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Grant Series: When is it okay to apply for multiple grants?

Grant Funding

Grant Series: When is it Okay to Apply for Multiple Grants?

Clients often ask us if it’s okay to apply for multiple grants for one project. The answer is… it really depends on the situation. For example, you would not be allowed to apply for multiple grants if:

-funding has already been received for your project.
-the project only involves one singular activity (for example, a canning line).
-you’ve already entered into a funding agreement in which you’ve agreed to pay for an aspect of your project.

When you ask for money for something you’ve already received funding for, or you’re asking for funds for something that you’ve already agreed to fund yourself, it’s called double-dipping. This is a big no-no.

With this in mind, the following scenarios provide some insights into when it may or may not be suitable to seek funding from multiple grants for a project.

Multiple Grant Scenario #1:

You received $2M in funding to do activity A and B, and committed to funding activity C yourself. You then apply for another $500,000 grant from a different agency to partly fund activity A or B. This is not allowed and, if either agency discovered this, you’d likely be expected to repay all of the grant funding you’ve received.

Multiple Grant Scenario #2:

You received $2M in grant funding to do activity A and activity B, and your business is going to fund $2M to do Activity C. You win grant funding for $500k from another agency to partly fund Activity C. In this situation, you’d need to first check with the agency involved in the first grant about how they would perceive this – especially if you didn’t declare in your original application you were planning to apply for funding as part of your co-contribution. If they aren’t supportive of this (very possible) then you shouldn’t proceed.

Multiple Grant Scenario #3:

You identify an opportunity to build on a project that has already been funded (for example, expansion of scope). In this situation, you could apply for funding for the new aspects of the project. However, it would be important to make sure that the first funder was supportive of this. You would need to make it very clear that you aren’t planning to use the new funding to cover the cost of the project’s original scope.

So double dipping is fine if you have a multifaceted project that involves a number of separate and distinct activities. This happens quite often and funders actually like it because it spreads the project risks across more than one agency.

For instance, if you were undertaking a winery development which involved a processing facility, a cellar door, a restaurant and tourist accommodation, you could apply for multiple grants for each different element. You might apply for a tourism-related grant for the restaurant and accommodation element, a wine industry grant for the cellar door, and a value add investment grant or manufacturing grant for the wine processing aspect of the project.

Important Terms to Understand When Applying for Grants

Before you do anything, always make sure you read the grant guidelines very carefully so you understand the conditions of funding and their implications for applying for multiple grants. The following terms are important to be aware of in this particular context.

Co-contribution (cash)

This is the amount of money that you will be contributing to the project and can be in the form of actual cash reserves or a confirmed loan. Most grants will require a co-contribution from the applicant in the form of matched funding (usually 50% of the project cost).

By ensuring you’ve made an investment in the project, you’re assuring the funder that you’ve done due diligence in protecting your own investment.

Co-contribution (in kind)

Some funds allow for in kind co-contributions. This can be in the form of goods or services other than money (for example, donated materials or time). If you have questions about either of these, always contact the funding provider for clarification.

Leveraged Funding

This is money that is obtained from other sources unrelated to the funding body. Leveraged funding can allow you to fully maximise the impact of the grant. This demonstrates a strong commitment and support base for your project.

Eligible and Ineligible Expenditure

The guidelines will be very specific about what the grant will fund and what it won’t fund. Again, make sure you read these very carefully. Confirm that what you’re proposing to use the funding for is actually on the eligibility list. If it’s not, you’ll need to find a grant that’s a better fit for your project.

Wrap Up

Understanding these grant terms and when it’s appropriate to apply for multiple grants is important. It will ensure you go into your funding journey well informed. This will equip you to make decisions that will pave the way for a highly successful project.

If you need help securing funding for your next project, check out our Grant Writing Info Pack. We love working with clients to make their projects a reality.

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