Grant writing can be a nerve wrecking exercise. You know your organization has what it takes to win but it all comes down to how well you can execute an award-winning grant proposal.
But, before you start typing, there are four key points your NGO needs to consider when it comes to fundraising through grants:
1) Apply ONLY if your NGO is qualified
Grants are provided through a variety of sources such as a foundation, a corporation or the government and most require specific programs or social missions to be pursued. You must be able to effectively identify opportunities that your NGO is actually qualified to win, otherwise, you’ve not only wasted time and effort but your proposal won’t be accepted.
2) Grant Writing Takes Time and Dedication from Everyone
While it’s easy to think that only one person should be responsible for writing the proposal, the entire NGO or at least top management should be a part of the research process contributing where necessary. Have brainstorming meetings to come up with an approach and have each department review the relevant sections that apply to them. For example, have the accounts department help with the budget and the education department review the community outreach programs being proposed.
3) Plans must be S.M.A.R.T
Although unrestricted do grants exist, most grants come with specific program outlines and timelines attached to receiving funding. Sometimes, NGOs can get carried away with extravagant planning which can become overwhelming for staff to achieve should the grant be provided. Make sure your NGO has the capacity and resources, such as staff and time, to dedicate to the grant’s specific program outlines. Your proposal’s goals must, therefore, be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely- S.M.A.R.T.
4) Don’t Depend on Grants Alone
While grant applications should be factored into your fundraising plans, it should not be heavily relied on by your organization as grant based funding isn’t sustainable. Your fundraising initiatives should be diverse with grant funding simply adding to your non-profit’s ability to achieve its social goals and should never be seen as a solution to any funding woes.
Applying for funding is well worth it and we’re ready to help your NGO develop successful grant writing skills during our Deep Dive session at our 2017 T&T NGO Professionals Seminar on June 6 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.