Lesson #22 – Team Structure

Greetings from GrantLessons!

The winds have been a blowin all weekend but warm in Reno-Sparks, maybe some snow later in the week.

With your assessment done, you now know whether you are moving towards a committee or a team. You also know how many people you have to work with and how many people you need to attract if you want to build a team for long-term grant development. If you don’t start now to build for the long term you will not be able to develop the skills needed to complete applications and bring in the money for your chapter’s programs.

Captain

Let’s start with the leader of the team, the captain. The captain or chair needs the following skill set: ability to attract people to work on the team, ability to organize, meeting facilitation skills, ability to set an agenda and call a meeting together. More than anything they need to set a tone within the team of shared responsibility to accomplishing the goal of the team, that is, raise significant funding for chapter programs. She handles all administrative functions, such as, completing reports to the Board, managing the budget, assigning an application to a specific grant writer.

The chair should not have the position for more than two years. After the first year she needs to be actively mentoring her replacement. Hopefully, she continues to stay on the team and takes on one of the other positions if she is not an active grant writer. With time she  will find that completing applications is not that difficult. The chair will provide training as necessary to the other team members.  She works with the Treasurer and Budget/Finance Committee to ensure that the grant team budget is reasonable for the present year and assists in projecting that the grant team budget is reasonable for the projected year. Remember, the chair does not necessarily have to write any applications.

Secretary

The secretary will record and distribute the minutes to the team members. The secretary can also notify the team members of the meeting time and send out a reminder a couple days prior to the meeting to remind the members of the place and time. Remember, the secretary does not necessarily have to write any applications.

Researcher and Tech Support

The researcher and tech support member must have average computer skills. Additionally, they should like being a detective. The researcher will search databases like GrantStation or Foundation Directory Online to find potential foundations or corporations where someone will make an application for one of the chapter’s programs. They should understand the chapter programs. They need to evaluate database profiles (GrantStation or Foundation Directory Online), Form 990s and funder websites to assist in making a decision about potential applications. They need to be able to update online websites, such as, GuideStar with information about the chapter. She will act as the Dropbox administrator to make sure all files needed for an application, such as, the IRS Determination Letter are available to the grant writers. She will assist the grant writers if they have technical computer issues with filling out applications like how to import a document into an online application. A list of applications completed is maintained by the researcher showing the pending to write applications, pending for decision applications and actual decisions whether they are an actual monetary award or a denial.

Grant Writer

Grant writers simply need to answer the funder’s questions in writing by completing an application. She needs good writing skills including grammar and spelling. She needs to write succinctly and to do that she needs to understand the chapter’s programs. Once a grant writer writes for one foundation or corporation she should complete the application again the following year, teaching one of her colleagues about the idiosyncrasies of the particular funder application. She needs to ensure that the application is filed in Dropbox. She needs to ensure that the hard copies are placed in the chapter’s hard files in preparation for the auditors. Hopefully, the grant writer finds so much joy in her work that she will be glad to complete several applications per year. Additionally, when the team is well structured and work load distributed over many she will be able to attract other grant writers to the team and the number of applications completed will increase. I know for a fact that the few hours it takes to complete an application can be worth thousands of dollars to her community and gives her significant joy when the decision is made.

Grant Auditor

The grant auditor has one job and that is ensuring that all the hard files are in order and have all the required information for the CPA’s that will complete the tax returns. The grant auditor works closely with the Treasurer to ensure for each funding opportunity that a hard copy of the application is present and the decision whether it is a positive or negative is included. She completes her work once a month and reports back to the grant writer and the grant team captain about any deficiencies identified. Again, this function does not require the individual to be a grant writer.

The team structure as described above leads to everyone having specific tasks to do that contribute to the grant writing process. Everyone shares in the success of the final decision because like a sport’s team every player is valuable to winning the game. Next week we will move onto shared responsibility. In the meantime, give some thought of how your team is functioning and evalute the roles of each and then start to write up job descriptions and attract members to join in your efforts.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

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