One of the greatest favors you can do for yourself as you lay the groundwork of a successful grant application is to run an initial assessment of what information is required for submission. An early examination of the required information will put you in a position to avoid any last-minute scrambling just days—or even hours—from the application deadline.
A careful review of the grant portal or grant application form will help you determine what questions you need to answer, the information you’ll need to answer those questions, and who you need to ask for support in compiling that information. Remember, few grant writers are an island unto themselves. You may need help with logic models, program statistics, updated financial documents, and authority to commit on behalf of your organization.
As you proceed, don’t forget to be respectful of staff time and their deadlines by requesting information early. There is a time-honored maxim which sums things up nicely: “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” When anyone has gone out of their way to provide you with information, be sure to thank them profusely. No matter how simple your request may seem, you can never know for sure how much work they had to go through to obtain the information you asked for.
A very helpful long-term strategy to save time is to draft program or project overviews of those for which you frequently seek funding. This necessary information, which includes project descriptions, program logic models, and budgets, will be used regularly over time. Keeping a polished version of this information on hand, combined with the most recent audit and Form 990 form, will significantly reduce your overall search time, and provide you with more time to hone your grant for success.
By Teresa Stohs, Director of Grant Services