Last week, I was interviewed by Rick Tobin, emergency management consultant and radio host for the Internet-based show on emergency planning The Road to Ready. After listening to the recording today, I realized that my impromptu responses to his questions could be applied to all types of grant writing situations. (Note that my interview occurs between minutes 2 and 13.) In this article, I’ll share a synopsis of words worth sharing.
Are grants hard to find?
- Grant funding from the government (specifically federal) has not decreased overall. Congressional funding shifts from year to year as some grant-making agencies receive increased or decreased allocations. Based on their annual fiscal year allocation, an agency may opt to fund one program less and use those allocated dollars for another program. In the end, the amount of money is the same, but the number of grants available for any program with reduced funding will likely be fewer than in previous years.
- Private-sector funders (i.e., foundations and corporations) have been steadily bouncing back from, first, September 11, 2001, and second, the most recent recession. Their investments are not making any spectacular interest returns, but grant making is still active and annual. The awards may be smaller and their funding priorities may shift from year to year. It means that nonprofit grant seekers must be diligent in meeting with these funders to make sure that whatever program that the grantor funded last year is still of interest to the funder in the new fiscal year.
What best practices can you suggest for organizations seeking to open up to more funding sources?
- Initiating potential new funder relationships is critical for expanding your organization’s funding sources.
- Courting potential new funders for three to nine months before your organization submits a grant proposal is key.
- Current and new funders have historically required grantee accountability in the form of frequent communications and rigorous tracking and reporting (i.e., evaluation). Even if you are managing programs that are not funded by grants, you still need to collect ongoing qualitative and quantitative data on the performance and impact of your programs. Outcomes are the foundation/framework for proving your program and grant management capability.
In the next article, I’ll share some more words worth sharing.