I am very happy to welcome back guest author Betsy Baker!  Besty is the President of  YourGrantAuthority.com. She has earned more than ten million dollars in grant funding and continues to be a grant writing consultant for nonprofits.

She is best known for her plain-language instructional guidance and offers both ebook instruction and one-on-one coaching in writing grants and starting a grant writing consulting career.

Betsy also runs a coaching program that teaches people on how to develop an exciting  Grant Consulting career.  This looks like a fantastic opportunity.  Her current class is sold out, but click here to learn more about this class.

You’ve Gotta Have a Plan! 3 Tips to Develop Winning Grant Proposals

We see it all the time. Plans that help us lose weight. Plans that help us organize our time better. Plans that help us retire early. In successfully reaching any goal, you’ve gotta have a plan.

The same principle applies to developing applications that will win awards. It’s unrealistic to think that you can simply download the grant application, fill out a few sections and send it on its way with no preparation ahead of time. You know as well as I do that anything worth having takes work. How many times did your Mom say that to you? I finally quit counting.

In any event, Mom was right and here are three ways that winning grant writers take advantage of the planning process to craft proposals that make reviewers sit up and take notice:

1. Discuss grant funding options with key players. The grant writer is not an island to determine a nonprofit’s needs. Gather your nonprofit staff, advisors, select clients and partners and discuss which projects need funding. Make it fun and invite everyone to participate in the discussion! After spending time debating which project is most critical to the present operation and which project best meets the funder’s criteria, then move forward. It has to be a win-win for both the nonprofit and the grant maker. Don’t chase dollars and create a program your community doesn’t even need just to get funding. Often times doing so results in an unpleasant outcome.

2. Build evaluation of your project early into your application. Winning grant writers begin building evaluation methods into their proposal as they’re writing – not after the proposal is written. As you’re developing your goals and objectives think about what evaluation techniques would successfully measure their outcomes. Basic techniques include pre- and post-surveys, interviews and focus groups. Here are some tips for writing the evaluation from Joanne Fritz.

3. Assess both internal and external support. Do you have everyone and everything in place to run a tight ship in meeting your project’s goals? Take an inventory of what talent and support is already available to the project and then determine if additional support is needed. Request what’s needed in the application being specific about why new staff or support systems are required. Getting a grant funded and then discovering you lack the appropriate resources to carry out the project is doom and gloom to a funder.

Good luck and stick to your plan!

Posted on 24 August 2011

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