Assessing Grant Readiness

April 07, 2015 | 0 Comments

You may have heard talk about grant readiness and how to know if your organization is ready to pursue grants.

Board members or executive directors may say, "Ready? Of course we're ready. We need that money now. Where do we sign?"

That's not the kind of readiness we're talking about. I actually like to help organizations think about two different kinds of readiness:

  1. Is your organization ready to apply? 
  2. Is your organization ready to manage the grant once it receives one?

Each one of these is critical to your readiness. If you can't answer "yes" to both, you're not really ready, especially for state or federal grants.

Let's talk today about what it means to be ready to apply. Next month's newsletter will delver more into assessing your readiness to manage a grant.

We've created a handy checklist you can use. You can go get a copy from our website (link provided below) or in the forthcoming Writing to Win Federal Grants: The Workbook.

Being ready to apply means that you have the capacity and the skills to write a good proposal. Who is that person on your team?

Being ready also means that your organization will be competitive going up against all of the other organizations trying to get that same grant.

What makes you competitive? You have a good reputation, stable finances, and community impact. You have a track record of measurable outcomes.

If you are considering going after a state or federal grant, can you afford to pay for all grant activities up front? You may have to wait, sometimes for months, to get reimbursed.

Here are some other important details you should consider as part of your readiness self-assessment:

  • Are your bookeeping systems set up so you can accurately track grant funds (this usually means a way to keep grant funds separate from all other funds)?
  • Do you have experienced and qualified people to deliver your grant activities?
  • Do you have space to deliver the activities the grant would fund?
  • Can you perform the type of evaluation the funder will require?

Perhaps most important of all, do you have a clear, concise mission statement? AND does the grant you are considering going after fit your mission? Trying to cram your round mission into a square funding hole rarely works.

The checklist offers more criteria by which to assess your organization's readiness, especially to pursue government grants. A checklist with lots of checkmarks in the "no" column should prompt discussion at your organization and can be a great roadmap for what you should focus on. That way, you can be ready next year!

Get your checklist on the Grants Resources page. We won't SPAM you for coming to get a checklist. We won't even know you've been here unless you leave a comment on this blog.

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