SmartyStats reveal how applicants are lodging forms

Posted on 03 Jul 2019

By Matthew Schulz, journalist, Our Community

Analysis of data on applicants using the SmartyGrants system reveals that more than half of all grantseekers who lodge applications complete them in under 48 hours.

In fact, nearly one quarter (24%) of applicants lodge their applications within an hour. A lot of grantseekers prepare their applications outside SmartyGrants before cutting and pasting their information into the online system, and these users are likely to account for a large proportion of that 24%.


While the statistics are somewhat affected by year-round grants that don't have a "deadline", we can reliably say that nearly one in 10 grantseekers leave it until the final hour before deadline to lodge their application.

SmartyGrants statistics also show that as you might expect, applications for larger sums of money take longer to complete, and applications in sectors with larger sums on offer usually take longer too.

According to Our Community's data scientists, the amount of time an application takes tends to correlate with the type of organisation that is funding the grant, and these types can be divided into three groups:

  • applications to local government and "other" funders take a median time of about 24 hours
  • applications to business and philanthropic funders take a median time of about 48 hours
  • applications to federal, state and territory government funders take a median time of about three days or 72 hours

Along similar lines, applications generally tend to take longer where there is more money involved - to a point: a median of eight hours for a sum less than $1000 and 127 hours for an application worth more than $1 million.

Oddly, however, the median application time is greater for grants between $50,000 and $1 million than it is for those larger funds. More research is needed to explain this anomaly.

Of course, all these statistics relate only to applications that are actually lodged.

The figures should be read in conjunction with those in previous studies conducted by the Innovation Lab for SmartyGrants and the AIGM.

For instance, Grants in Australia research studies have repeatedly shown that many SmartyGrants users who start applications fail to lodge them at all.

The 2017 Grants in Australia report found 54% of grantseekers had failed to lodge an application they had commenced, after running out of time (38%), discovering they didn't meet the criteria (16%), or deciding the grant "wasn't right for us" (27%).

And a SmartyGrants sentiment analysis conducted in 2018 suggested grantseekers despised deadlines more than any element of grants programs.

The latest figures build on previously published research into application waiting times that revealed federal agencies had made the biggest strides in reducing the time it took them to make a decision about grant applications.

We hope you find these insights useful as you're planning your next grant round.


SmartyStats: Funders faster to respond to applications

Read more: Grants in Australia research series

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