How do you write a grant and win tons of funding? Preparation, or in the grant writer’s case “Readiness”. Readiness is all about preparing your organization to write a grant proposal and creating a strategy for ensuring you are pursuing the right funding sources to help your organization meet its mission. Here are 5 tips for grant writing readiness.
- Organizational Information: Be prepared to provide basic information about your organization such as your mission statement, the population you serve, and your staff and Board of Directors. Be sure to include information about who will be served by the program and how it will benefit the community. In some cases, you may be asked to submit additional materials such as a budget, letters of support, or copies of your organization’s IRS determination letter.
- Program/ Project: Describe your program or project in detail. Be sure to include information about who will be served by the program and how it will benefit the community. Determine how long it will take you to complete your project. Make sure your timeline is realistic and achievable including some buffer time in case of delays. Create a sustainability plan that demonstrates to funders that you have thought about how your programs will continue after their funding ends.
- Data: Knowing your data is important for a few reasons. First, you will want to be able to show funders the impact of your programs. Secondly, data can help you identify any gaps in services which can help you target specific types of funding. Many funders will also want to see how you plan to measure the success of your programs. To help measure the success of your programs you should create an evaluation plan. An evaluation plan is useful because it can help you set specific goals and objectives for your programs and outline how you will collect data to track your progress. This is important because funders want to know that their money is being used effectively and that their funding is making a difference.
- Budget for your program: Having a clear and concise budget is important for two reasons. First, funders will want to see how you are planning to spend their money. Secondly, a well-developed budget can help you keep track of your spending and make sure your program is running as efficiently as possible. Make sure your budget is realistic and achievable and don’t forget to include a line item for evaluation in your budget if allowable.
- Funders that align with your mission: Relying on a single funding source is never a good idea. What happens if that funding stream dries up? By diversifying your network of funders, you can insulate your organization from sudden changes. To attract a range of funders, review the funder’s guidelines to be sure you meet their eligibility requirements and get a sense of their interests. Research the funder’s giving history to see if they have funded similar programs in the past.