Global Industry Development Network

Home » News » Securing Grants - tips we use to maintain an 80%+ conversion rate

So what is involved in securing grants?

Here are some tips for associations in applying for grants;

1) Grant register

There are thousands of grants available and some are so obscure that barely anyone applies for them! Spend time researching grants and subscribe to services which can provide you with lists of grants. The Global industry Development Network has a grants system called GNR8 we use with our association partners.

2) Partnerships

Sometimes there is a great opportunity but you are not the right organisation to apply for it, so consider some of the other organisations involved in your conference or project, maybe they are better positioned for the grant. Also, many organisations like the Korea Australia Foundation offer grants of around $20,000 however require a partner in both counties, so consider how you can apply for these types of grants with a partner from the reciprocating country, which could be for cultural exchanges including attending your conference! It could be a way to boost your attendance by 20 people and bring in another $10,000 in registration fees.

3) Forget what you want, and think about what the grant provider is trying to achieve

Nothing is more important to ones self than what is going on in their own lives. Grant applications are the same. Foundations and government agencies create grants with a purpose of achieving some sort of an outcome. You have to know what that is before you even apply, and then word your grant so to appeals to the reader.

4) Grant time lines

Starting grant applications 8 months out from your conference? Don't waste your time, the only revenue you will secure is through relationships you can build with key decision makers in organisations. However, for grants that have a formal process then you need to schedule them in a timeline, and have a calendar outlining when you need to work on each grant and when the deadline is for submission.

5) Criteria for grants and don't waste time

People don't just give put money, they give out money for a reason, so be clear on why you are seeking grants and what for. They also have an expectation over the types off organisations they are expecting to apply, so make sure you are what they are looking for.

6) Interview past grant recipients

Most will be more than happy to help out a fellow not for profit association, so pick up the phone and have a chat. Make sure you are prepared to minimise the amount of time you take up, and maximise the information you get towards how to apply yourself.

7) Attend grant briefings or talk to the Grants Manager

Not all grants do this, but if they hold a briefing then go along and attend to learn more about the grant and also see who else is applying. It also provides you with an opportunity to meet the Grants Manager, and so you can learn more about them and what they expect to see in a grant application.

8) Position for success and build relationships

We always talk about big picture, so demonstrate what you are doing has a wider impact than just your activity. Understand the decision makers and influencers, position your organisation so they know who you are when the grant comes in.

9) Think outside the box

Grants can be direct payments to you in cash for a particular project, but also think about grants that assist in other ways. For example, if you are holding a conference in Hong Kong you will be able to apply to the Canadian Government to get funding for Canadian delegates to attend, this is Prime Minister Harper's main focus at the moment with trade, or the Australian Government will provide up to $40,000 to allow people with disabilities to attend conferences, and many Federal trade agencies will refund 50% of travel and a give a couple of hundred dollars a day to companies that exhibit overseas. So when you understand the grants,  you can engage with your potential delegates, exhibitors or sponsors and help them raise the money to support your conference

10) Use a professional grant writer

The Global Industry Development Network (GIDN) writes over 300 grants per year, with many on a commission basis for Associations, meaning No grant, No payment. Our current conversion rate on grants is 86% success. If you would like some guidance on how to increase your revenue through grant applications, contact us at




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