Being ‘shovel ready’ on a project is like being at the starting line of a race. How you perform, what benefits you realise and even whether you get to the starting line depends on many factors and many hours of unrecognised hard work.
Securing grant funding is often the last major milestone in that process. In the wake of COVID-19 and with restrictions beginning to ease, stimulus funding from Federal and State governments is just around the corner. So how do you maximise your success when the applications open? In this article we share some of our insights.
It is likely the stimulus funding will be targeted towards shorter term wins and job creation projects. That does not necessarily mean small projects, but rather projects that are ready to go or ‘shovel ready’. If you have any projects that have been shelved or unsuccessful in recent grant applications, now is the time to dust them off and bring them back onto the agenda (if in line with council's corporate plan). Take time to review them and prioritise them according to their likely success.
Job creation is going to be a key focus to get the heart of the economy beating again. Projects that directly support jobs during the coming months will be vital and well received by grant assessors. Don’t forget the flow on effect of accommodation, fuel, supplies and all the indirect jobs that projects create in your region. When evaluating tenders and proposals for projects in your region, take time to consider the overall economic benefit to your community. This can mean understanding what a local provider contributes to the community versus a non-local provider. It can be a complex process but certainly one worth unpacking and understanding. In the longer term, if your project leaves a legacy of job creation it is important to justify that in a robust way. Too many applications over-inflate these claims which can weaken the credibility of your submission.
Grant assessors will be looking to allocate funding to projects with delivery certainty. Funding won’t be allocated to projects that have the risk of delay, budget blow out or reduced economic impact. In our experience, any, most or even all of the following are going to maximise your chances of success:
A strong business case that demonstrates economic and social benefits.
Well documented design or a business plan.
Robust project and risk management plan for delivery.
A procurement and evaluation plan or even better a tender outcome.
Letters of support or endorsement from community or stakeholders.
Correlation to government statistics that support claims made in the application.
Ensuring that the project is represented in council's corporate plan and long term strategy.
It is through these hard yards and behind the scenes efforts that undoubtedly will make the difference and better your chances of success. This may require some investment into ensuring that projects are well considered and the necessary planning has been undertaken, if you have any budget left to expend before the end of June this would have to be a solid option to consider as part of councils overall project delivery strategy.
If you would like to discuss anything project or grant related, please contact Paul Renals on 0409 355 170 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org