Monday, March 26, 2018

the art of grant application, part 1

Part 1 

The Art of Grants - 7 Ninja Strategies for Killer Grant Applications 

*Written by: Pat Grosse, who invites you to visit:

*Note - this article was a bit too long for our blog, therefore it was split into a 2-part advice piece... Look for part 2 on April 1st.

How do you go about putting together your grant applications?

Do you scan the guidelines, think it's a good idea, start putting pen to paper and part way through realise it's not for you?

Or worse still, you don't qualify?

Do you leave it until the last minute and freak out, sweat pouring as you try to get it finished before the deadline, hoping there aren't technology problems when it comes to uploading at the 11th hour and 59th minute?

The 7 steps shared in this article offer a fun way to be strategic and only write the applications you know you stand a chance of getting. You will learn how to develop razor-sharp focus and use these seven strategies to prepare for your next battle grant.

1. Pick your fight

Are you on the right battlefield? Check the Rules of Engagement (funding guidelines) to see if you are eligible to apply for a grant. If not, then find another battlefield or join somebody else's army. There's no point in trying to fight a battle you can't win but if you really want some of the spoils, offer your services in return for a financial payment from the grant. Strategically you may have something to offer that gets their application over the line.

If you can join the battle, will you get the tools you need to fulfil your part of the campaign plan? If the grant won't pay for the infrastructure, human resources, transportation or whatever else you need, your troops will be starved of what they need. Check others that have gone before you to find out what they did and what financial compensation they were given. If the resources are not favourable, find another campaign.

Find out who can be funded / find out what can be funded and for how much (list of previously funded projects if available)

2. Get inside their head - offer them the light

You are entering the battle field on the funder's terms and conditions. They need your help, that's why they're paying you. But your opponents will want ho also want to impress the funder also. The funder has a problem (set of objectives) and you have the solution (intervention) to make things better for them (set of outcomes). They are the generals of the army and know that the best emissaries are those at the grass roots level. The generals have quartermasters, vested in managing the allocation of the resources. Seek out their wisdom, plant your seed. They'll let you know if you're ideas are likely to fall on stony ground. They could make good reconnaissance.

Check the guidelines for their objectives and outcomes then sell your project proposal accordingly. Run your idea past them, listen and adapt your plan.

3. Gather your intelligence

The key to the kingdom rests with breaking the enigma code. Start with dispatches - get yourself on the funder's newsletter list to be notified of updates to campaign rules. Examine the rules of engagement in detail in case you've missed something and monitor communiques (including frequently asked questions - regular updates). Find out about previous campaigns, including who was involved, what they did and their allotted budget.

Vie for a place with the leaders of this campaign with a sound business case. Research your numbers. Gather as much evidence (of need) as possible. Be specific about numbers, witness accounts, consultation and other successful campaigns. Use this information to determine your targets. Use your intelligence to give you a tactical advantage.

Do your homework. Get onto the mailing list, check the guidelines and application form. Check the FAQs regularly for updates and check previously funding projects. Gather as much data as possible to prove the need and your understanding of the situation.

4. Plan the battle and gather your generals and troops

Every battle campaign has a plan. Your task is to show that your plan will work. That it's well planned, measured in time, resources and budget; that your army from the captains down to the on-the-ground troops, has the right skills to succeed.

Your plan must be approved by your battle-hardened generals, who will watch over the campaign's progress. The plan will be theirs. They will sign the treaty with the funder and will make sure it is adhered to or the consequences will be dire.

The stronger your generals and allies, the more campaigns your captains have fought successfully, the better the chance of a successful submission. Ensure that your chain of command has crystal clear communication channels.

Produce a detailed project plan with a timeline. Align it to resources and budget. Ensure that you have the right skills and commitment in your project team and partners. Make sure your governance is clearly articulated and understood by all concerned, including the funder and that there is a clear communication strategy - top down and bottom up.

...Look for part 2 on April 1st. 


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