We get it.
Grantseeking can be scary, especially for brand new non-profit organizations. You try to keep track of all the advice you read and hear about getting grants, but the process of tracking and retaining crucial information can be an impossible and all-consuming task.
To make your life a whole lot easier, we put together a simple checklist that will aid you and your team in the sometimes overwhelming grantseeking process.
GET A WALL CALENDAR
Most non-profit organizations are seeking numerous grant awards from a variety of funders at different times throughout the year.
There will be deadlines for letters of inquiry/intent (LOI), full proposals, award announcements, award distribution, and reports organizations must submit to funders that prove they have spent the monies in accordance with the rules of the funding body.
At any given time, there can be 50 to 100 funding deadlines you and your team are attempting to juggle simultaneously.
Do your team a favor. Get a wall calendar.
And not just any calendar.
Get a large dry erase calendar with plenty of space to write and rewrite all the details you and your team will need to track.
I recommend a dry erase calendar that is simple, easy to hang, and inexpensive.
The one listed below is available at Amazon and can be in your development office in two days if you have an Amazon Prime membership:
Once the calendar arrives, hang it on a wall that can be seen every time your development team enters the room. This way, crucial upcoming funding deadlines will be top of mind every time you and your team see the reminders in a rainbow of vibrant colors on your handy-dandy dry erase wall calendar.
Want to splurge?
Order a few calendars and spread them throughout your organization’s work areas so that funding goals are always in sight and therefore front of mind for all members of your development team.
UTILIZE A GRANTS DATABASE
In the early days of a non-profit organization, it isn’t uncommon to use Google as the main database for grantseeking.
However, although useful, seeking grants via Google search can be time-consuming and limited.
Both options provide organizations with an extensive database of grant opportunities, educational materials to aid in the funding process, and the ability to access and secure funding regionally, nationally and internationally.
Look into each option and, based on your organization’s needs and budget (Raiser’s Edge is the more expensive of the two), choose what works for you.
GO BACK TO SCHOOL
In addition to paid staff, a development team can benefit greatly from undergraduate and graduate students interested in working in the non-profit sector.
The ideal student is great at research, writing, videography and/or data mining since each of these skills is important to the grantseeking process.
You can find students through career centers, job boards, and English, Journalism and Creative Writing departments.
Although paid internships are ideal, some students are more interested in securing college credit for the work they complete with your organization.
Be sure to check with the school, state organizations that oversee academic internships, and, most importantly, the student to ensure the internship is as beneficial to the student’s academic growth as it is to the organization’s development needs.
One of the biggest mistakes development teams make is to put all of its eggs in one basket.
When seeking funding for the organization, be sure to seek monies from a variety of grantmakers, including private foundations, federal agencies, family foundations, and local organizations.
Yes, requirements for securing funds from federal agencies can be a bit more demanding and complex than those of small family foundations.
However, federal agencies are known to write big checks, so the extra work and red tape in the end may be worth it if you secure a substantial award.
The point here is to create a development plan that allows your team to seek funds from a variety of sources so that you can maximize your chances of getting the money you need to power your programs.
CELEBRATE THE SMALL WINS
Development can often feel like a thankless job.
Everyone is looking to your team – sometimes through stressed, irritated and impatient eyes – to bring in enough money to cover programs, payroll, and all other organizational costs.
That is a huge responsibility!
With that in mind, take time to celebrate the small wins – deadlines met, successful LOIs that lead to full proposals, a student intern receiving crucial on the job training – so that you and your team are constantly aware of everything you do for the organization and each other.
When the big wins come, and they will come, you can pat yourselves on the back for a job well done while never losing sight of everything you accomplished – both big and small – along the way.
Need more help? Don’t hesitate to sign up for an upcoming course or drop us a note via the form below.