JOB BLOG // Grant Experience

So you’ve found a job you want to apply for and you have all the right experience except for one thing: grant writing. What’s a grant? How do I get experience writing them? What do I do if I have experience in every other Key Selection Criteria, except for that one? Read below for one way of approaching this situation.

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If you’re applying for a job in a not-for-profit organisation (like SYN) it’s highly likely you will be expected to find, research and apply for grants as part of your role. Therefore it’s not uncommon to see something about grants included in the job’s Key Selection Criteria. It might look something like this:

“Proven experience in managing and preparing grant submissions and acquittals”

What is a not-for-profit?
A not-for-profit organisation is one which exists to achieve a purpose and not for the profit of its members. SYN exists to empower young people through broadcast & leadership opportunities and generate enough money to support itself.

What is a grant?
A grant is a sum of money given from a body (government, company, philanthropic organisation) to an individual, group or organisation to deliver a project.

What might I need a grant for?

  • To fund a creative project you’re working on
  • To fund a project for an organisation
  • To pay staff wages
  • To provide for technical infrastructure

Why is grant writing experience useful?

  • Not-for-profit organisations will look favourably on this experience when hiring you if your position requires you to write grants
  • To develop a deeper understanding of not-for-profit organisations
  • To enable you to think more strategically
  • To enable you to write more concisely

How do I get experience finding and writing grants?

Research your local councils to see if they run grant writing workshops

The City of Casey runs free grant writing workshops for individuals and groups within the council:

“The City of Casey’s FREE Grant Writing Workshops gives your community all the information you need to access important funding. Learn how to access funding that is available through grants for community groups, schools or not-for-profit organisations. Get information from experienced grant writers about the skills, tips and techniques that will help your local community organisation submit grant applications to a variety of providers, with the best chance of being successful.”via City of Casey website

The City of Yarra runs workshops too:

“This session will help grant writers to have a better chance of being successful in their grant applications. It is designed for people working in charities, community groups, sporting organisations and other non-profits that intend to or are currently seeking and applying for grants through their local communities and other funding sources. This session will help the application process and assist the organisation to explore additional funding alternatives for longer-term sustainability.”via the City of Yarra website

So does the City of Melbourne:

City of Melbourne’s “empowering and practical grant writing workshops demystify the grant writing process, giving you the tools and the confidence to plan your grant writing strategy. Whether you have an idea ready to pitch or just want to be better informed about seeking funding, this hands on and fun workshop will get you started.”via the City of Melbourne website

Tips for finding and writing grant applications:
  • If you’re applying for a grant for yourself, call the funding body and have a chat with them about your proposal. You will not only have your questions answered but you will put yourself on the radar of the people reviewing your application.
  • Look at the funding body’s values and see where you can align them to your proposal.
  • Research what the funding body has previously funded and see if it aligns with your proposal.

What if I don’t have experience writing grants and I’m applying for a job that asks for it?
Be honest – don’t invent experience you don’t have.  However you should consider how you phrase it. Instead of saying “I’ve never written a grant before,” consider outlining how you plan to gain more experience.

Call the organisation you’re applying for – ask how relevant grant writing is to the position and if you would still be considered for the position without it. If grant writing is essential to the position and they won’t consider applicants without it, finding this out before starting your application will save you a lot of time and energy.


More info:


Remember the Content Development Coordinator is able to read over your job applications at any time. Get in touch with them at content @ syn.org.au.