Grant tips – reading between the guidelines


We understand that putting together a grant application is time consuming and challenging, so we've put together some suggestions that we hope you can add to your grant writing toolkit, whether you are a first timer or a seasoned professional.

It's important to start with the basics, so make sure you cover off on grant writing 101 before you get started: 

Check that you're eligible - for nib foundation that means you need to be a registered charity with DGR status. If you're not sure, it's easy to check your organisation's status at

Download the Grant Guidelines - check that the project you plan to apply for fits our focal areas and funding priorities, that you can address the assessment criteria, and that your request is not on our list of funding exclusions.

Once you've determined eligibility and that the grant is a good fit for you, here are some tips based on our observations of the many hundreds of applications we read every year. We hope they help you put together a compelling application that is more likely to stand out from the pack.

  1. Strategic fit - nib foundation likes to be involved with programs that feed into your organisation's overall strategy. Make sure your application conveys how the program you are asking us to support fits the bigger picture of your current strategic objectives.
  2. Focus on the solution - Don't fall into the trap of spending too much of your precious word count convincing us of the need in your cause area. Chances are we are already convinced that your cause is critically important, so there's no need to preach to the converted. Instead, describe the problem or the need succinctly with a few well considered facts and statistics, and then convince us that your organisation and project idea is the right one to address this important problem.
  3. Access to participants - A common challenge we see is lower demand for a funded program than was initially proposed in the application. Your organisation's established referral pathways, networks & distribution channels are critical, so make sure you tell us how you will leverage these to deliver a successful program.
  4. Stakeholder buy-in - Your application will be stronger and more fully developed if you can demonstrate an established relationship with other stakeholders that your project relies on to be successfully delivered.
  5. Stay true to your mission - It's easy to spot when grant seekers try to bend their mission to be a perfect fit to a set of grant guidelines. Try to find the right balance between identifying a good fit with the priorities of the funder, while staying true to your core business.
  6. Balance of heart and head - Most grant assessment panels are made up of some individuals who will respond more strongly to an emotive human story or case study, and others who are more interested in hard evidence, statistics and facts. Good applications manage to convey both.

These are some tips that we hope will help you with other grants you apply for, as well as nib foundation's Community Grant. Good luck!