Creating a positive experience for grant seekers

March 13, 2023

Applying for grants can be a daunting process. It can be difficult for applicants to know where to start and even harder to handle all the documents and requirements involved. However, there is a lot that funders can do to make the process smoother for all parties – read on to discover our top 10 tips that will help provide a hassle-free experience for your applicants and grant managers.


1. Make the Process Clear and Straightforward


Funders should ensure that any application instructions are clear and concise so that applicants know exactly what information is needed and how to provide it. In addition, you can streamline the process by eliminating redundant paperwork and ensuring applicants are only asked to do what is absolutely necessary.

The application criteria must be transparent; not only will this improve the experience for all grant seekers, but it will help to prevent unsuitable applications from being submitted in the first place, saving your reviewers’ time. All requirements must be specified in detail and any updates or modifications must be shared promptly.

Funders can also provide examples of successful applications so that applicants can better anticipate what is expected of them.

2. Accessibility

Grant funders can provide accessibility for applicants by considering any reasonable accommodations they may need, and ensuring that their grant management system and all materials are accessible to those with disabilities.

Always make sure that application forms are streamlined and user-friendly; this is easy to achieve with Flexi-Grant – once you create custom forms, you can re-use them later.

Forms should be well-structured, contain plenty of white space for readability, and allow applicants to save their progress incrementally.

3. Provide Open and Accessible Communication


Funders should provide applicants with multiple options for communication throughout the entire process. This could include providing a live chat feature, a helpline, or an e-mail address for them to reach out to with any of their questions or concerns. It’s also important to send regular updates on the application so that grant seekers aren’t left in the dark.

The best way to communicate with applicants and awardees is via a grants management system that tracks and stores all correspondence between the funder and applicant. Flexi-Grant has in-built email managements that makes it easy to manage communication with applicants through all stages of the grant lifecycle.

4. Make the Language of the Application Accessible


Making the language accessible means that technical jargon should be avoided and the instructions should be easy to understand; applicants should not feel like they are reading a legal document when perusing your guidelines. Funders should also make sure to provide translations of the documentation in multiple languages, if necessary.

5. Create Helpful Resources and FAQs


Developing a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) will save time for your staff as well as applicants, ensuring that the most common queries can be resolved without direct contact. As well as saving time, this will ensure that candidates begin the process with clarity and understand in advance what is expected of them.

You can also include information about the post-award stage such as reporting requirements for any applicants that are keen to remain several steps ahead.

6. Provide Helpful Content

Grant funders can create a sense of collaboration among applicants through their content strategy. For example, they may provide tips on how to write a successful proposal or how to best showcase their project, and this could come in the form of a blog, e-book, podcast, or video series. Providing this type of support can help applicants feel more confident in the process and save them having to search for advice.

7. Allow Alternative Formats


There should be the option for applicants to submit extra information in alternative formats if they believe it will help support their application. This could be in the form of presentations, videos, graphics, audio recordings, or any other type of relevant medium that could aid the application. This opens up the possibility for applicants to express their ideas more effectively, helping them accurately portray their vision.

8. Mentorship


Mentorship is often overlooked, but it can be an invaluable part of the application process. Funders may directly provide advice, constructive criticism, and support to grant seekers throughout the application process.

Mentorship not only increases the applicant’s chances of success; it can also be a great way to build relationships, paving the way for long-term collaboration and progress towards both the applicant’s and funder’s mission.

 9. Follow Up and Provide Feedback


Providing feedback and following up with an applicant after the decision has been made is essential – whatever the decision is.

Perhaps an applicant was close to succeeding but there were a few minor issues that, if resolved, could help them succeed next time. Providing feedback in such cases is in the interests of both applicants and funders; if the funder feels that the project was of great importance but a few things need tweaking before funds can be awarded, helping the project get the green light next time furthers the mission of both parties.

Highlighting the positives, providing constructive criticism, and giving applicants helpful resources are a few steps to take.

10. Celebrate Success


Finally, funders should make sure to celebrate the successes of applicants – at the award stage, and when certain milestones are reached post-award. A simple congratulatory email might not sound like much but it can make all the difference in terms of morale and rapport.


Applying for grants can be an intimidating process and it’s up to funders to make the experience a positive one. Clear and straightforward instructions, transparent criteria, accessible technology and language, effective communication, mentorship, providing helpful resources, and celebrating success are all key ways to create an engaging and experience for grant seekers.

Of course, it goes without saying that the best experiences require a modern grant management system that eliminates the inefficiencies that come with paper-based applications.

Flexi-Grant is the leading grant management solution, trusted by many prominent funders to support them through all stages of the grant lifecycle. To discover how it can give your applicants the most streamlined, effortless experience, contact us to book a demo.

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