• Caroline Savage

Grant Writing Tips - What's the difference between a grant and tender in relation to the funder


As you know my second book Tender Writing: A Simple, Clear and Concise Guide is out. Many of my grant writing followers are facing the a move from a grant application to a tender application/bid.


In the not for profit sector, the grants environment has moved, in parts, to a tender process. It requires a new set of skills and a more formal approach to the writing process.


What's the difference between a grant and a tender?


The grant is more structured than it used to be. There are, amongst other things, clauses for non-compliance and more of an expectation to meet outcomes. However, in essence, it remains an amount of money given for a specific purpose. It is outcomes-based and there are usually some ongoing opportunities to tweak the expectations, especially if you keep the funder appraised on the project on a regular basis. Acquittals tend to be paid based on eligible spend rather than on the outcomes.


Tenders are part of a service or product procurement process. They require an in-depth response to a request for tender (RFT) containing detailed information to meet the RFT requirements and terms. That response will form a contract, if you are successful.


Grant Writing Tips - What's the difference between a grant and tender in relation to the funder expectation?


The move by funders to tenders, rather than grants, marks a change from giving money for a purpose to the procurement of services/products.


Whilst some tender applications still feel like you are responding to a grant, the expectations, professional approach and contracts have changed. There may be specific contract terms for non-performance and the ability to claw back funds. It may be that a contract can be terminated as a response.


As writers, you need to:

  • update your skills to meet the new writing environment

  • understand the need for a structured procurement based approach to the project planning, management, writing and response to the RFT

  • ensure the potential contracts are reviewed by legal teams and incorporated their responses into the bid/offer document, especially if there is the opportunity to negotiate terms

  • ensure the finances are modelled and mapped to the activities

I am sure you will have more questions than this post answered. Feel free to leave comments below or we can continue the conversation in the forum. For now...


Happy writing!


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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