What is a Grant Calendar?
Let’s start by making sure that we are all using the same definition of what a grant calendar is NOT:
A grant calendar is not an entry for each upcoming deadline on your own personal calendar.
A grant calendar is not set in stone, or a limitation on which grant applications you can apply for.
Rather, a grant calendar IS:
A grant calendar is an entry for each upcoming deadline on a shared calendar that ALL members of the grant team can access that is managed by the lead grant writer/professional.
A grant calendar is accessible to the full team that uses the technology that is best suited to the organization – that may be Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, or a shared Excel file on the network server.
[tweetthis]A grant calendar is accessible to full team & uses tech best suited to org.[/tweetthis]
A grant calendar does include not only grant application deadlines, but also key dates related to key research dates like funder webinars and conferences, building relationships with grant makers, maintaining relationships with current grant funders, grant management report deadlines, grant billing deadlines.
A grant calendar is a guide for your proactive grant seeking strategy for the year ahead to help achieve your grant revenue goals for the organization.
[tweetthis]A grant calendar is a guide for your proactive grant seeking strategy.[/tweetthis]
So why are grant calendars important?
Grant calendars help provide a plan for both you as the grant writer and for your colleagues that will have to provide information and input as it relates to applications, renewals, and reports for grants (who are key members of your grant team whether you call it that or not). They help ensure that you have a plan for how you will secure and maintain the grant revenue included in your annual operating budget and how you will focus on your growth goals for that revenue.
And why are we talking about them three-quarters of the way through 2015?
Whether your fiscal year just started on July 1st, or you are focusing on wrapping up your year which will end on December 31st, you should always have an eye on your grant calendar and laying it out as a living and rolling document. It is critical to have your full team engaged in approving the proposed plan as documented on the calendar as you head into a new budget and new fiscal year. However, during the course of every year, using the calendar year as a reminder to revisit and update the calendar during the fiscal year can help keep you and your grant team on track for achieving the goals of your proactive grant strategy.
Are you new to the idea of creating a shared grant calendar for your organization?
Here is a great article from Nonprofit About.com outlining 9 Steps to Create a Grant Calendar to help you get started if you are just embarking on starting a grant calendar for your organization.
What other tips or tricks do you have about you put your grant calendar together each year or how you give your team and colleagues access to the calendar? We’d love to hear! Share your comments with us in the comment section of the website, via email, or on social media using the hashtag #granttips.