You can write the best grant in the world, but if internal polices interfere with submission, it's worthless.With any organization, every once in a while the right hand will forget to let the left hand know what it's doing, and that can cause problems for proposals. One of our clients, a nonprofit Executive Director, once told us the story of how he was working on a grant in conjunction with an area community college. Our client secured an insurance agency as a partner on the project, which was appropriate. No problem, right? Wrong. Turns out one of the board members from the community college ran a rival insurance agency. During final approvals, the board member refused to allow any involvement by his competitor. It was too late to make changes, so the whole grant proposal was killed in the last hour.
Communication is the key to success in any organization, and grant writing is no different. When we work with a client on a proposal, we prompt them to make sure the internal wheels are greased for eventual grant submission. Here are some questions to consider:
1. Does everyone on your Executive Board/Board of Advisors/Project Team know about the grant? Are they willing to support it?
2. Are other key stake holders inside and outside of the organization similarly aware and supportive?
3. Are those who must contribute to the proposal sufficiently familiar with relevant requirements (including matching funds, report requirements, etc)?
4. Who all will review and have input to the proposal? Has enough time been scheduled to get their input and make changes based on that input? Are they aware of the schedule?
Any important questions we missed? Let us know in the comments!