In a time where communicating via video with our friends, family and colleagues has become the norm, it’s no surprise that we are seeing invitations from Funders to submit video grant applications more and more. 

In the first half of 2021 alone, I have witnessed three separate Funders release their 2021 Grant Applications with the option to submit a video application. Even the Fundraising Institute of Australia invited potential speakers for their 2022 conference to upload a video with their presentation proposal paper. 

Fay Fuller Foundation’s 2021 Spark Grants offered eligible organisations to submit either a written 1 -2-page application or a 2 – 5 minute video answering 5 questions. The Foundation cited “we don’t want you investing too much of your time or resources and encourage you to be brief and get to the heart of the matter.”  

The Brisbane Airport Corporation also recently released its Community Giving Fund Round offering a video application as an alternative to a 1,000-word written response.  

And then more recently again, the Capricorn Foundation’s 2021 Grant Application also encouraged a 3-5-minute video as part of the application if you are comfortable to do so.  

I love this approach from a grant-making body who is providing flexibility and trust to busy charitable organisations who really know their work and mission, and it seems grant-seekers agree. 

I recently asked one of my valued clients what they thought of their first experience with submitting a video application over a written application. For this client, they were very pleased with the option. It saved the researcher an estimated 4  – 5 additional hours that would normally be spent preparing a written submission.  

So how can you make sure you are putting your best application forward if it is delivered via video? 

The team at Strategic Grants have compiled our top tips to ensure you leave no unanswered questions in the funders mind when it comes to video grant applications: 

  1. Remember to answer all the questions the funder has asked! Like written applications, you will still need to read the requirements very carefully and provide concise and clear responses.  
  1. If you have not been provided with any specific questions, tell the Funder in a video a bit about your organisation, your mission and goals. The project you are applying for, the need for your project and how you will evaluate this work. Include costs and timings too. 
  1. Your video application content is critical, and it is the most important criteria that will be assessed not how professional your video looks or the nice the background imagery.  
  1. You may be asked to convey anticipated outcomes. Not to be confused with outputs. For tips on addressing this, and other common grant application mistakes correctly, read our popular blog post “9 grant application mistakes and how to stop making them.” 
  1. If asked to include details on your budget, make sure you have obtained quotes, not estimates and mention not only the full project costs but any confirmed funding amounts if already secured.  
  1. You may have escaped word limits and punctuation, but you will instead need to prepare a video script that meets any time limits. Don’t wing it! (the Strategic Grants team can help you prepare your organisation’s key messages.) 
  1. Who will speak in your video? Consider the relevance to the grant you are applying for. If your application requests funding for a medical research project, the video should feature the Researcher who is leading the research. The same goes with any project request. The person/s who best know that project should be recorded. If it is for more general capacity building needs, then perhaps it is your organisation’s CEO.  
  1. Schedule the video recordings in the relevant roles calendar/s so that no one is put on the spot. Preparation is key! 
  1. Practice and rehearse your responses to ensure it meets the required time.  
  1. Who will record and what software will you use to record the video? It may just be your own phone or a tablet or perhaps you have a team of experienced roles in your organisation that can help to record and edit.  
  1. Adhere to deadlines. Like any grant application with a close date, video applications must be submitted on or before the deadline. Please make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to upload your video remembering the file size may be bigger than a word document and you do not need the stress of technical upload issues on the due date! 

In summary, prepare your video responses by drafting a script first, rehearse, record, edit and submit ahead of the deadline.  

For further advice and support from our expert team, please contact Strategic Grants on [email protected] or 09 801 0433. 

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