Greetings from GrantLessons!
Many of us are enjoying unseasonably warm weather hoping that some of the snow we see on television could come our way!
Today I want to explore the topic of applications from a slightly different slant. Before an application can be written for a grant or a corporate contribution, we have to have a chapter program.
We as grant writers need to discuss with our program chairs what it is we need from them to be able to write an application. Any of us that have written applications for grants or corporate contributions knows that each application has its own nuances and that no two applications are exactly the same.
However, besides the demographic information and the standard documents (Form 990, IRS Determination Letter) which are the same for all applications, we need information from the programs to match what funders are willing to fund.
First, the goal of the program must align with what the funder wants to provide resources. The program needs a major goal that they are trying to accomplish, to clothe 3,000 eligible elementary and middle school children in (your) County during FYE 2014.
Second, the application must show that the work being done has measureable components (outcomes) that can be completed. The data must reportable in a simple format. The program chair needs to report on such predetermined outcomes as the number of children receiving clothes by grade and school. I say predetermined to make sure that the request for data reflecting the program outcomes is discussed with the program chairs prior to initiating the program annually.
Third, the application must demonstrate the target recipients match the group that interests the funder. A grant writer cannot configure an application for low income adults if the funder wants the resources to go to low-income children.
Fourth, the program needs to have process milestones that include the overall steps needed to accomplish the program. The grant writer needs the steps in writing so that it is not only in the head of the person running the program this year but is also available to the grant writer to include in an application. The program chair should write down major milestones captured by month to accomplish this task.
Fifth, the grant writer will need to provide a budget. The funder may want the overall organization budget, he may want the overall program budget, he may want the current profit and loss versus actual budget, and he may want a detailed budget that outlines specific revenue and expenses. The last budget that outlines the specific revenues and expenses is the one that is frequently not available to the grant writer and frequently requested by the funder.
Sixth, lastly the funder wants to know that his funding is not the only revenue source for the program. While we think the work is so important that everyone will want to fund it, we have to look at the application process as a way to demonstrate to the funder if their money runs out what we are doing will continue. We need to demonstrate to the funder that our program is helping larger community goals.
The more dialogue you have with your program chairs the more they will be able to help you and your Grant Committee to write an application.
The above points are a lot to think about and a lot of working with others but it helps in the grant writing process. However, once all understand the need for this information and common goals are established between the grant writers and program chairs, the easier it will be for your community to reap the benefits of grants and corporate contributions that require applications completed by your chapter. It really is a team approach that makes this work!
Enjoy the warm weather, pray for snow if you need it, and keep warm if you are in a place where the temperatures are plummeting 😉
Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie