Monday, June 29, 2009

Time Can Be A Huge Asset In Raising Grants

Time is a factor in everything we do, so of course it is no surprise that time and timing are both important to the successful grant writing process. The following are tips regarding time and timing when seeking grant money.

__ If you are new to grant writing, or fundraising, or to the nonprofit sector - that's great and welcome! Be sure to take the time to learn about professional nonprofit fundraising, the specifics of grant writing (a fundraising method), and professional nonprofit best practices in regards to both grant writing and fundraising. Learn how to do these various skills according to modern methods in order to be successful, be competitive, be relevant, and to not waste your nonprofit's money, time, or potentially its reputation.

__ Be certain plan out all aspects of the grant writing work, as a project management assignment, before jumping into it. As you assign tasks or schedule action items, pull out a calendar and assign each a due date or benchmark on a time line. Be certain that all volunteers or staff who are involved know what is expected of them, by when, and the end due date for all work.

__ There are quicker fundraising methods, comparatively, than grant writing so determine which fundraising method to use for which revenue need accordingly. Grant writing is not a quick fix fundraising method. It takes time to begin, time to conduct, and once an organization begins grant writing work - it's pay off is to keep the grant writing fundraising program underway and gaining momentum in completed tasks in order to maximize the nonprofit's investment into this specific fundraising method.

__ The average grant donor requires at least two weeks (but sometimes more time) to review the often first step in a grant seeking experience, reviewing an initial written inquiry (either a letter of inquiry or a letter of introduction). After an organization is invited to submit a full grant proposal (which is either the second or only submission to a grant donor) many grant donors (foundations, governments, etc.) require at least a fiscal quarter (three months) to process the grant submission. All grant donor entities differ in how they conduct their submission reviews so be sure that before you apply to any potential grant donor, you know their review and response schedule (which will be in their giving guidelines). Be certain that for each potential donor that your organization applies to - their review and response schedule will work with your organization's funding needs.

__ That lag time after submitting any document to any potential donor, including a potential grant donor, is tough. Write an excellent submission, be sure that you've positioned your organization well in the document (speak of your organization's successes, potential, skills and talent, and demonstrate the current real need in the community that your organization is uniquely suited to successfully address well and how). Keep confident in these facts about your organization, as you wait for responses. Be gracious and thankful (grant or no grant) as you begin to hear back from potential donors. You'll want to reapply to those grant donors likely to give to your organization, again, after a rejection. Being professional and polite after a rejection allows your organization to keep up a good relationship, after a rejection, from a potential donor.

__ Time can be your ally in grant raising work. Learning, planning, and investing in the grant writing program can guarantee (even, if no grant is risen initially) that over time your organization will begin to raise grants eventually and then probably continue to do so - if you've done your homework and learned professional best practices. Attempting to raise money through grants (and thereby investing your organization's time and money in this method) and then backing out because there was no immediate return is not good for your organization, its potential to over time raise money, or your fundraising strategy. Learn and learn more, and then continue to learn even as you become a professional at it.

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