Welcome to Part III of a four-part series that focuses on the written policies and procedures that your organization--whether large or small--needs to have in place in order to be grant ready. This blog transitions from the Plan stage in grant readiness to the Do stage described in Part I.
PART III: Organizational Aspects of Grant Readiness
Review of Part I and Part II
In Part I of this series, we offered the friendly reminder that it's good to have a plan—to think through your priorities for grant seeking and how you go about it—when it comes to grant seeking.
In Part II, we emphasized that it's essential for your plan or grant strategy to be aligned with your organizational mission.
Grant Readiness: Roles, Processes, Tools
In Part III, we move on to the organizational aspects of grant readiness that can help you be better prepared to anticipate, adapt, and act when funding opportunities present themselves. We begin by focusing on roles and then move on to processes and tools that can position your organization to be grant ready. As you read through the descriptions, you’ll see that an effective grant-seeking effort takes a commitment of personnel and other resources. Developing a plan with a refined focus is what separates the highly successful recipients from those with a more hit-or-miss, ad hoc approach.
Grant Readiness: Roles
As we mentioned in Part I of this series, many organizations are not staffed in ways that allow for a full-time grant administrator or coordinator. Given that piece of reality, your organization needs to ensure that there are specific individuals within the organization whose written job duties and key performance indicators include outcomes directly related to grants. In addition to identifying specific individuals, your organization needs to describe each individual's role with regard to grant activity and management.
Board Members. For example, board-level involvement, support, commitment, and oversight are essential components of a successful grant strategy. Basically, the board must be on board with the organizational grant strategy. Yes, so they can openly support the strategy, but also so board members can communicate that strategy clearly and consistently across all levels of the organization, as well as externally. Board-level buy-in is also critical in allocating sufficient resources to establish and maintain a continuous, successful effort over time.
Administration, Faculty, and Staff. Different members of the organization are involved in grant processes to different degrees and in different ways. For educational institutions, faculty members may play the role of principal investigators, whereas staff members may play major roles with the budget details, and administrators may be part of the approval process.
Grant Coordinator. Although your organization may not have an individual who dedicates 100% of his or her time to grant activity, hopefully there is a specific person who wears the grant coordinator hat and is designated as the clear leader/coordinator of grant activity. The grant coordinator typically tracks specific proposals, seeks out funding opportunities that match your organization's mission, manages the process, and leads grant communication efforts across the organization.
||Insider Tip: If you'd like no-cost help you identify funding opportunities that match your organization's mission and key initiatives, then join The Grant Helpers Watch List.
Grant Writers. Larger non-profit organizations often have one or more members whose full-time responsibility focuses on grant writing. In smaller organizations, grant writing may be an expectation associated with multiple positions, as in "other duties as assigned." For example, employees who work for a foundation may be expected to devote most of their time to working with individual donors and programs, but also be expected to help out with grant writing as needed.
Volunteer Grant Writers. Some organizations also use the services of volunteer grant writers. Those that do are well-advised to develop and rely on written policies and procedures to govern their use of the services of volunteer grant writers and to maintain continuity as volunteers come and go. Conflicts of interest, background checks, and qualifications are examples of details that need to be addressed.
Outsourcing. Naturally, as a grant writing company, we are quick to point out the advantages of outsourcing grant support. We subscribe to many databases with thousands of funding opportunities, so we’re well positioned to quickly find agencies that are interested in supporting your efforts. Also, we’ve written millions of dollars in successful proposals. The Grant Helpers can greatly increase your chances of funding--and can be available as needed without the expenses incurred with full-time staff.
The Grant Helpers also can help your organization build your own capacity in-house, if that’s in your long-term plans. If so, we’ll be more involved initially and will spend more time explaining how the process works. We'll also help you develop some of the processes mentioned below and the tools mentioned in Part IV of the blog. Over time, we can take a more advisory role.
Grant Readiness: Processes
The different roles introduced above need to be defined so that specific tasks are aligned with specific
|Most grant proposals request similar, basic information. Organizations can save time when preparing grant applications by maintaining a central file with this information. The file should include your 501c3 status letter, annual budget, resumes of key staff and the Board of Directors, and identifying information, such as your organization's address and any tax or grant registration numbers (like CCR and EIN).
|-- excerpted from What Goes into a Grant Readiness Kit? Posted by Katie Adams
roles. The end product is a map or flowchart of the grant strategy and the different roles organizational members play. Timelines and the grant proposal approval process should be pieces of the flowchart.
As The Grant Helpers have emphasized in previous blog posts, organizations that have the right tools and procedures in place can shave hours off their grant proposal preparation time.
Grant Readiness: Tools
Your organization can use tools and documents such as checklists, templates, organizational case statements, boiler plate information, and approval flowcharts to systematize the development of grant applications. In addition, software programs and databases that alert you to funding opportunities that align with your organization's mission statement and key initiatives serve as helpful, time-saving tools.
Next time we'll focus more on tools your organization can use to manage and monitor the grant process. We'll conclude our four-part series by featuring the operational aspects of grant readiness that can help you be better prepared to anticipate, adapt, and act when funding opportunities present themselves.
Until then, we invite you to review the roles, processes, and tools that are part of your organization's grant strategy. Of course, if your analysis reveals gaps in your grant readiness plan, then you have an opportunity to address those gaps through continuous process improvement.
As always, The Grant Helpers is available to assist you! Just contact us and ask your grant question