Many groups are unaware of the range of grants they could be searching and applying for. They tend to narrow the options rather than widen them. If you’re a local tennis club in a small country town, for example, you’re looking for ‘Sports’ grants, of course – but you need to be looking further.
Your organisation fulfils a sports function in your community, yes, but you could, with only a small stretch, add others. Such as:
Are there any grants available for promoting healthy activity, say, or reducing obesity? Even if you’re not a sports club and your group doesn’t actually do workouts, research has shown that all volunteering is good for people, so you’re actually in the health business – for your members, as well as for your players.
Are there any grants for supporting the local community? Common loyalties tie communities together, and sports groups develop common loyalties, so you’re actually in the community development business – for your spectators, as well as for your members.
Are there any grants available for strengthening people’s organisational skills? As a volunteer-based group you’re contributing to building social capital in your area. You provide experience in running organisations, in leadership, in providing service to community, in working with government, and, of course, in grantseeking and fundraising – all skills that can be used in other contexts towards other goals using other social institutions. There may be some skill your group has developed that, with some support, you could roll out to other groups.
Are there any grants around for your client group, or a potential client group? If you’re in a regional area, or if you’re working with young people, or if you can start working with young people, your target group is being looked after by a number of foundations and agencies, and it’s worth talking to them to see what they can do to help you. Have you got any programs that encourage the participation of particular groups – women, people with disability, multicultural groups, older people, Indigenous people? The harder it is to get a particular group involved, the more likely it is that someone will fund you to do it.
Does your club have any special policies on reducing smoking (e.g. smoke-free clubhouse), or drinking (e.g. light beer only, or no alcohol), or sunburn (e.g. trees planted for shade), or drugs (e.g. posters and leaflets), or harmony (encouraging immigrants to join in)? There are organisations working with smoking and drinking and sunburn and drugs and harmony who may be willing to contribute to your project costs.
Now that you’ve practiced extending your horizons, look around for any other areas that you can build and claim links to. Brainstorm with your staff and your board.
EasyGrants, The Funding Centre’s monthly newsletter lists details of opportunities for grants from governments, foundations and businesses. Download a free sample here.