Ready your organization for grant money!!!
The Organization seeking grant money often wonder what they have to do to look good to donors. It a common mistake to just write proposals without adequate preparation. Your success depends how well you meet the donor’s expectations. What donors expect to see when reviewing your grant application is not far-fetched. The 2 basic questions the donor asks here are: Who is applying? What qualifies you to apply to an identified donor?
Know your organization
The proposal writer must have a great understanding of the organization for which s/he writes. The history, vision and mission statements of such organizations must be common knowledge. It is easy to copy such information into relevant sections of the proposal. This is not always a good practice as this information may be outdated. Such information as history should be updated frequently. The vision may remain constant, not the mission. When such changes are made, they have to reflect in proposals.
Do your research well
Proposal writers must be up to date with information about their organization. Thus, adequate efforts must be invested in researching your own organization’s past, present and possible future. Research assists the writer to present the best picture of the grant-seeking organization to the donor. In other words, organizational research entails studying previous reports of the organization as well as interacting with older staff especially if the writer is not the founder of the organization. Sometimes, it is the little details we tend to overlook that may give us the required edge over our competitions. The other way we can know our organization better is by conducting organizational assessments to determine the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the organization. Some common tools that can be used to achieve this include the SWOT Analysis, PESTLE Analysis and the Organization Capacity Assessment Tool.
Why qualifies your organization to apply for grant money?
Evidence must be readily available to show the organization’s competencies. The competencies must align with the skills required to implement the project for which you are seeking donor support. For instance; If you are a civil engineer; it would seem unusual if you want to do a project on Exclusive Breastfeeding or Autism. The donor is befuddled by such a proposition and cause your proposal to be thrown out. If the Civil Engineer is a trained Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA), then he must de-emphasize his Civil Engineering background and emphasize his training and experience as a TBA. Organizations may have multiple work areas and then, it becomes important to refer to only relevant experiences and skills. Mention other competencies in passing.[the_ad_placement id=”adsense-in-feed”]
Documents every organization should have
There are a number of documents relating to organizations that the proposal writer should have at hand and a considerable knowledge of. These documents include the following:
- financial status including most recent overall organization budget and individual program budget,
- staff: (full-time, part-time, volunteers) number and qualifications (brief biography), background and strengths and job descriptions
- board members,
- past activities, Annual Reports
- vision and mission statement,
- certificate of incorporation,
- organizational chart,
- list of all current funding sources,
- strategic plan,
- policies and procedures (financial, human resources, engagement, child protection, travel, procurement, etc)
- organization’s history,
- current programs,
- the community (stakeholders analysis reports),
- list of existing formal linkages and partners,
- recent needs assessment reports,
- program evaluation reports,
- recent publicity (news clippings) and;
- list of awards, indication of community support.
Equipped with these information, it becomes easy to write proposals convincingly. Some organizations learn to position themselves for grant winning. I hope this article helps you achieve just that. Are you ready to win grant money? Better be.[the_ad id=”1447″] by : Michael Ukwuma