Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

So You Missed the Deadline for Target’s Field Trip Grants

Posted by Carol Timms on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 @ 16:10 PM

We often share information on grants available throughout the country. The Target Field Trip grant is an example. However, if you missed the deadline, as did more than one of our readers who emaile15288056461_7663d248a1_m.jpgd us asking about an extension, what are your options? In two words: keep looking.  There are three ways to approach this: Geography, Topic, and Timing.


A number of foundations respond to requests only from specific locations. Sometimes this is based on where the parent company does business or has a significant presence. Other times, the foundation has sentimental ties to specific communities or locations. Your local Community Foundation is a great place to start. Community foundations manage grants specific to your area. Other examples include:

The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund offers grants for field trips to schools in Los Angeles County

The Windermere Foundationoffers grants for field trips to schools in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. This geographic spread is based on the area served by the Windermere Real Estate Company.

The Meemic Foundation for the Future of Education offers grants for field trips to schools in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.


The subject matter addressed by your field trip choice can also influence your funding options. These are, most often, geographically specific as well. Two examples are:

Maine Initiatives’ Flannel Shirt Fund connects farms to schools and children to gardens. They specifically offer funds to schools in Maine for field trips to local farms.

The Save the Redwoods League offers grants to engage students in firsthand experiences with redwood forests. These experiences specifically include field trips.


Most funding organizations accept proposals on an annual, semi-annual, or even quarterly basis.  Some accept proposals on a rolling basis without a specific deadline.  Once you identify potential funding organizations, note the next open date.  Prepare your proposal ahead of time and be ready to submit well ahead of the deadline.  The Target Field Trip grants will roll around again next year, sooner than you expect.  Mark your calendar for Aug. 1, when they start accepting applications.

If you are looking for field trip funds, we can help. The Grant Helpers has expertise in searching and applying for a wide variety of grants. Contact us today for a free telephone consultation with one of our grant experts.


Topics: education, educational grants, grants for education, field trip grants, field trip funding, grants for field trips, field trip grant

Grants for Disaster Preparedness, Relief

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 11:10 AM

16551421138_4bc2a10225_q.jpgHurricane Matthew was an unwanted guest along the east coast and in several islands over the weekend. Matthew hit Florida, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. More than 20 people in the U.S. died. Now, North Carolina is dealing with massive flooding that’s left about 1,500 stranded. And more than 1,000 people in Haiti died when the hurricane hit the country last week.

This is the perfect time to bring awareness to grants that both help prepare for natural disasters before they occur and assist people after disasters strike. See a sampling of these grants below, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more questions.

Lions Club International Foundation

This service organization, normally associated with helping with vision concerns, actually has four different grant programs dedicated to preparing for or helping with disasters. In the last 10 years, the foundation has awarded more than $100 million in these types of grants. Applications for these grants must be submitted to the local Lions Club where the disaster has occurred, so building a relationship with your local club is vital. See details on the all four of the grants below.

  1. Disaster Preparedness Grants- These grants help prepare for future disasters. The aim is to bring volunteers from the Lions Club together with emergency personnel and community organizations, in order to have plans in place before a disaster strikes. These grants range from $5,000 to $10,000. Local funds must account for 10% of the grant request. Priority will be given to districts susceptible to regular and repeated natural disasters.
  2. Emergency Grants- Grants of up to $10,000 are available for communities hit by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people. Grants in this category should help with an urgent need for water, food, clothing, medical supplies, blankets, and cleaning supplies not available from other agencies. When a tornado struck Joplin, Missouri, this grant was used to fund 120 meals a day for an emergency shelter that housed people who lost their homes.
  3. Community Recovery Grants- This set of grants is aimed to help with short-term clean up and repair efforts where immediate needs have already been addressed. These grants total $20,000 and are for current disasters only where at least 100 people have been affected. Construction projects are not eligible. Eligible projects include equipment for debris removal, coordination of blood drives, equipment and supplies for minor repairs of public institutions, and temporary eye clinics for replacement of eyeglasses.
  4. Major Catastrophe Grants- These grants cannot be applied for by organizations and instead are directed by the foundation’s board of trustees. These grants are awarded for long-term reconstruction projects like those after Hurricane Katrina in the U.S or the Nepal earthquake.

Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives grants in several different areas, one being emergency relief. They support three different types of emergencies: rapid-onset emergencies, complex emergencies, and slow-onset emergencies. The largest portion of emergency relief grant money goes to rapid-onset emergencies. These types of emergencies are high-impact emergencies such as typhoons or disease outbreaks. This funding aims to help with immediate needs including food, shelter, water, and more. The Gates Foundation also funds complex emergencies, which often include violent elements and disruption of national systems. This money will also fund immediate basic human needs. The last category of funding is slow-onset emergencies. These are classified as events along the lines of drought and famine, whose negative consequences build over time. Grant money in this program must support programs that help build stability in communities. Requests for Proposals are published on the foundation’s website.

Disabled American Veterans

For organizations aiming to assist veterans during emergencies, a great place to start is the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) grant program. This grant program supports veterans that have been the victim of isolated or specific disasters. These grants may be issued for the purpose of providing financial aid, food, clothing and temporary shelter. DAV supply kits – which include backpacks, blankets and hygiene kits – are also provided. Individual veterans and their family members are also eligible to supply directly for this grant program.

When disaster strikes, or if you are looking to fund something else, consider Contact to see how we can find the grant you need and work with you to create an application that attracts those funds.

Topics: emergency preparedness grants, emergency preparedness resources, emergency management services, disaster preparedness, natural disaster, grants for disaster planning, emergency preparedness, grants for disaster relief, disaster relief grants, grants for disaster preparedness, disaster preparedness grants

Grants for Anti-Bullying Programs

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 @ 15:10 PM

We have received several requests lately for anti-bullying campaigns in schools 3531445744_ff195f5651_q.jpgand communities. We decided to put a few of these grant possibilities in one place to help locate one that may fund an anti-bullying program.

The Sprint Foundation

The Sprint Foundation supports character education initiatives such as bullying programs. Since 1989 it has provided millions of dollars for projects around the country. Programs must be in K-12 schools located in the United States. Schools located in the greater Kansas City, Kansas area will receive a special consideration since Sprint has its headquarters there. Applications are accepted nearly year round from Jan. 1 to the third Thursday in November. Proposals for funding are only available online.

Charles Lafitte Foundation

This foundation believes children need confidence and knowledge from a very young age. Its focus on children’s advocacy and education help to meet those goals. According to the website, the foundation often focuses on smaller organizations that are not in the spotlight but are doing good work, and prefers projects that may be modest in size but have high impact. They look for programs that promote diversity and inclusion, and counter discrimination and exclusiveness. Bullying programs would be a great fit for this foundation’s grants. Eligible organizations must be non-profit. Grants are accepted on an ongoing basis with the foundation’s board awarding grants several times annually. Last year, a total of 343 grants were awarded and ranged from $1,000 to $1 million.

Safe Fleet

The United Against Bullying grant program awards for 2016 were just announced. Over $55,000 was awarded to 26 different school districts, school transportation departments, and non-profit organizations. Winning programs were those that presented the best strategies to stop bullying and inspire kindness in the world. New anti-bullying programs, efforts to expand already-established programs, positive behavior programs, character building programs, school bus driving training, and school bus equipment purchases to reduce bullying incidents were all funded this year. Now is the time to start getting your plans together to apply for this grant program next year. We can help you get prepared before the application deadline is even announced.

Contact us for more grant opportunities for anti-bullying campaigns in your school or community. We have a vast amount of resources to help find grants as well as experts on staff to help you personally. Schedule a free appointment today.


Photo Credit: Thomas Ricker

Topics: anti-bullying, bullying grant, bullying resources, anti-bullying grant, anti-bullying resources, anti-bullying programs, bullying, grant opportunity, grants, grants for anti-bullying programs, grants for anti-bullying

Plant a Seed with a School Garden Grant

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 @ 09:09 AM

27003352592_914eb0a94b_q.jpgIt may seem like a strange time to start looking for grants for a school garden since the days are getting shorter. Most school garden grant deadlines are in the fall, however, so there is time for planning and execution of the grant money before the actual planting of gardens need to occur in the spring. Below we have collected a few grant opportunities to help you in your funding.

If you need assistance pitching your garden idea to a principal or school board here are a few benefits of a school garden.  You may want to mention one or more of these in your grant application:

  • Teaches children about the environment, environmental stewardship.
  • Teaches concepts of nutrition, healthy eating.
  • Improves language arts through garden journaling.
  • Garden design and layout can teach visual arts.
  • Math concepts taught through space planning, water needs.
  • Develops understanding of related science topics such as photosynthesis and insect impacts.
  • Allows for hands-on learning, a new way to engage students outside the classroom.

Safer Brand

Safer Brand is offering $500 school garden grants. You can apply for the Safer School Garden Grant by sending an email to with the subject line “School Garden Grant." Information that needs to be included in the email can be found on the website.  Send your submission in between Sept. 1 to Dec. 1. Schools must be located in the United States.

2017 Youth Garden Grant has been sponsoring an annual youth garden grant since 1982. This program can help establish a new school garden or maintain/update an existing program. The request for applications is usually issued each fall with awards made early the following year, in time for building and planting in the spring.  Look for the 2017 Youth Garden Grant application in October. In 2016, 20 youth garden programs were selected to win a package valued at over $500.

Gardening Know How

Gardening Know How is sponsoring a school and community garden sponsorship program. This year they will be awarding 10 sponsorships to 10 selected gardens. Each sponsorship will be for $1,000. Applications are accepted until Sept. 30. While this deadline is coming quickly the application is only sending an email which can be accomplished quickly and easily. Simply tell Gardening Know How why your school or community garden would be the best choice by sending an email to

Annie’s Grants for Gardens

This grant program has funded more than 350 gardens since 2008. Grant money can be used to begin a school garden program or to expand/update an ongoing project. This year’s grant winners have already been announced, but applications for next year’s program will reopen in November. Check the site then for details on how to apply and how much you can request.  Bluffton High School in South Carolina was a 2016 Annie’s Grants for Gardens award winner. The recipients used the money to assist their Sustainable Outdoor Inquiry Learning Project (SOIL). This is a small garden in which science students, special needs students, and the Environmental Club members compost, collect rainwater, and garden in raised beds built from recycled materials.

We aim to put together timely grant resources all in one place in our blog. In every aspect of our job we attempt to work hand-in-hand with you and your organization to customize our services to your needs. Start out with a free phone consultation with one of our expert Grant Helpers, and let us help you find the grant money you need.

Topics: education, garden grants, school food grant, grants for gardens, grants for school gardens, grant opportunity, nutrition grants, nutrition for kids, school grant, school garden grants

Guest Blog: Tips and Grant for Neighborhood Watch

Posted by Luke Murray on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 @ 10:09 AM

logo_council_houseonly.pngNeighborhood Watch programs are a great way to make the place you live safer for everyone. The signs alone can dissuade criminals while the knowledge your neighbors are looking out for you can put your mind at ease. However, it is important that you ensure that everyone is kept safe by your neighborhood watch. Grants are available in some areas to support Neighborhood Watch programs—Tip #4 in this blog.  Before that, here are some ways to make sure your community watch as is effective and safe as possible, while taking into account recent criticism for profiling, overuse of force, and other issues.

  1. Offer Training to Volunteers

An increasingly common issue in America is overuse of force from both police and neighborhood watch members. Innocent adults and children alike are being profiled and killed as a result of undertraining. Particularly in diverse communities, it is important that you educate your volunteers.

Work alongside your local police force, if possible, for training on proper force and avoidance of racial profiling. If teens are being profiled and shot by your neighborhood watch, your neighborhood is not safe.

If planning to use weapons of any kind, volunteers should also know how to use them. Even if your neighborhood watch isn’t using firearms, tasers can also be deadly if handled improperly. Weapons such as batons and pepper spray can also cause significant damage if the person using them has not received proper training.

  1. Go Door to Door

Get to know your neighbors. It is much easier to identify outsiders and potential threats if you familiarize yourself with the people who live in the area. For example, if you know your neighbor and see them hopping through a window into their own home, you save yourself and the police a lot of trouble by knowing better than to report a burglary.

You can also identify which children should be with which adults. Not all parents and kids look alike and knowing the parents of your neighborhood’s kids can save everyone the headache of calling in a false kidnapping.

  1. Keep Your Home Safe

The safer your family home, the less likely you are to need the assistance of a neighborhood watch. If every home in the area has a sign stating they are protected by a home security system, it becomes less likely that someone would risk a criminal act in the neighborhood. Similarly, if someone tried to break in and found they could not successfully enter the home, your neighborhood may be viewed as too difficult to rob.

  1. Find Out About Grants in Your Area for Neighborhood Security

Depending on where you live, you may be able to find city, state, or even privately-funded grant programs that can help your cause. They tend to be local and regional, such as the City of Memphis. Other examples are The Walmart Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). can help you locate even more.

Grant funds can be used to purchase security lights, pay for neighborhood self-defense training, or even add security cameras. You can contact your local police department for information about what’s available in your area, or if no program exists, reach out to local government on ways to get one started.

Seek out information on community safety grants in your city or state.

logo_councilofneighbors_v.pngLuke Murray created after an attempted burglary in his neighborhood put the spotlight on his community’s neighborhood watch system. The site aims to provide resources to help people keep their communities, families, and homes safe.

 Image via Pixabay by Monam

Topics: grants for neighborhood security, grants for community safety, grants for neighborhood watch, neighborhood security, neighborhood watch, neighborhood security grants, community safety grants

How Grants Are Used

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 @ 12:09 PM

17283526416_a5327bfdd5_q.jpgWe aim to give you a plethora of grant opportunities in our blogs. Have you ever thought what happens AFTER a grant gets awarded? What kinds of entities receive the grants, and what kinds of projects or programs are realized with the money? We thought we would give you a look at some of the recently awarded grants in a variety of subject areas, to help you visualize what grant money can mean for your organization.

Federal Transit Authority—Grants for Transportation

The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) has recently announced the awarding of several grant programs. Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Grants aim to help connect people to healthcare services through improved access to public transportation. $7.3 million in grants were awarded to 19 projects in 16 states. The Flint Mass Transportation Authority in Michigan will receive approximately $310,000 to develop a mobility management program that will coordinate non-emergency medical transportation and trip planning to deliver primary and urgent care for families, older adults and people with disabilities throughout Flint.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will receive approximately $133,000 to fund the Mommy and Me Ride for Free program, which improves coordination and access to healthcare for pregnant women and women with infants in Northwest Ohio. By better connecting to the TARPS and TARTA transit systems, the project will improve health for mothers and babies.

The FTA also recently awarded a $16 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to the City of Cincinnati. This grant, as well as $29 million in other Department of Transportation funds, will be used to create the Cincinnati Streetcars project. This project is the cornerstone of the city’s efforts to expand transportation options as well as to revitalize the heart of the city. The streetcar line, named the Cincinnati Bell Connector, is 3.6 miles long with 18 stations connecting popular employment and cultural destinations in the city’s downtown, riverfront area, and Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.  

Prevent Cancer Foundation—Grants for Cancer Detection and Prevention

The Prevent Cancer Foundation has awarded nine grants in its 2016 Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Community Grants Program. The grants will help underserved communities for cancer prevention and early detection programs. Philadelphia FIGHT will use its $25,000 to educate about hepatitis C and test for the virus in community-based senior centers serving baby boomers. The “C a Difference” program will partner with 20 senior centers with the goal of educating 4,000 baby boomers about the link between hepatitis C and liver cancer, signs and symptoms of hepatitis C infection and modes of transmission and then testing 500 people for the virus.

Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation in Colorado will use the grant funds to reach more than 3,000 employees and 700 community members over the age of 50, including 175 who are uninsured. The grant will provide free Fecal Immunohistochemical Testing (FIT) kits for screening and will cover several colonoscopies for low-income patients who have a positive screening test, are symptomatic or considered high risk. Organizations from 48 states applied for funding from this grant program. 

Open Your Heart Foundation—Grants for Hungry and Homeless

Grants from this program help fund organizations that assist the hungry and homeless. With some deadlines for this year still coming, the foundation has already awarded over 60 grants in 2016. Stepping Stone Emergency Housing in Minnesota was awarded $6,066 to purchase shelter bunk beds and wardrobes. The Barnesville Area Food Pantry received $2,230 to purchase a freezer.

With a free consultation, we can help brainstorm multiple potential funding avenues for your project. can also help you in all other aspects of your grant journey whether you need to find a grant or need help managing a grant you have already received. See a full list of our services and then schedule a free consultation with one of our experts.

Topics: homelessness grants, health grants, homelessness, transportation grants, hunger prevention grants, health grant, hunger relief, transportation, grants for transportation, grants for homlessness, how grants are used, cancer grants

If Money Were No Object?

Posted by Carol Timms on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 @ 15:08 PM

If your organization had $100 million, what critical problem affecting people, places, or the planet would you solve? That’s the question the MacArthur Foundation is posing through its 100&Change initiative9663742669_01402dbefc_q.jpg. Every three years, beginning this year, they will award $100 million to a single organization. Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur’s Managing Director leading the competition said “Setting audacious goals is inspiring.”

100&Change is open to any non-profit or for-profit organization anywhere in the world. Individuals and government agencies are not eligible. Applicants must identify the problem they are trying to solve, as well as their proposed solution. Proposals must be meaningful, verifiable, durable, and feasible. Applicants must register on the project website by Sept. 2 followed by an online application, detailing the problem, solution, and budget, along with a video pitch. Proposals will be accepted through Oct. 3, 2016.

In December, semi-finalists will be announced and each will then receive assistance from an expert team to identify and address questions about technical and organizational capacity required to implement each proposed solution, including specific plans to monitor, evaluate, and learn during implementation. Each semi-finalist will benefit from the feedback and attention from the expert teams.

From this group, finalists will be chosen in the summer of 2017 by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Finalists will present their solutions during a live event in the fall of 2017, after which the Board will determine the $100 million grant recipient. 

“We believe that 100&Change can have a ripple effect beyond what a single $100 million grant enables,” said Cecilia Conrad. If you need help achieving your audacious goal, whether via this grant or others, contact

Topics: grant opportunity, grants, MacArthur Foundation

Grants for Domestic Violence Projects

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 @ 10:08 AM

15591192126_b59fc975b8_q.jpgThe number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex partners who are male during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the number of casualties lost during war. These figures are courtesy The Huffington Post. Organizations across the country are working to stop the violence, help the victims, and stop the cycle. Below are some grants that may help these groups.

Mary Kay Foundation

This foundation awards grants every October in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. These grants are awarded to women’s domestic violence shelters across the United States. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $20,000 grants to more than 150 women’s domestic violence shelters across the nation for a total of $3 million. Each year, the foundation awards a grant to at least one domestic violence shelter in every state that applies. Any remaining funds are distributed based on state population. Applications are accepted from Jan. 15 to April 30 each year.


The Allstate Foundation realizes that many domestic violence victims feel like they cannot leave their home because of money and finances. The Allstate Foundation Financial Empowerment Grant Program helps nonprofits provide critical services to help survivors build financial independence by addressing their unique financial needs. This grant program funds projects in four areas: financial, microloans and Individual Development Accounts, job readiness and job training, and microenterprise. Eligible applicants are state domestic violence coalitions. Applications are due at the end of this month. can assist with this tight deadline.


In partnership with Sheltering Animals and Families Together, RedRover is accepting applications from emergency shelter organizations to help victims of domestic violence and their animal companions stay together during times of crisis. This project will award approximately 10-12 grants of up to $6,000 to emergency shelter organizations to support the creation of space on site to temporarily house the pets of victims of domestic violence. The one-time grants are intended as start-up funding to initiate a project. Eligible entities must be non-profit and also have the primary goal of helping domestic violence victims. RedRover hopes to have one pet-friendly shelter in each state. Organizations in the following states are especially encouraged to apply: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Deadline for application is Oct. 15.

If you are a victim of domestic violence looking for assistance, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

No matter which grant you chose, consider We can help you find the grant that fits you best with our search experience and subscriptions to many grant database services. Contact to see how we can find the grant you need, write and review the proposal, and help get you the funds you need. 


Photo Credit: David Rizzico

Topics: domestic violence, domestic violence grant, domestic violence programs, support for domestic violence, domestic violence grants, grants for domestic violence, domestic violence grant program, funding for domestic violence, domestic violence funding

Grants for Dog Parks

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 09:08 AM

We often write blogs about playgrounds, recreation centers, and parks—re142520422_6ad756ddf6_q.jpgcreation opportunities for humans. Man’s best friend needs exercise, too. So as not to leave out the dogs in our life, here is a compilation of grants that will help communities build dog parks.

Nutro Room to Run

Public, non-profit dog parks and off-leash areas are supported through this foundation. Since 2010, the program has helped enhance over 120 dog parks and committed more than 4,000 volunteer hours across North America. Projects included landscaping and adding trees and other shade structures, as well as adding benches, agility equipment, signage, and more for the enjoyment of pets and pet parents. Deadlines and application information were not available on the website at the time of this post. Past deadlines were in September, though we would recommend contacting a Nutro representative to get more information.

Doris Day Animal Foundation

American actress and singer Doris Day, being a lover of animals, started a foundation to help support all things animal. Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants that will benefit animals and may also display a significant human element. The foundation has funded dog parks in the past. The first step to applying for a grant is to send a letter of introduction. Letters of introduction will be accepted only the first month of each quarter (Jan., April, July, and Oct.) Grants are normally $5,000 or less.


The PetSafe foundation is dedicated to helping communities become better places for people and pets to live. Last year alone, this company has provided $3.5 million in volunteer support, grants, and product donations to organizations dedicated to animal welfare. Applications are accepted year-round. The above-mentioned grants are for all animal welfare grants, including dog parks. Additionally, PetSafe also holds the Bark for Your Park competition annually. This program is committed to creating safe, off-leash areas for pets and their owners to enjoy for years to come. Grants in Bark for Your Park include five $25,000 prizes to help build new dog parks, 10 $10,000 prizes to enhance existing dog parks, and 10 $5,000 prizes to maintain existing dog parks. Applications for this program for 2016 is closed. Check back in summer 2017 for new deadlines.

Beneful Dream Dog Park Project

Beneful loves to support and celebrate the pets in people’s lives. With its Dream Dog Park Project grant Project, the company supports dog park improvements or construction projects. Since 2010, more than a dozen dog parks have been improved or created throughout the country. Eligible projects must create free and open-to-the-public dog parks or off-leash areas. To start the process of applying for a grant, contact


Don’t let the dog days of summer bring you down. If you are interested in any of the above grants, or are looking for a grant for a different cause, contact us today. We can set up a free phone consultation with one of our expert Grant Helpers, or look at a full list of our services to see how we can help you.


Photo Credit: ccbarr

Topics: grant opportunity, dog park grants, animal grants, dog grants, grants for dog parks, grants for dogs, grants for animal needs, dog parks

Policies And Procedures For Grant-Ready Organizations Part IV

Posted by Rita A. Jensen, Ph.D. on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 @ 20:08 PM

This is Part IV 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.Org-I_small.jpg The topics in this blog describe the Do, Check, and Act parts of the PDCA process, which was introduced in Part I.

PART IV: Operational Aspects of Grant Readiness

Review of Part I, Part II, 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.
  • In Part III, we focused on organizational aspects of grant readiness, including the roles, processes, and tools that can position your organization to be grant ready.
  • In Part IV, we feature the operational aspects of grant readiness, with a focus on managing your organization's grant activity.

Grant Readiness:  Communication

Communication is an important feature of organizational culture. It exists to one degree or another in every organization, but few organizations communicate exceptionally well.

If no one knows about them, it doesn't matter if your organization has the world's most complete, finely articulated written policies and procedures to govern grant activities. And it doesn't matter if most everyone knows about them, if they don't also know where to find them and how to access them.

When it comes to grant activity, it's crucial that all organizational members are on the same page—or at least in the same book! That notion goes back to the idea of a shared mission. If organizational members begin with a shared mission, then they are more likely to communicate the same message.

Well-organized and frequently used internal communication tools can play an important role in facilitating your organization's grant activity. Examples of such tools include:

  • A password-protected website;
  • An online policy and procedure repository;
  • Online folders that contain current organizational documents, such as the mission statement, strategic plan, case statement, past proposals and reviewers’ comments, abstracts, boilerplate information, etc.; and
  • Software applications that allow the relevant players to access and work on in-process grant proposals.

Grant Readiness:  Tools and Tracking Systems

Speaking of software applications, a grant tracking system of some sort can serve as a useful tool for organizing and maintaining records and history relevant to your organization's grant activity. A simple Excel file can identify grants applied for, submission dates, and proposal results. A central folder for all past grant applications also can be a great resource. In addition, a free tool such as Google Calendar, which can be shared with multiple users, can make it easy for all members of the grant team to keep track of grant deadlines.

Grant Readiness:  Show Me the Money!

And then there are the money matters. Organizations that make grant activity a targeted priority have budgets that reflect their commitment to grant writing efforts—in terms of both time and money. These organizations also set goals (a key component of the Plan phase) that identify expected results from their efforts to secure external funding. In addition, they have written policies related to indirect costs, in-kind contributions, etc.

Grant Readiness:  Continuous Process Improvement

Once goals are set, results need to be checked against them. This step is the heart of the PDCA Check and Act phases. Also, because they acknowledge that no process is perfect and that all of the moving parts involved guarantee that change is always a part of the process, grant-ready organizations develop provisions for continuous process improvement. Then they incorporate continuous process improvement steps into their procedures, and they follow the steps to systematically review their grant strategies and approaches, making adjustments as needed.

What's Next?

This concludes our four-part series focused on the written policies and procedures that your organization&mdashwhether large or small&mdashneeds to have in place in order to be grant ready. Now what?

Perhaps as a next step you could review or create your organization's grant strategy with an eye to identifying ways to fine tune your policies and procedures to make them more supportive of your organization's grant efforts. You could begin that review by asking and answering questions such as:

  • What is our grant strategy?
  • How well does that strategy align with our organizational mission and key initiatives?
  • How well do we communicate our grant strategy?
  • Have we committed sufficient resources to carry out the grant effort as planned?
  • Do we have written policies and processes, with personnel roles clearly identified, that support and govern our grant activities?
  • What tools do we use to organize our grant-seeking activities? What additional tools do we need?
  • What systems do we have in place for reviewing and improving our grant policies and processes?
  • What can I do to improve my organization's grant-readiness quotient?

Once in place, you can also review your grant strategy against our Grant Readiness Checklist.

Action Item

 As always, is available to assist you! We'd be happy to offer you a complimentary "grant readiness" consultation. Just contact us via the following link:

Topics: grant procedures, grant-ready organizations, policies, grant policies