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Obtaining grant money is a challenging endeavor. Indeed, in these challenging economic times, grant money is harder to obtain with each passing year. Grant application approval can sometimes seem like an impossible task.
Understanding the realities associated with obtaining grant funding, you need to adopt useful strategies that enhance the prospects of your organization’s application. The reality is that there are some effective grant application strategies that are not widely utilized by organizations seeking funding.
Focus on Local Grant Resources
Unless you are part of an organization that maintains at least a regional, but preferably a national, service area, give serious thought to not seeking grants from national foundations. This is particularly the case if you seek grant money for operating or programming costs. Focus on local foundations and granting organizations instead.
National foundations to be more interested in funding capital expenses for a local organization, rather than providing money for operating or programming expenses. Even in the area of capital funding, seeking this type of assistance from a national foundation or granting organization is highly likely to be a truly daunting task.
Never Use Express Mail to Submit a Grant Application
Never utilize some sort of overnight or express delivery service to submit a grant application to a foundation or funding source. You send the wrong message to a granting organization if you have waited until the last minute to get a grant application prepared and sent off. You send the message that if you can’t get an application for funding prepared in a timely manner, you and your organization may not be the best stewards for grant money.
Having to send a grand application at the 11th hour underscores another problem. You and your organization’s team are not properly coordinating efforts to prepare and submit a grant application. You will put yourself in a bad position to properly complete an application. As is the case when you rush on any project, you heighten the prospects for making mistakes. Even worse than having to overnight a grant application at the last minute is having to follow up with corrected information for a submission.
Pay Attention to the Data a Grant Maker Requests
More is not better when it comes to preparing and submitting a grant application. Time and again, an organization seeking grant funding will populate a grant application with attachment after attachment. Some might fairly call these attachments “fluff.”
When you prepare a grant application, pay close attention to the specific information a foundation or granting organization requests you include in support of your application. Do not over submit.
A foundation or grant maker has a team with only limited time to review an application. In addition, a grant maker is likely to receive a significant number of grant applications. Wasting a granting organization’s time on reviewing materials that are not requested will not be helpful in winning points from that organization.
Networking is Helpful
When applying for a grant, check out the names of directors or trustees of the foundation or grant maker. Once identifying the key players with a granting agency, share the names with the leadership of your own organization.
Particularly if you are seeking funding from a local grant maker, odds are fairly significant that principals of your organization may know one or more of the key players associated with a foundation or granting organization.
The reality is that a phone call from a principal of your organization to a board member of the granting organization can make at least some difference. For example, such a communication may bring your grant application to the top of the pile.
Double Check Contact and Other Primary Information
You should be using a current year’s application packet when you seek grant funding. You need to double check that you do, in fact, have the correct and current application packet.
Even with the correct application packet, addresses and contact information associated with granting organizations change. You also need to double check, in advance of sending or submitting a completed grant application, that you do possess accurate information regarding address and other contact information.
In conclusion, if you end up winning a grant, stay in touch with the foundation or organization that provided the money. In addition to being the considerate thing to do, you are also laying the foundation for positive consideration if you end up seeking additional funding at a future point in time.
You also need to understand that granting organizations network and communicate with one another. They share information and perceptions of organizations like your own that they award money.
Have you any other valuable tips for grant application approval?
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.