5 ways to avoid a low scoring grant application

February 1, 2022

A clipboard with the phrase application next to a macbook

We know it takes time and skill to prepare a winning CBF grant application. So the last thing you want is to receive low scores from our assessors on your answers to our grant application questions.

Our Grant Support Team know what makes a high-scoring application. To help you prepare the best possible grant application, we asked the team about the most common mistakes people make.

Here are the top five:

1. Failure to mention your goals in the ‘Ideas’ section

Low scoring responses in the ‘Ideas’ section of the application form that are too vague or not relevant to your project or funding request. Your goals need to be specific. Make sure you mention the objective of the funding, highlighting why it is essential and why it is needed now.  

2. Not supplying all the documents in the ‘Capacity’ section

Our Development & Operations grant applications forms have a ‘Capacity’ section that asks you to provide proof there are appropriately experienced people involved in the project or implementation of the funding. A number of documents also need to be uploaded in this section. Generally, applications that fail to provide both attract low scores.  

3. Not having the right ‘Impacts’ measures 

The ‘Impacts’ section of the applications forms is where you can shine by showing what the impacts will be and how you will measure them. You need to show hard evidence of how you will measure the ROI (return on investment) of the grant. Responses that are vague or rushed, or even irrelevant to the project’s aim do not score well.  

4. Rejection of gender inequity under ‘Impacts’

The ‘Impacts’ section also includes a number of gender-based questions. Applicants who do not score well in this section may claim “there is no gender imbalance at our station” or they simply don’t answer the question. A stronger response would be to talk about how your station’s policies are helping to create greater gender balance, or to report on the current gender balance at the station, or show how you are addressing any gender imbalances through programming or campaigns.

5. Inaccuracies in the ‘Planning’ section

Responses that attract low scores in the ‘Planning’ section often have inaccuracies such as budgets that don’t balance. Other weaknesses include vague or irrelevant milestones listed in the timelines table or applicants not using appropriately experienced people on the project or as part of the grant. 

Need more information and support? 

If you would like to understand more about how to receive high application scores or have any questions about how to apply please get in touch with the Grants Support Team. They are also happy to talk through your project ideas and look at early application drafts.  

We know from experience that it makes a big difference when applicants chat to us before submitting their applications. The earlier you do this, the better as it will then give you more time to prepare the best possible application. 

Grant round dates

Our current grant round is now open and closes on Tuesday 1 March 2022 at 2pm (AEDT). 

About our grants  

We run two Content and Development & Operations grant rounds each year, usually in January and July. 

Quick Response Grants are also available outside our grant rounds for community media organisations that are experiencing emergencies.  

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