Grant funding at your organisation – is it a case of just stumbling across a suitable grant, rushing around putting a submission together just in the nick of time and then crossing your fingers and hoping for the best? With everything else you’ve got on your plate, how can you possibly be on top of the latest funding news and opportunities? With a few regular activities, you can make a big difference to how your organisation approaches it’s grant funding.
With that in mind here are my suggestions for improving your grant funding processes:
1. ‘Visit’ your grant sources regularly
Identify your grant sources and check in on them regularly. To make things easier, pay for a subscription or get a consultant to help you with this one if you need to. Don’t let grants and programs ‘jump’ up on you at the last minute.
2. Organise your grant review
Set up 2 templates; First, one for listing possible grants that you identify in your searches, noting details and application closing dates. The second is a template for summarising each particular grant or program you think might be the right fit for your organisation. These will make you look like an organised pro when it comes to presenting to decision makers and/or members of your board.
3. Standardise your project planning
Each potential project should be planned in exactly the same way. Again, set up a project planning template that your team completes before any project goes ahead. (Look for my next article on project panning). Most, if not all, grants will require some level of project planning. With standardised template ALL your projects are already ‘grant ready’.
4. Measurement..do it regularly
How will you know if your project is working? Make sure you have measurable outcomes. You will then know if a project is actually working and you can also demonstrate it’s success to your donors and grant makers. Not many can get the forecasted figures spot on but they should be compared with actual numbers. Capture your actuals as soon as they are available so that it isn’t overwhelming.
Grant funding applications are a joint effort by all members of the organisation. Bring all team members on board with regular, consistent communication on your grants, their status and progress. Make it interesting and creative!
So now you have a regular list of grants, a summary of donors and programs, all your projects are planned, measurable and your team is on board and energised (or at least know what’s happening). Impressive.