Let's Go Innovate

Friday, August 15, 2014


There are several things your Nonprofit or NGO should have in place to be in a great position to receive grant funding.  I receive calls every week from organizations or individuals that want to secure my grant writing services.  I will not take on a client unless they are truly prepared for grant funding.  If they aren’t prepared it is really a waste of time and resources.  A few things that have to be in place to even start doing grant research.

2.    Mission Vision
3.    Agency annual budget
4.    Active Board of Directors
5.    Written Program and Service descriptions and outcomes

Federal grant applications for nonprofits can take 80-200 hours to complete, and hiring a grant writer to prepare one for your can cost $5,000-$10,000 or more. Nonprofits entertaining the idea of government grants must first ask, “Is my nonprofit ready to pursue government grants?  Private Foundation grants can take less time to prepare but are very competitive as well.  

Competition for all grant funding has intensified significantly since the recession. Many times when government grants competitions are announced, deadlines are generally just four to eight weeks away. That doesn’t give you the time you need to develop a competitive proposal.  This is why preparation is important, so before you spend your precious time researching government http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/home.html http://foundationcenter.org/ grants and hiring a grant writer make sure your nonprofit is positioned for success.

The most successful organizations have:

1.  A history of successful grant seeking
Government agencies look for evidence that your organization has already been successful in securing grants from local and regional foundations, local community foundation, family foundation and/or corporate philanthropy programs.  You should also have ongoing support from your board of directors -- some funders require evidence that 100% of your board donates to your organization every year. Why should the state or federal government support your work if you don't have the support of your local funders and your own board?

2.  Capacity and credibility
Do you have the right staff with the right qualifications in place to implement your program?
If you are planning an arts and music program, for instance, you should have staff in place (or plan to hire) people who have worked in arts and music.   The head of the program should have a a degree and many years of experience.
Do you have sufficient technological resources to implement your programs and manage complex government grants? Do you have the right site or space to run your proposed program?

3.       A history of successful outcomes
Always track your outcomes even if the program started out with just volunteer support. This will be valuable information for funders when you submit your first grant.  It will look great to funders if you started out without funding and had great results and need their support to take your program and services to the next level.  START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!

For grant writing consultant services contact Yolanda Shields at innovationgurus@letsgoinnovate.com



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