7 Types of Supporting Documents for Grant Applications

supporting documents

While each grant proposal will have its own set of specific guidelines and required supporting documents, grant writers can save a lot of time (and spare some headaches) by maintaining a ‘Frequently Used’ file of the most requested supporting documents and materials.

Depending on the type of programs your organisation typically applies for funding, your list may vary from the one below. However, determining which documents to file and keeping the files up to date can smooth out the proposal development process for several different grants and, if you find yourself pinched for time, can mean the difference between a highquality, successful submission and an unsatisfactory or incomplete proposal.

The following documents are either frequently requested by funders or will help you to flesh out proposals for a variety of grants. Make sure that you check these documents periodically so that the most up-to-date versions are on file, ensuring that they will be as helpful as possible when it comes time to write a grant.

CURRENT RESUMES OF KEY PERSONNEL

Tracking down the resumes of people who are busy and may not be directly involved in the proposal development process can easily turn into a nightmare. Although the list of ‘key personnel’ will vary depending on the project at hand, it’s a good idea to collect, at a minimum, the resumes of directors or executives who manage the operational aspects of the organisation (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Executive Director, General Manager, etc.) and those of key management staff who frequently oversee large projects.

You may also want to collect the resumes of your organisation’s board members. While you may not necessarily need to provide resumes for members of the board, these documents will come in handy when you are asked to list contact information, titles, resumes, and/or roles of board members.

Depending on your organisation’s structure, the resumes of other key personnel may also be useful to file for easy access. In a similar vein, an up-to-date organisational chart listing personnel names and titles could prove useful for a variety of proposals, if only to serve as a template for developing a project-specific organisational structure or determining who to contact for information.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

It is highly likely you will be asked to provide some number of organisational budgets and/or financial statements— usually only for the current and previous fiscal years, but possibly for more. If available, keep the last three fiscal years’ financial statements in your file for supporting documents, as well as your organisation’s current budget, and make sure to acquire new copies when they are released. For ease of access, these are usually attached to the end of Annual Reports.

DGR STATUS, BUSINESS REGISTRATION & CERTIFICATION OF INSURANCE

For nonprofit organisations, proof of Deductable Gift Recipient status is frequently required. For-profit entities and Businesses will usually be required to supply their ABN and/or a copy of their certificates of incorporation. It is also common for proposals that involve the public to request your certificate of currency for public liability/worker’s compensation insurance. Keep these handy as you will be reaching for them when applying for most grants.

ORGANISATIONAL BACKGROUND AND ACTIVITY

If your organisation publishes an annual report, attach the most recent copy if you are prompted for ‘any additional attachments.’ These supporting documents will be helpful not only if it is requested by the funder, but also for general background information and discussion of what your organisation is currently doing in the community.

Also, keep a document containing a ‘library of standard words and definitions’ with information about your organisation’s history (founding year, core business, development, etc.) Don’t rely on your memory alone or you are liable to make inaccurate statements or omit information that could strengthen your proposal.

PARTNERS AND AFFILIATES 

If your organisation has worked with partners or affiliates in the past or is developing new relationships, keep a file for each partner and include contacts, meeting agendas, timelines, memoranda of understanding, letters of commitment, or any other documents demonstrating the partnership and detailing the work that was performed jointly between your organisations.

PAST GRANT PROPOSALS

While it is not recommended to submit carbon-copy grant applications, past narratives, and documents can be extremely useful when drafting a new grant proposal. Never throw out any documents related to a past grant submission—this information will be vital for analysing past projects, reporting on a project’s success, writing new proposals, and many other uses. After each submission, make sure to organise all the documents used to prepare the proposal and keep a full copy of exactly what was submitted to the funder. Should you have to demonstrate your proposal’s compliance with the grant guidelines, having accurate documentation is paramount. In addition, thorough grant records will make successive proposal writing processes easier.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION REGISTRATION AND LOGIN INFORMATION

Almost all proposals are submitted online, so best practice dictates that your electronic registration information is up-to-date and secure. While login information must be kept secure and private, it should be safely recorded so that it can be accessed by appropriate personnel if necessary. If your organisation has or is planning to submit grant proposals to government agencies (Federal, State, and Local), double-check your SmartyGrants registration and login information. Running into registration or login problems too close to the deadline can
jeopardise your ability to submit a proposal on time. In addition, you will want to make sure that appropriate authorization steps are taken should any key personnel (e.g., your CEO or CFO) leave the organisation.

This list is by no means exhaustive. However, it is a good start to organising your supporting documents and will hopefully make your life a little easier as you prepare future proposals and administer current awards. Revisit your ‘Handy Files’ and ‘standard words’ often to ensure that they are current and keep in mind that they should be thoroughly organised so that new personnel, replacements, project managers, and other key personnel will be able to use them.