Looking for grant funding to support an event or program can be a challenge. Once you find the grant opportunity, there are strategies to save time and manage the process for future proposal submissions. Below are four strategies that work well for any grant development budget.
Take time to carefully review the funding source website to know their priorities and support objectives. Does the organization want to help the homeless, invest in underserved communities, or provide assistance to inner-city schools? How does your funding request fit into their mission? If your organization priorities are a good match, then the next step is to review the grant submission criteria. If you cannot fully comply with all the criteria, don’t waste your time submitting a grant.
There are many grant software packages to help keep you organized, but if you have a limited budget, I recommend developing a simple spreadsheet to track of the following information:
Tracking this information will provide you with data so you can determine which grants to apply for in the future, what relationships need to be cultivated, and when compliance obligations are due.
Look for opportunities to connect with the organization. For example, if your organization is starting a program that meets the mission and objectives of the funding source, be proactive and send an email to the organization or call the contact person.
The goal is to find ways to build a relationship and to let the funding organization know that your organization is doing work that meets their funding objectives. When the next grant submission opportunity is available, reapply for the grant.
If you receive the grant, remember to meet all compliance obligations. All funding sources are different. Some may want a detailed budget reconciliation and summary of the event or program, and other funding sources may request nothing. In any case, make it a habit to provide something. If there are requirements, be sure to comply and do so within the specified deadline. If there is no requirement, write a “thank you” letter expressing your gratitude and explaining how the funds made the event or program a success.
If there is a compliance requirement and you do not meet it, you could be declined future grants. Make it a habit to: