How do I work with clients?
Updated: Jul 24, 2018
Innovation grant writer not exactly butcher, baker or candle stick maker, so what exactly is it? What do I do?
When you say grant application you immediately think of numbers and spreadsheets which, yes, there are but that isn’t the bulk of the application typically.
Let’s start at the beginning, identifying the innovation grant that you wish to apply for is an art form in itself and is a prime candidate for a subject for a separate blog. Assume either myself or the client has found the grant opportunity to apply for and we are starting to put the application together.
Innovation grants are given out for specific projects so firstly I meet with the client to work out what the project is that we are going to submit the application for. This is one thing that I am quite good at, sifting through the usual mountain of research and innovation a typical tech start up or SME wants to work on, and honing it down into a deliverable based project that will resonate with the assessors. This meeting typically takes a good couple of hours, whilst we kick around ideas until we get to the point where we are all clear on what we are doing.
At the end of that meeting I will walk the client through the application form making sure I can answer the required questions and highlighting where the client needs to send me information. Pitch decks, market research, industry reports, solution infographics are all potential sources that can help.
I ask the client to do a first pass at a project plan, risk register and the project costs using templates that I have developed to demonstrate things most effectively for the assessors. I will always edit and input into all three areas but ultimately the client must own those three elements of the application.
Grant applications broadly ask you what the problem is you are trying to solve, what your innovation is, market research that supports that, project resource available and required, project management approach and plan, risks and management process, costs and an explanation and justification of. All of these are text based questions of between 400-1000 words in length.
Following the initial planning meeting I produce a full first draft of the application and any appendices required (if they give you the option, always submit them). As part of that draft I highlight any areas that I am missing information. I then review the first draft against the assessment criteria, again highlighting any missing information. The first draft is then submitted to the client. Dependent on workload and length of form I submit the draft within 2-5 working days of the initial meeting.
The client then reviews the draft, edits as they see fit and provides any of the missing information.
At that point we have a call to make sure we are both happy with the direction that the application is taking. Work through each question and identify what additional work needs to be done and by whom.
I then produce a second draft that is pretty much the finished article. I would then upload that draft into any online submission process or prescribed template. The second draft is then reviewed by the client and once they are happy submitted to the funding body.
Hopefully it is all a little bit clearer now. I also review applications that people have written themselves against the evaluation criteria and make any suggestions on how the application could be strengthened.
One of the reasons that clients work with me is how time consuming putting these applications can be. As part of everyday business busy entrepreneurs just don’t have the bandwidth to take on all of the work involved. If you would like some help with your application or just want a second pair of eyes do get in contact here.
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