Grant Workshop 101: Clarifying Your Grant Needs
In my last article, I explained that there are certain key points that must be clearly defined before pursuing a grant. For starters, grants are typically used for one of three main reasons: to launch a new program, support a current program or get assistance with annual operating expenses. Have you clarified which applies to your organization? This should be the very first step on the grant seeker’s journey. Start thinking about who you want to help and how you will do it. This will fall under the purpose of your grant. It may seem very simple and it is, basically. However, there are some essentials that need to be included in your purpose and they are not always so simple.
- The challenges and/or opportunities facing your organization: Drawing off of your organizational history, mission and goals will help shape your objectives for the utilization of grant funding. By analyzing the services and accomplishments, (both anticipated and achieved) funding sources are better able to assess how the grant can further the cause of your organization. Be sure to include well-thought out activities and organizational relationships with others in the same field. A team oriented aspect of overcoming the challenges of your mission will almost always garner favor above a singular concept.
- Long-range strategy: In this manner, your organization should be carefully explaining the specific details of the mission. To do this effectively, a solid grant proposal will address the way in which the goal will be met. Additionally, the activities must be verifiable and measurable. How will the organization determine that goals and objectives were met successfully? Consider that funders will need to be able to fully understand the time frame as well. Long term funding strategies should be included and weighed in relation to achieving the organizational goals and objectives.
- Evaluating the agenda: Hopefully, by now your organization has established a mission, related to the community to be served and described the impact that is predicted. In evaluating the agenda, you will describe the steps of the program. Here you will explain the method of measuring success and clarify the assigned duties of the individuals who will do the actual work of the program. This step must not be overlooked. Funding sources will want to assure that the participants have the access, tools and experience to see the program well executed. Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean all your contributors must be certified professionals. Volunteers are just as valuable to your mission. It does, however, require that special attention is paid to the details that make up your program.
Who knew there were so many fine aspects to getting a grant? I’m here to tell you, there are lots of factors beyond these basics. This doesn’t mean your organization can’t be prepared when you sit down with a grant writer. In fact, in my next article I’ll tell you even more things you can do. We’ll get into what the grant writer contributes and why it’s so much better to work with a professional than to go it alone.