Grant horror stories serve as reminder: To increase funding chances, apply ahead of schedule
You’ve heard it your entire life, “If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late.”
Internalizing this quote by Lik Hock Yap Ivan has the ability to not only provide serenity, but also success in the grant arena.
Most grant applications have a specific deadline specifying the date and time by time zone the application is due. These are firm deadlines. Do not assume otherwise.
As you’re planning your schedule, plan to submit the grant at least 24-36 hours before the deadline. While it’s not our intention to give you nightmares, here are some of the unexpected delays we’ve experienced at TheGrantHelpers.com. Without planning to be early, we could have easily missed these deadlines.
Working remotely with a client often requires us to complete documents, scan them and send them to the client for signature. Several years ago, we were working with three different clients who were applying for non-competitive engineering grants from the same funding source. The deadline was 5 p.m. Try as we might to get documents ahead of time, the completed packages weren’t ready to scan and send for signatures and transmittals until mid-morning. We scanned the documents and were planning to go to lunch after sending the packets to the clients.
The scanner had a different idea. Instead of compiling a complete .pdf file of each application, the scanner decided to create each page as an individual .jpeg graphic. After troubleshooting didn’t work, we called a technician who suggested our only recourse was to pack up the scanner and the desktop computer and bring all our equipment in for diagnosis. There was no guarantee they could get to it that day. Rather than an early lunch, stress was on the menu.
Our solution was to contact a local business who agreed to let us use their scanner. The applications were submitted just shy of two hours before the deadline and, happily, all three were funded.
Telling a story that inspires funders to think of the possibilities as they read a grant application is one way we help our clients stand out. We were confident we’d captured the right balance in an education grant for a client on the east coast.
We had completed the package and planned to spend the next day printing and shipping the original and 12 copies. Reviewing the morning’s paper prior to the work day, we saw a story about an unexpected blizzard that had completely paralyzed the east coast. The grant requirements clearly stated the package had to arrive by 5 p.m. on the designated day. Calls to various shipping services confirmed our fears. They couldn’t guarantee delivery given the weather.
The solution? Through mobile printing we sent our file to a local east coast printer. They made all the copies and sent them via courier to the granting organization. We weren’t about to let a blizzard bury the inspiration contained in that grant application.
The Suicidal Squirrel
One of our proposal writers suffered a power outage in the middle of submitting a proposal. Apparently, a squirrel chewed into the transformer of the power pole outside his office. Since we’d allowed extra time, the proposal was submitted on time. Sadly, the squirrel’s time was up.
For more tips on meeting grant deadlines, read Grant Writing Tip #9: Submitting Your Grant Application.
To learn more about ways in which The Grant Helpers can help you stand out from the crowd – under any circumstances – contact us.