Make a grant template. Right now!

 

by Laura Chynoweth, Founder & CEO

The beginning of a new year is a great time to look back at what your nonprofit organization has achieved thus far and to determine what steps you can take to further your mission in the next 365 days. Now, quick! Make some grant application templates! Right now!

I know the ever-increasing demands of your daily workflow are already beginning to multiply across your 2018 calendar. Take the time now to create a grant application template for each of the programs for which you wish to seek funding this year and save yourself the stress of hastily preparing less-than-perfect proposals that have little chance of getting funded (and therefore, don't serve to further your organizational mission).

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Just think: if you plan to apply for one grant a month, you will need days (if not weeks) to prepare a competitive proposal for each submission opportunity. Let's say you need five days to work on each of 12 grants. That adds up to 60 days (i.e., 2 MONTHS) per year! That's a lot of time to spend stressing out if you are unprepared and scrambling to find the information you need on the cusp of a hard deadline and in the midst of other organizational duties.

Okay, so you're going to make a template (or two or three). What constitutes a "template?" That's all up to you! I recommend creating one-pagers for each program you are looking to fund. Each one should contain the details of who, what, where, when, why, and how of the program. (Seriously, start by making these questions into headings and then fill in the relevant info below. You can refine the look of your one-sheet later.) Each template should also list what the program budget is and how this program (including the program goals) helps serve the organization's overall mission. Start pulling information from old grant applications you are proud of. Make bullet points instead of long form paragraphs if you like. Just start now!

Bonus: You can use one-pagers to brush up on main talking points about your program before meeting with a potential funder.