In the competitive world of grants, making sure that your organization is ready to write successful grant applications is the first step towards winning a grant award. But managing the grant to the satisfaction of all stakeholders also means being prepared ahead of time.
Best practices are key here. Grantors typically read at least hundreds of grant applications and can be quick to push aside those that don’t meet the specific requirements or appear to be hastily completed.
Filling out grant applications, especially for federal and state grants and those from large philanthropic foundations, can be tricky, time consuming and take certain talents that may not be obvious at first read of the grant application.
Boost Midwest knows that grant-seeking organizations that are fully prepared before applying for a specific grant have an edge over those organizations that are not.
The reasons a grant may not be awarded almost always falls directly on the application itself. The three most common reasons a grant is denied are:
The application was not submitted by the stated deadline.
The grant proposal didn’t meet the parameters set by the funding agency,
The application didn’t follow the guidelines for the proposal, including content, format and length.
But there are many other reasons for a grant proposal to be denied, including:
The proposal contained no content that could strike a reviewer as unusual, intriguing, or clever.
The proposed project was not an area of agency priority.
The proposal wasn’t fully clear in describing one or more elements of the study.
The proposal wasn’t fully complete in describing one or more elements of the study.
The application did not convince the grant reviewers that the grant seekers had the training experience and resources to manage the grant.
The budget was unrealistic for what the proposal outlined for the project.
The cost of the proposed project appeared to be greater than any potential benefit gained from the project.
The grant writers held obvious partisan positions on issues, which made them vulnerable to reviewers’ biases.
The writing quality was poor.
The proposal contained an unreasonable number of defects that could give reviewers the appearance of carelessness and a lack of attention to detail on the part of the grant seeker.
Grant reviewers also tend to see the same phrases and terms repeated in grant after grant, to the point the terms lose their value. The Inuit may have over 300 words for snow, one grant reviewer noted, but grant writers have nearly as many for “community,” “impact,” and “solutions.” It’s not always easy to come up with a unique narrative that stands out from the pile of grant applications but it’s a crucial piece of applying for grant funding.
To help organizations find success in their grant proposals and processes, Boost Midwest came up with a Grant Readiness Assessment. It’s a simple yet highly valuable tool that shows organizations in which areas they are ready to apply and manage grants and which areas need assistance — before using up in-demand resources on incomplete or unsuccessful grants.
The assessment is broken down into four sections that will level up your organization’s grant writing skills to make them more competitive in the huge world of grant funding.
The assessment asks 12 questions. The questions help define your organization’s mission, programs, target populations, uniqueness of proposal, funding strategy, team knowledge and experience.
Also highlighted are the connections between a proposed project and desired outcomes and whether your organization’s goals meets those of the funding organization.
Theory of Change.
In this section, the vision, resources, experience, collaborations and activities of your organization, along with the expected outcomes of the proposed project, are reviewed. This helps ensure that your organization is a good match with the funding organization and is capable of successfully carrying out the project.
Here, we dig deep into how your organization handles the grant writing and management processes, including what tools and staff you use and how well they handle the grants process. Challenges are identified, along with past successes that may point to new opportunities your organization may not be aware of.
Funding organizations are very adept at discerning whether an organization uses its finances and existing funding sources wisely. They want to ensure that organizations awarded grants have proved their sustainability in the past and that their grant-seeking expectations are realistic.
Funders also appreciate that grant seekers look to multiple funding sources. As important is that the budget submitted with the application is accurate and can be substantiated.
Once the Boost Midwest Grant Readiness Assessment is complete, your organization is ready for the next step: writing the application itself. Boost Midwest knows how important each specific element of the grant application is for a winning proposal. Some organizations find greater success outsourcing the application process to an experienced grant writer or grant writing team. Others turn to consultants to help manage grants once they are awarded.
Boost Midwest internal grants management team is available to fill any resource and knowledge gaps in your organization when it turns to grant writing. We use the current best practices along with the latest trends to ensure your grant and your grant writing process stands out from start to finish.
Ready to learn more about how Boost Midwest can help you optimize your project management and operations? Schedule your free consultation call with us today using our Quick Schedule Link here.