So, I was thinking about the Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” the other day and got to thinking: What are five habits of an effective grant seeker? Here's what I narrowed down:
Research daily. Do your homework on prospective funders. Read up on the types of projects and funding recipients awarded in recent years. Track prospective grants and keep up on reporting by utilizing software for grants management.
Envision the end. What is the ultimate impact of your project? How will you clearly present this vision to the grant maker? Your project logic model is an effective way to present your step-by-step vision at a one-page glance, connecting resources to the activities to the ultimate impacts. This is useful to both your organization and the grant maker, so that you’re all on the same page.
Think: How Will the Grant Maker Benefit? Grant seeking is not about securing funding for a moment in time; it’s about demonstrating to the prospective funder that the grant dollars will genuinely impact the communities and that the project will continue after the funding is used (sustainability). More fundamentally, think not only in terms of what you need for the project but also how your goals align with the mission of the grant maker.
Know Your Grant Maker. Grant applicants eagerly want their statement of need to be understood. But remember that you have to understand the grant maker before you can effectively present your cause to that potential funder: Doing your homework, asking questions, and contacting the program officer for elucidation (not to mention to establish a relationship) about parts of the NOFA are all steps in the right direction. See how your project fits within the funder’s vision. Program officers are often more than happy to discuss this.
Come Together, Right Now. No grant writer is an island. Even for a small nonprofit organization, it takes the strength of the board, director, bookkeeper, and others to coordinate resources (“inputs” for those following along on the logic model) needed to produce a sustainable project. These resources include grant funding, cash and/or in-kind matching funds, staff and volunteer time, facilities, equipment, transportation, and community partners. Grant funding is just one piece of the grand project puzzle.
Have a list of effective (or ineffective) grant seeking habits that you think is worth sharing? Anything to add to my points above? Feel free to leave a comment below, or read more about how a grants management system can help your organization save time and grant money:
eCivis is the nation's leading grants management software solution and the ideal platform for improving grants performance for local governments and community-based organizations. For more information about eCivis, visit www.ecivis.com.
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