Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Successful Grant Application

A successful application is one that is thoughtfully planned, well-prepared and clearly packaged. It is a reflection of your organization’s capacity and creativity to identify an issue and attempt to resolve it.

Here is something you can do starting today for the next grant application – begin building a boilerplate. Every grant application requires information on the organization. Create folders that will be ready when the writing begins. Include the usual – mission, when founded, list of board, staff credentials, etc. but also capture “lessons learned.” If you’ve changed your strategy because of a failure, a change in the market or for other reasons, that is a lesson learned and it reflects your responsiveness. Also record stories and quotes that set you apart. If something memorable is said at a board meeting, write it down and include the attribution. The same is true for comments made by customers or clients. Such material provides a human face that numbers do not.

Second, a system employing a grid is one method of transferring the elements of a grant announcement into a working format. All pertinent information is captured by task and each is assigned to staff or volunteer with a deadline.

Item or task person responsible date due status notes

This is a good way to track all proposal elements and pass on your thoughts to the person who will be compiling the information. In many government grants, points are awarded for each section. When you grid a grant announcement, you become more familiar with the points that can be awarded for meeting criteria to the fullest.

Finally, stay current with all data on your market. This includes demographics, county and state statistics, best practices and articles. Reference materials can often be included as appendices.

Myrna Meadows, Nonprofit Resource Specialist - International Falls

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