Grant Application Tips

They are three simple words—“Describe your project”—but they can be anxiety-inducing for anyone tasked with submitting a grant application. Dr. Scott Brubacher, the Anglican Foundation of Canada’s (AFC) Executive Administrator, says he understands the tension well. “I have been on the applicant’s side of the process many times and have experienced the same nervousness myself.”

Brubacher, who has overseen AFC’s grant program since 2016, wants to reassure applicants and encourages them to visualize a team of staff and volunteers who want to be as generous as possible. “At AFC we love to say Yes! and work hard to help every eligible applicant be successful.” In short, his best grant-writing advice begins with, “Keep calm…and carry on with the grant application!”

Carrying on successfully, however, includes being mindful of the simple things. “It’s important to complete all the online application form fields carefully, and please don’t forget the postal code.” Hand-written files are strongly discouraged. “Use the word-processing software of your choice and save the file as a PDF. For budgets, use a spreadsheet if possible and, again, save it as a PDF.”

Noteworthy, too, is the importance of choosing the right contact person. “Ideally, the primary contact should be involved for the duration of the project and will be quick to respond to email, as there are often follow-up questions.” The contact person should be able to see the project through to the final report stage. “It’s not an onerous final report, by any means, but it is important to have someone who understands the project from start to finish.”

To tackle the task of describing a project head-on, Brubacher recommends, “Start with an inspiring project name, and then use the application form questions to structure a detailed description.” He says more complete project descriptions help the review committee in their evaluation process.

Also important is the overall case, the why of the project. “Make a compelling case for the impact your project will have on the target audience,” says Brubacher, “and how that impact will be evaluated. Be clear whether this is a new or ongoing project, and what the project timeframe is. If it’s an ongoing project, perhaps tailor the application to a specific program year or to a component piece of the bigger project.”

Brubacher says that while many applicants struggle to create an appropriate budget, it is a must for grant applications. “The more specific and detailed the budget, the better,” says Brubacher. “It means that you have thought through all aspects of the project and know exactly what you will encounter.”

With the ease and accessibility of hand-held technology, Brubacher encourages all grant recipients to take pictures and short videos. “Get permission from volunteers and program participants and share them with us.”

In the case of the Say Yes! to Kids Request For Proposals—which has an application deadline of October 1—Brubacher says AFC is keen to tell these stories of creative ministry and the care that Anglicans have for children and youth. “These projects may be the inspiration for similar work in other parts of the country, so we want to share widely!”

For more information, reach out to AFC at [email protected]. To submit a proposal to the 2021 Say Yes! to Kids RFP, visit