Thursday, April 28, 2016

Increase the Speed of Your Grant Writing by Organizing the Key Documents

The management of enthusiasm can be one of the most important secrets to your success as a grant writing consultant. In my experience, people get more excited about a project if they get into action on it immediately. The problem in grant writing, however, is that you usually do not know enough about the grant application requirements initially to establish any realistic assignments for everyone participating in the grant writing process. Accordingly, I have a standard approach I use the get people moving which will also make it easier to write the grant.

Arial video from a F450 RC quad-copter at 10, 000 feet for a first person visual (FPV) flight over nearby Aliso Canyon in Laguna Niguel, CA.
For an interesting, first person visual (FPV) flight over nearby Aliso Canyon in Laguna Niguel, CA check out this video from a F450 RC quad-copter at 10,000 feet. Trish and I walk in this park.

I like to leverage the initial excitement of having me visit at a charity by getting them started on some overlooked elements of a complete grant package including:
  • Updated resumes on the key leaders and program managers of the charity.
  • Updated project budget that includes a lot of specific line items and details.
  • Latest version of charity's mission statement and/or vision statement.
  • Updated list of board members with phone numbers, addresses, board roles, and occupational data.
  • Secure electronic copies of annual budget, IRS 990, and most recent audited financial statement.
My approach is to remind key leaders that these elements of a complete proposal are more important than anything I can add as a grant writer. In some cases, the budget document and the staff resumes will be key deciding factors in whether or not the client wins the grant. The sooner the charity starts perfecting these documents, the better it will be for their overall chances of winning.

It does not matter if you have always worked at the same charity all your life, or if you are dropping in at the last minute by quad-copter, you need to use scarce time efficiently.

Thanks to the preparation of the staff, Irvine Valley College earned $1.5 million to establish a new center to support Asian American and Pacific Islander students in 2015. They were among a small number of institutions to win this sort of funding during a time when legislators are seeking to trim the federal budget. Nevertheless, the staff at Irvine Valley College was able to take action because they were organized ahead of time and knew where to find the key documents needed to provide evidence of their program's features and prior success. Moreover, they had the documentation ready to demonstrate that they met the key eligibility requirements for the grant too.

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