Up first, is grant funding right for your organization right now?
Many times, I am approached by organizations to write grants for them, only to find that they are not likely to bring in the amount they need from grants or they’re not really ready for grant funding at all.
If your organization needs immediate funding, grants are not the way to go. Bringing in significant amounts of funding from grants takes a long commitment! If you need support for administrative expenses, also called operational support, you’re not likely to get that for quite some time. In most cases, especially in the beginning, grants are to support expenses related to direct service delivery. This is called program support. If you have no track record with grants, you should expect your first grants to be in the $1,000 to $5,000 range and you should not expect grants to make up a significant portion of your budget for quite some time.
Often when I explain this to organizations they get really frustrated and ask how they support themselves until they are ready to compete for significant grants. Here’s how.
So you’re ready for grants.
If you’ve read through the section above and you don’t see yourself described there, let’s get started!
In general, I don’t work on a grant-by-grant basis. Instead, I work with you to prioritize your funding needs and identify potential funders that match those priorities.
In partnership with you, I create a template grant application for each priority area. These templates include all the standard information required in most RFPs or grant applications.
As the templates are being created, we conduct prospect research to identify ambitious yet attainable potential funders that align with your needs. Once funders are identified we begin to create your Grants Matrix. This document is in Excel and includes, information about prospects including how you match or reasons for exclusion, a calendar of submission dates, and a tracking mechanism for pending grants and reports for awarded grants.
In addition to the Grants Matrix, I create a detailed work plan for each large grant submission process. This ensures that everyone is one the same page and clearly understands their roles and responsibilities in the grants preparation process.
I work with you to update the template created above to align with the funders’ application using reflective language, provide a proofed final document and all budgets and required attachments to make the submission process smooth and minimally disruptive to your staff and clients.
Once complete, the pending grant and any required reports are tracked in your Grants Matrix.
In a nutshell, you submit a large number of proposals to well-targeted prospective funders with the smallest amount of staff time possible AND through the process you’ve refined your programs to better meet your clients’ needs. Two birds one stone.