How do you apply for a grant for your association?

As an association, you play an essential role in society by working for a multitude of causes, from supporting local communities to protecting the environment. Whatever your objectives, you generally create a positive impact in many areas. To carry out your missions effectively, most of you will need external funding, particularly to cover the association's running costs. Obtaining government, local or private subsidies is of crucial importance to ensure the sustainability of your organizations. You can make this easier by opening an online association account.

That's why we've put together a comprehensive nine-step guide on how to apply for and obtain a grant as an association.

Check your eligibility

To apply for a grant, your association must be registered. This will enable you to apply for funds for a specific project or to support the overall development of your activities. Some associations will also need a SIRET number.

Eligibility criteria and the steps involved in applying for a grant may vary according to the organization or government body awarding the funds. For example, a cultural association is not eligible for public subsidies.

Identify your needs

Before applying for a grant, you need to determine exactly what your association's financial needs are. We advise you to identify the project for which you need funding. Then draw up a detailed budget for this project, taking into account the costs of human resources, materials, equipment and other associated expenses. It's vital to have a clear vision of what you're trying to achieve with this grant.

Look for sources of financing

There are many sources of funding that could be useful to you in your associative work. Look for organizations, institutions, private foundations and grant programs that match your field of activity, your needs and your objectives. And don't forget to explore the possibility of setting up a pro association account for easier management of funds received.

You can explore these different categories of financing sources:

  • Public grants: ministries, government agencies and local authorities often award grants for projects, programs or activities that are in line with the priorities of the public authorities.
  • Private grants: many private foundations support various causes. Contact those that are relevant to your mission.
  • European and international organizations: some international organizations fund projects on a global scale. If this is the case for your association, they could represent a great opportunity.
  • Local businesses and partners: local businesses are sometimes willing to support community initiatives. Establish partnerships with those that share your values. In addition, major groups frequently participate in corporate philanthropy, providing financial support to associations as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).
  • Solidarity funds can support associations working in fields such as poverty alleviation, humanitarian aid and emergency relief.

Find out about criteria and priorities

Each funding agency has its own criteria and priorities. Before writing your application, make sure you understand what each organization is looking for, whether in terms of areas of intervention, geographical zones, target population, type of project... Make sure your application is perfectly aligned with these criteria to optimize your chances of success.

Prepare your grant application

The grant application is an essential part of the process. It can take different forms, but in general it includes the following elements:

  • A letter of application: this should describe who you are, your values, your mission, explain the project for which you are requesting the grant, emphasize its importance and highlight the expected impact.
  • A detailed budget: present a clear and precise budget that explains in detail how the funds will be used. List all expenses associated with the project.
  • Information about your association's legal structure, history, governance, target audience, past activities and successes.

Write your grant application letter

The grant application letter is the ideal opportunity to create a positive first impression. Make sure it's clear, concise and convincing. In this letter, you'll have the opportunity to briefly introduce your association, explaining its history, its mission, the project for which you're seeking funding, the estimated budget, and the results you hope to achieve. Don't hesitate to highlight the benefits that the grant could bring to your actions, using concrete data or examples to support your arguments.

If your project can benefit from partnerships with other organizations, it's a good idea to mention them in your application. Partnerships reinforce your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to working with others to achieve your common goals.

Fill in the application form

Funding bodies generally require you to complete a specific form(cerfa n°12156*06) for each grant application. Follow the instructions carefully, and provide all the information required. It is equally important to respect the submission deadlines set for your application.

Follow-up guidelines

Once you have submitted your application, you may be required to submit further documents, such as interviews, interim reports or other specific requirements of the funding organization. Please be prepared to cooperate and provide all necessary information.

The department in charge will carefully analyze your application to assess the feasibility of your project. Awarding a grant can be a complex and time-consuming process. If your application is unsuccessful, don't be discouraged and stay persistent. Ask for constructive feedback, revise your application if necessary, or explore other sources of funding.

Diversify your sources of financing

It's a good idea not to rely exclusively on a single source of funding. To ensure your association's financial stability, diversify your sources of revenue by soliciting several organizations that share your cause, and explore other fundraising methods.