012 paper, 'Violence Against Women - A Workplace and Employment Issue', found that employment can play an important role in the recovery of women who have suffered family violence, and may also contribute to a sense of stability and purpose at a time of instability.

Any strategies developed to protect the financial security of women who have experienced family violence must enable women to acquire decent and secure employment. However, gaining, re-gaining and maintaining paid employment can be difficult for women living in a violent relationship and post family violence.

A 2012 study, Moving ahead: evaluation of a work-skills training program for homeless adults, suggested that improvements in work and related life skills were associated with improvement in self-esteem and self-efficacy, and that these improvements predicted stable housing situations at follow-up. The findings indicated that for individuals struggling with the challenges of homelessness, completion of a work-skills program has a positive impact on skills and employment, and on a diverse set of life domains.

Other studies, e.g. Economic Empowerment of Domestic Violence Survivors (2010)) suggest that financial literacy and economic empowerment programs are effective in assisting family violence survivors to improve their financial knowledge, increase their confidence about managing their financial affairs, and enhance financial behaviours that will improve their financial safety and security.

This project seeks to provide the pathway required to shift women who have experienced family violence into secure employment. In particular, we will work to address the low numeracy and literacy skills that can exclude women from participating in mainstream training programs.

Example 2:

Commonwealth Environment Census figures reveal that the numbers of Rainbow Spotted Wallabies have dropped by 65% over the past 30 years. This decline can be attributed to a combination of increased farming in the New South Wales hinterland, and the impacts of climate change. While climate change may be beyond our scope of influence, we CAN do something about local farming practices.

Research by the World Conservation Fund indicates that the changes to farming practices that we propose will result in improved wildlife habitat, an effect that we estimate will allow Rainbow Spotted Wallaby numbers to recover by up to 70% by 2025.

Example 3:

Safety is a Club priority and a kitchen renovation is therefore a priority. Built in the 1970s, our existing clubrooms kitchens are horribly cramped and the facilities are extremely basic. The age of the cooking facilities means they are constantly breaking down and repairers have indicated that both the stove, oven and dishwasher are nearing the end of their functionality. We would be happy to supply photos of the kitchen and statements from repairers, as required.

The cramped conditions mean our volunteers are constantly bumping into each other and we have had one volunteer sustain a minor burn from a hot oil spill. Despite rigorous policies and procedures regarding kitchen use, we are fearful that it is only a matter of time before we have a more serious incident.

In addition to the safety concerns, the condition and limited functionality of the kitchen is a deterrent for those looking to hire a venue. We estimate that we could increase our annual income by 10% if we had a better kitchen.

The project intends to extend the kitchen into an adjacent storage area. It will increase the working space, upgrade facilities to create a modern and streamlined work environment, improve volunteer safety, and prevent contamination of food which will be served safely within proper counter areas. Procuring larger user-friendly catering equipment will also increase outputs which is incredibly important as our Club grows.

How will your initiative help us achieve our goals? / Which of our program aims does your project align with?

Example 1:

My New Life is closely aligned to the GoodFoundation’s goal of empowering women through education.

It is an employment and life skills program aimed at women who have been affected by family violence and/or homelessness, providing a unique, strengths-based learning pathway to prevent women from homelessness. The program will delivers practical and relevant living skills for sustained health and safety, and an environment for learning, social connection and support networks.

In particular, the program aims to:

  • improve women’s independent living skills
  • provide practical skill development for everyday living
  • build self-esteem and self-confidence
  • provide a safe and structured environment for learning, social connection and support networks
  • keep women from homelessness and enable sustained health and safety with sustained housing
  • establish a centre or hub for safe learning and social connection.

The program's ultimate aim is economic independence through employment and/or education and an increased capability to sustain stable housing. It empowers disadvantaged women though education to live the life they choose and deserve.

Example 2:

Keep Them Here’s Rainbow Spotted Wallaby Conservation program is closely aligned with the Green Foundation’s stated aim of 'harnessing community power to help the environment'. Like the Green Foundation, we believe that sustained positive change is only possible with whole of community participation – it cannot be achieved in isolation.

Our program is heavily dependent upon community engagement and action. By engaging landholders and the general community, we can make a genuine difference to the future of these endangered native animals. Indeed, Keep Them Here cannot achieve our desired outcomes for the Rainbow Spotted Wallaby without the power of the local community.

Example 3:

Graceville Netball Club’s project to improve our club facilities will attract new members and volunteers, which aligns closely with Item 5a in the Shire of Playhard's 2020 Strategic Plan "to increase participation in sport". The project will also help the Shire of Playhard realise Goal 33 of its Strategic Plan to "increase the strength and sustainability of local community groups" by helping us tap into additional income.

What outcomes do you expect to result from this initiative? / What change do you seek?

(SmartyGrants Standard Field Label: Expected Outcomes)

Anticipated outcome Primary beneficiaries Indirect beneficiaries Timeframe Indicator Verification method
Improve women's independent living skills Women impacted by family violence and/or homelessness Children of participants (50% of women accessing our services are mothers) Intermediate Feedback from both participants and facilitators Surveys, interviews
Growing Rainbow Spotted Wallaby population Rainbow Spotted Wallabies Australian community and other species through the conservation of an endangered native animal Long term Increasing number of Rainbow Spotted Wallabies in Tallawalla area Tag and monitor program
Create safer kitchen facilities Volunteers working in the kitchen Players, supporters and members Short term Decrease in kitchen occupational health and safety incidents OHS register
Increase in membership of Graceville Netball Club Players, supporters and members Graceville community Long term Increase in new players enrolled at every level, Increase in new members, Increase in numbers of volunteers Player, member and volunteer record comparisons

What outputs are you expecting to produce through this initiative?

Number Who or What Service/Product/Activity Timefram Anticipated Outcome
100 women impacted by family violenceand/or homelessness participating in Skills4MyLife per annum Improve women's independent living skills
20 acres fenced off as wildlife habitat per annum Growing Rainbow Spotted Wallaby population
1 commercial kitchen renovated to a safe and functional level by 2018 season launch Increase in membership of Graceville Netball Club

How will you address the needs of people of different genders in the design and management of your initiative? How will you know if you have considered all genders adequately?

(SmartyGrants Standard Field Label: Project Anticipated – Gender Inclusion)

Example 1:

My New Life is aimed exclusively at women impacted by family violence and/or homelessness. However Women 4 Women helps women and their children, regardless of gender. We allow male children up to the age of 18 to enter our refuges which is unique in this sector. Many family violence refuges will not allow male children over the age of 12 to enter a refuge and access support with their mothers. We find this unacceptable as it leads to an increased number of male children of women impacted by family violence remaining with the perpetrator or becoming homeless.

Example 2:

This program will only succeed with whole of community support so the recruitment of females to this cause is crucial. To ensure our volunteer roles are equally accessible to women, we will:

  • Ensure there are tasks and roles which fall within school hours to allow for women who are primary care givers to maintain childcaring roles
  • Target community groups such as the Country Women’s Association and Women for Conservation to make sure women are informed of our project
  • Investigate childcare activities at our information evenings to allow women with childcaring responsibilities to participate fully

Unfortunately it may be slightly difficult to ensure there is gender equality for our beneficiaries – we are committed to assist any and all Rainbow Spotted Wallabies regardless of gender!

Example 3:

While the Graceville Netball Club runs female, male and mixed competitions, the majority of our volunteers in the kitchen are female. This is not ideal, given the bulk of volunteers are parents of players, and most players have both male and female parents.

If we receive this grant we undertake to survey of all club parents to determine the barriers to the participation of men in kitchen duty, and to create a plan to implement any measures uncovered by the survey that might boost the participation of men (though ensuring that existing volunteers are not pushed out as a result).

Does this initiative have community support? / Do the beneficiary and/or geographic communities affected by this project/program support the activities you are proposing?

Example 1:

Women who have participated in aspects of our social, recreation and employment programs have indicated a desire for a coordinated response to their needs. Through informal discussion with case managers, they have expressed a willingness to engage in a holistic life skills program. Please see attached letters from our local council and the peak family violence agency indicating their support for this program.

Example 2:

Landholders and the broader Tallawalla community are supportive of this program and willing to participate. A survey of landholders indicated we are likely to have around 70% participation in the habitat remediation activities we will be promoting. In addition, a recent education and information session was attended by 100 community members, including 35 landholders. The majority of farmers attending indicated a commitment to working with us to help preserve Rainbow Spotted Wallaby habitat.

Example 3:

The membership and broader community of Graceville are highly supportive of this initiative and we have pledges from local tradespeople to assist with the renovation at greatly reduced rates (letters of support available on request).

Please provide some information about your organisation that will give us confidence that you can complete the work you've described in this application. (Applicant capacity)

Example 1:

Women 4 Women’s mission is to provide accommodation, services and support for women who are homeless and women and their accompanying children who experience family violence. Equipping women with the skills and expertise to become financially independent is an important part of our core work. We have drawn on our wealth of knowledge and expertise in this area to develop the My New Life Program. We have the capacity, specialised knowledge and resources to work with women who have highly complex needs.

In 2016 Women 4 Women provided accommodation and support to 416 women and children, and implemented major reviews and evaluations of our homelessness and family violence services. Our CEO is the chair of the peak body representing all family violence organisations in the state.

We have a proven record of building and managing innovative and quality accommodation options on time and on budget with in-house support services. We provide programs sensitive to women’s specific needs, including education and employment, health, social and recreation programs. Our facility is staffed 24 hours a day, allowing for after hours and weekend community contact and support.

Women 4 Women has a strong history in developing and implementing innovative outcomes-based programs aimed at empowering women to live the lives they choose. We are a proven investment, an organisation that delivers on promises and often exceeds anticipated outcomes. We are confident our My New Life program will provide positive outcomes to hundreds of women.

Example 2:

Keep Them Here has a 35-year history in identifying, targeting and conserving at-risk Australian native wildlife.

Our research is scientifically backed by our internal team of scientists, and independently verified by the World Wildlife Warriors.

We play well with others, regularly partnering with local and national organisations to achieve our aims.

We enjoy a reputation for making ourselves part of the communities in which we work, as evidenced by our strong presence in 22 communities across the state, with more than 400 volunteers regularly participating in our conservation activities.

Since our inception we have been instrumental in not only conserving but also increasing the population of many Australian native animals including:

  • The Loudmouthed Moriarty Honeyeater;
  • Richardson’s Extra Spikey Echidna; and
  • The Short Sighted Fitzpatrick Falcon

Our team of scientists and conservation staff is nationally and, increasingly, internationally renowned.

We are the right organisation to lead the fight to save the Rainbow Spotted Wallaby.

Example 3:

Graceville Netball Club is not a financially wealthy club, but we are a club rich in culture and community support. We are known regionally as a club that gets things done!

In 2011, through a combination of fundraising, community support, a local council grant and a small grant from the Bruce Guns Foundation, we built an additional changeroom to meet the growing needs of our player base. Employing the same approach, we know we can complete this kitchen project safely, on time and on budget.

Our player, supporter and membership base includes business owners, tradespeople, and donors who will make this renovation happen. We need an initial financial grant to provide the foundation and we will do the rest.

If we receive a Play Hard Foundation grant it will help secure the project and give Graceville Netball Club additional leverage to secure the remaining funding from local council, potential sponsors and other funders.

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