Wednesday, November 6, 2019 2:37 PM

From the desk of Carolyn Powell, PhD

Working for not-for-profits in Alabama, I learned very quickly that if I wanted special services for programs then I would have to find the money. The money would come from foundations, corporations, or federal grant programs. So learning to write wasn’t something I received special training for – it was because of great needs where I worked. 

5 Things I have learned:

  1. Prioritize 

First things first --- Prioritize and decide what matters most for those you serve. Is it that the program needs services to aid specific client needs? Is it that the program’s facility is in dire need of repair? You may want to find money to build a playground as example; but, those you work with may see priorities in a different way. 

  1. Prepare

Make a list of needs in alignment with your organization’s expectations; meet with your stakeholders and listen to concerns, think about realistic timelines for your goals. This is necessary for team building and establishing a cohesive effort to seek funds for agreed upon goals. This way everyone is on the team moving forward together.

  1. Explore resources 

Who on the team can conduct research to discover open grant opportunities? Who is on your Board of Directors who can write a proposal? Who is on your staff who can write a proposal? Do you need a professional grant writer involved or would it better to try to seek funds without an external source? 

My advice is to explore local avenues for funding, then regional, state, and federal. Depending on your goals you may need to seek foundation support as opposed to federal support. Note: It is best to have a mix of supporters so that you are not dependent on one source.

  1. Implement - Writing grant proposals

The grant proposal process can be daunting but you won’t get anything if you don’t try so start small and don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed. Save proposals written by you or your team members to include staff, board members. Some pieces of the proposal you will need again such as organizational history, copy of board member’s names, addresses, etc. Submit your proposal in a timely manner – don’t wait until the last day! If not awarded, send an email or make a telephone call to seek feedback.

  1. Implement -  Project 

If your proposal is awarded, there are funder requirements to monitor the work that is to be done. Paramount is having good technology and a good team approach as you begin the project. You should even invite the funder to come and see the project impact if a site visit is not planned.

Grant writing is a process so always keep trying! Let’s do more with more…..