The end of the year is a good time to review your year in grantseeking and lay out your plans for next year.
How did you do?
Did you get the grants you expected to get? For the amount you expected them to be?
What should be your strategy for those who turned you down? Do you try again or cross them off your list?
It is too easy to fall into complacency in our grantseeking and keep going back to the same stand-by funders every year. It is safe. There is less fear of rejection. You only have so much time.
There are only a few ways you can increase the grant funds coming into your organization:
But, you ask, who has time for more proposals?
You must be strategic. Review your entire grants portfolio thoughtfully.
If you are an Executive Director or Director of Development who writes most of the proposals, it’s time to let go. Allow someone else to develop his or her grantwriting skills
If you have several years of sample proposals and the ask is always similar, let a junior development person, board member, or intern take a go. You will still edit and supervise.
Are there grants you get every year that are very small for too much work? Be ruthless and cut that guaranteed $500 if it takes 20 hours to write and manage. Still must submit that grant for political or other reasons? See above – hand it off to someone else.
Focus your efforts on funders willing and capable of making larger grants.
Have you increased your ask amount to your long-time funders, or are you stuck in a rut? Take a look at the last few 990s. If they regularly make larger grants than you ask for, bring your ask amount in line with those other gifts amounts.
The only way to increase revenues from grants is to spend more time on those proposals most likely to generate the greatest return.