Grant Services - Advice and Tips

How to Vet a Grant Opportunity

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 @ 11:12 AM / by Katie Adams

how to vet a grant resized 600There are many of grant opportunities available, but determining which grants to apply for can be hard.  Not all grant programs will be a great fit for your organization – even if you are eligible.  Therefore, it is crucial to do your homework before making a decision. Not only will this ensure that your organization is applying for the right grant, but if you decide to proceed, you will have a head start on the proposal itself.  Here are some questions to consider when vetting a grant opportunity:

Do you fit the stated eligibility requirements?  

Basic eligibility details are usually clearly stated in the grant guidelines.  Read them carefully and make sure you can show that you meet the applicant requirements.

Does the project fit?

Whether you have a project that is fully planned or one that is still in the conception phase, make sure your project fits within the mission and goals of the grant maker.  If you’re unsure if your project will be a match, one option is to search for press releases announcing previous award winners or to check the organization’s 990s, if available.  Finding similarities and differences between your organization and those that have been awarded grant funding before can be helpful.  Also, don’t be afraid to contact the funding organization to ask for clarification on any questions you might have regarding project fit – most funding organizations are glad to provide their insight.   

Can you meet the deadline?  

Make sure the proposal deadline fits your organization’s schedule.  Time needed for proposal development depends on many factors, such as the number of collaborates involved and the intricacy of the grant itself.  For large proposals, we recommend allowing a couple of months.  (Want to apply, but short on time? We can usually accommodate rush grant writing jobs and are happy to fill in where needed.  Contact us.)

Have you done the necessary financial projections?  

Does the total project budget fit within the grant’s award range?  If not, be prepared to show how you will come up with additional funds needed to implement your project.  Also, find out if the grant you are considering requires matching funds or other contributions. If so, will your organization be able to meet those requirements?  Many grants also have reporting requirements, so it’s important make sure your organization can also afford to administer the grant. Mistakes in this area can have significant ramifications, so it’s wise to take the time to consider each point carefully.

Would you be a competitive applicant?  

Does your project offer something unique that others do not?  A proposal that requests funding for a distinctive and exceptional project will put your organization above the rest.  If you do not believe you offer a competitive project and proposal for the program you are considering, you may want to seek alternative funding opportunities. 

It is important to not overlook the grant-vetting process.  Evaluating these six factors will help you decide what to apply for and potentially get a jump start on the necessary legwork for the grant proposal.  If you would like more advice on the grant-vetting process or have additional questions regarding your organization’s proposal, don’t be afraid to Ask An Expert. Initial consultations with and answers to your questions are ALWAYS free.

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Topics: best practices in grant writing, grant readiness

Katie Adams

Written by Katie Adams

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