Are You ‘Grant Ready’?
You are a Do Good organization! You have an amazing program, great staff, super-human volunteers and you serve a community in need – all you need is a grant! Right?
You’ve got that proverbial ball rolling! On your way to doing good you stop by your grant professional’s office or call a consultant to keep it rolling; but when they ask you about annual reports, audits, IRS documents, needs assessments….all that ‘rolling’ feels like it comes to a screeching halt. We are here to help keep that ball rolling.
As a start-up nonprofit or a long-standing government agency, you may wonder, ‘Why should we invest resources to become ‘Grant Ready’ – when what we really need are grants – now?”
The answer is simple; grants are highly competitive. Organizations increase their probability of being awarded funding when they are prepared to compete. There are many steps you can take before the grant opportunity is open to put you in a better place to win the award. To be effective in seeking funding you have to be prepared with a strong project design and know what you offer the potential funder.
In Grant Ready, Set, Go! I provided 4 Elements to getting grant ready – T.I.P.S. for Grant Readiness: 1) Tracking 2) Information 3) Partners and 4) Strategy.
This past week, we asked the #GrantChat community what they think about Getting Grant Ready and they gave us some gems!
“What does it mean to be grant ready?”
An organization is Grant Ready when:
- They know who they are and what they need.
- Leadership is on board with plans to apply and manage funding.
- It has the infrastructure; systems and processes in place to apply and to manage awarded grant funds.
- Funding priorities,programming and mission are aligned.
- Documents are complete: financial statements, audits, program records/evaluation, 501C3, and other applicable documentation are accessible.
- Community is engaged, and partners are secured.
Our #Grantchat community members are proactive when it comes to going above-and- beyond their job descriptions and contracts to increase an organization’s grant readiness. These Grant Professionals ‘push for structure, for strategic planning, process, program documentation, access to data and financials across teams and provide opportunities for Grant Readiness training throughout’ their organizations.
Being a competitor means being a preparer!
We, as Grant Professionals, have a key role and responsibility within our organizations and with our clients to ensure success and sustainability; yet, many organizations don’t access or leverage the vast knowledge and expertise of their grant professional, often limiting their job description to a technical writer, of sorts. The Grant Professionals Association and the Grant Professionals Certification Institute have made great strides to advance professional grants development, management and evaluation.
Whether you are an employee or a consultant, as the grant professional, the #Grantchat community agreeds that:
1) Grant Professionals must be forthright and honest in our assessment of an organization’s or program’s readiness for grants.
2) Grant seeking organizations are successful when they focus on their mission and develop a grant seeking plan. Don’t chase the money, chase your dream!
Grantchatters shared a many tips and tools, including these Grant Ready Assessment Tools: United Way Guidelines for New Nonprofits, JM Grants’ Grant Ready Assessment Tool * (Note: At publishing time, JMGrants.com assessment tool is being updated to provide you with an instant report.)
Do you want to review or catch up on all the tips and tools the GrantChat community offered? You can read the full #Grantchat dialog from 06/03/14 via the Storify transcript here.
Do you have a grant ready assessment to add to our list? Please share your Grant Ready tips, tools and blog posts with us in the comments section below or tweet them to us @grant_chat and we will add them to the post and share them with the GrantChat community.