Our advice for writing a winning grant application

As our Funding Guide reflects, there are millions of dollars available to support municipalities taking climate action. Take a look to see what opportunity is currently available that matches your community’s needs and priorities.

Once you have a program in your sights, consider these steps to make sure you write a winning grant application.

1. Ensure your project really is a good fit

Check your project’s goals and objectives against those of the funding program. Review evaluation criteria and ensure that your proposal responds directly to each criterion, or as many as possible.

2. Contact the funding agency to ask some questions

Get in touch with the people making decisions on your application. It’s a chance to make sure you understand what they are looking for in a winning application.

  • Does your project meet the funding program’s goals and objectives?
  • What are key parts of previous successful applications?
  • Are previous applications available for review?
  • What are the evaluation criteria (if not already listed)?
  • Can supporting material (i.e. letters of support) be submitted after the closing date?
  • Is Council or Board endorsement of the application required before submission?

3. Create a timeline for preparing the application

Get yourself organized by writing a timeline. You will end up with a checklist including some of the following steps:

  • Obtaining executive committee, Council or Board endorsement, if required
  • Identifying and/or obtaining matching funding, if required
  • Identifying possible partners and reaching agreements
  • Writing the proposal and ensuring senior management review and final edits
  • Securing letters of support
  • Developing a budget
  • Confirming submission deadline, format and method of delivery (postmarked document, email, etc.)

4. Write a convincing application by following these best practices

  • Focus on key elements and ensure you clearly address all evaluation criteria.
  • Include everything you think is important, but be succinct–longer is not better.
  • List resources your agency has committed or will commit to ensure success.
  • Identify partners and note how you will work with them to ensure success.
  • Describe any planned community engagement processes and consider using innovative approaches.
  • Facts and figures are helpful. If possible, calculate or estimate the magnitude of benefits of the project.
  • A budget can be either calculated or estimated but it should not necessarily reflect the maximum amount of funding available, unless you can justify it. Provide a reasonable level of detail for costs, itemize matching funds, and in-kind contributions.

5. Submit your application on time and in the correct format

Don’t put all your hard work to waste! Make sure you submit on time and in the correct format. Review your checklist and ensure that all requirements have been met before you submit.

You’re ready to go fund your exciting municipal climate action project! Check out the Alberta Funding Guide with over 25 different climate adaptation and mitigation-related funding opportunities for Alberta municipalities, community groups and school boards. 

PS: Is there a grant you think should be added to the list? Please contact us at outreach@mccac.ca to let us know what we are missing.