Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

KarleenQLD  Author: Karleen Gwinner

I worked with a client recently to help them develop a grant application for a lifesaving project. This organisation has a transformative purpose, a clearly articulated approach to its work, and a specialised niche. The grant application was made that much simpler because the organisation had brought together their targeted messaging in one document — a key messages document.

In this one document were simple and inspiring messages that were easy to relate to and understand. These were outlined in short and long form, prioritised and backed up with statements and evidence of their value. While there was still room for improvement, the document was useful as a foundation for refining the project description and thus, fostering greater understanding of the project and how it aligned with the organisations purpose.

The benefits of a key messages document

Here at Strategic Grants we know that the corner stone to successful grant seeking is communication. It is the foundation of achieving your mission and building your relationships with internal project leaders and funders alike. The benefit of a key messages document is that it focuses and simplifies your organisation’s values and successes so that they have impact. A key messages document details the key goals, outcomes and organisational information, to help staff anchor the core ideas, values and messaging in grant proposals.

The anatomy of a key messages documentFour Ps BlogImage

CLAIMS + FACTS + EXAMPLES are three essential elements for powerful messages.  With that in mind, here are four Ps and one A to ponder when putting together a key messages document:

Purpose – Outline your purpose. What is your organisation’s unique value proposition and benefits?

Pitch – Concisely describe the core idea that will help you gain traction with funders. What do you do? What makes it unique?

Persuasion – Identify what is actually likely to motivate and even excite funders. Be clear, concise, and honest.

Presentation - Key messages ensure consistency, continuity and accuracy about your organisation and help staff to link day-to-day efforts to the organisation’s mission and purpose. Package your content so that it is accessible for staff across your organisation and easy to use.

Adapt - Key messages are not static. Over time, routinely revisit the living document to ensure it still meets your needs and the messages reflect current trends, research and issues your organisation is addressing.

Share your key messages

Key messages need to be shared across your organisation so that everyone is singing from the same song sheet. Having clear, consistent messaging in your grant responses (and, in fact, right across your organisation) is fund-a-mental.

Ensure you get your point across by creating your key messages well before you start writing grant proposals.

Looking for more help in creating your own key messages document? Have a listen to A GEM of a Podcast episode 3, or get in contact with us and take advantage of our team’s expertise in creating clear, powerful messages that inspire people to take action.


Jo BNE Author: Jo Garner

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Strategic Grants is delighted to announce we are sponsoring Pro Bono Grants, with Pro Bono Australia, the “go to” media service for news and resources for Australia’s social economy, to highlight funding opportunities in the social sector.

Pro Bono Grants will allow Pro Bono Australia’s audience of over one million annual users and 60,000 subscribers to browse key upcoming grant listings, as well as gain access to capacity building resources, such as grant application tips. The new grants listings will also allow funders to post their upcoming grant opportunities for no charge.

"It’s well known that grants and donations make up over 25% of revenue for most of Australia's small to medium-sized charitable organisations. Since not for profits and social enterprises comprise more than 70% of Pro Bono Australia’s audience and news subscribers it makes sense for Pro Bono Australia to partner with Strategic Grants to deliver our readership granting information," said Karen Mahlab AM, founder and CEO of Pro Bono Australia

Both organisations are excited and proud to bring their expertise and experience together to further support purpose-driven organisations and help them grow their impact.

“We’re delighted to be able to share the grants knowledge and expertise we’ve gained through our years of working with nonprofits of all sizes, with funders, FIA and Philanthropy Australia. We’re an organisation with a culture of constant learning, so it’s wonderful to get to share those learnings with Pro Bono’s readers through this great partnership,” said Strategic Grants’ Director Jo Garner.

Visit the Pro Bono Australia’s grants portal here: