Updated: Mar 13, 2022
Have you considered applying for a grant, but feel uncertain about where to start?
Research indicates that although a good number of nonprofits have operated successfully over several years, some of them have not considered applying for funding from available grantors. Recently, I have held conversations with CEOs of nonprofits working in West Africa and it's evident that while they would like to grow and need the assistance of a grant writer, they may not be fully aware of what's required.
Because of this, I'd like you to be informed. Prior to making a grant application there are steps involved to minimise the risk of rejection. Funders are particular about the process and even before starting the procedure for applications, there are a number of factors to think about.
5 Steps for Nonprofit Leaders to Consider Before Applying for a Grant.
Be prepared and informed - start the conversation with all relevant stakeholders such as your leadership team, team members, board of directors (if you have one). If your board needs convincing or requires training about grants, take the time to equip them. If you are uncertain about this here's a suggested (unsponsored) resource: 'HBR's Must Reads on Boards'.
Conduct an audit - of your existing programme and services. Perhaps it's time for a nonprofit spring clean. Review the needs of the beneficiaries that you are serving. Connect with their current requirements, making no assumptions about what they need today, this month, this year.
Reconsider your annual goals and objectives. They may be traditional non-measurable goals. For example: 'Educate teenage mothers in Abuja about the physical and cognitive developmental phases of their infants and toddlers'. Alternatively or additionally, your goals may be SMART (measurable). For example: 'By the end of Year 1, decrease the percentage of teenage mothers in Abuja who lack knowledge of the physical and cognitive developmental phases of their infants and toddlers by a minimum of 40%.
Consider your team's expertise. Decide whether any team members have the expertise to write grants, bearing in mind that it is a lengthy and precise process. If such expertise exists, you are good to begin planning. If not, think about hiring a grant writer. Remember that fees for such consultants are payable before the grant application is made and not after grant funds are received. This point comes as a surprise to some, but it is a model of best practice in the field. Also, note that making a grant application does not guarantee funding. Here's a link to Professional Standards and a Code of Ethics.
Budget. From point 4 above, the natural next step will be to ensure that you have sufficient funds in place for making an application with a grants consultant. This may be a catch 22 for you, but remember that some writers are willing to edit your grant applications for a fee that's more affordable than the fee for making a full application.
I trust that these five tips have been helpful for you. Once you have considered them you may wish to hire a grant writer to help you navigate this landscape. This is a service that I offer and you can book a complementary 15-minute discovery call with me.
Click here to arrange a discovery call with me.
Patricia Mezu, Director, Content With Words
Impacting the life of the girl-child through grant writing & early years consulting.