GRANT WRITING:WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE WRITING AND SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL

By James V. D’Ambrosio

Last month I wrote about the importance of knowing what to do after receiving a grant. It’s equally important to consider the beginning of the process: what to consider before writing and submitting a grant proposal.

Since the grant-writing process is multifaceted and involves some complexity, taking time to think through the process can increase the  chances for winning a grant and avoid wasting time chasing inappropriate opportunities. Below are some important considerations:  

GRANT-SEEKING PREREQUISITES: ITEMS TO CONSIDER

Organizational Capacity: If the grant is awarded, does your organization have the proper staffing, space and resources to carry it out? If you’re unsure, speak with the executive director and/or program staff involved to find out. Nothing is worse than spending a great deal of time and effort winning a grant only to learn that your agency is not equipped to implement it. Ouch!

Think About Objectives/Fit: There must be a match between what you seek to accomplish and what the funding agency will actually fund. Review their Web site for examples of other projects they have funded. Carefully research — and choose — your targets. Better to have five (5) solid targets than 15 questionable ones.   

Ensure Eligibility: Check  if your agency is eligible for the award. Call the funder and speak with the program officer, briefly explaining your agency’s mission/focus, and what you’re looking to do. 

Reviewing Guidelines: Who will review your proposal — One person? A panel of experts? In-house staff? Knowing this can help shape your approach. If it isn’t stated in the application, call and find out.

Financial Management: If you’re the project director, are you qualified to disburse funds? If not, find someone who is and list them on the grant application.

Format: Does the funder prefer electronic or hard-copy submission?

♦ Endorsement: Who is required to endorse the application — CEO/executive director, lawyer, project director?

Award Range: Find out the average award for each funder you are applying to — is it $25,000? $50,000? $100,000? This will ensure you ask for an appropriate amount. Keep in mind that a recessionary economy often means a smaller award.

To be sure, there are many variables involved in grant-writing and no easy way to win an award, especially in today’s competitive climate. Considering the above can help to focus your efforts and increase your chances for success.

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QUESTION TO READERS: What else do you think is important to consider before writing and submitting a proposal?

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