Success is not the number of grants you get.

Dec 13, 2023

by Laura Chynoweth, CEO of Granted


“How many grants can you get for us in the next six months?” 

This is a question that comes up frequently during our consultation calls with potential clients. You may not like to hear this, but the truth is: it depends. 

And, perhaps furthering your frustration, let me answer the question with a question. 

Which is more important to you: getting more grants or getting more grant funding? 

For too long, it has been standard practice among grant consultants to promise to submit a set number of grants on behalf of their nonprofit clients within a predetermined contract duration. This is problematic for a few reasons: 

  • It promotes a “shotgun blast” approach–—in which the nonprofit applies for every grant that comes their way even if it’s not the best fit–—over a strategic approach.

    • You have finite resources (e.g., time, grants knowledge and ability, money to pay your grant consultant).

  • It leads to nonprofits overextending themselves.

    • Do you have the number of staff and team expertise necessary to manage the funding should all grant requests you submit be awarded? Who will track grant funding spent? Who will deliver the program you promised, and do you have the resources (e.g., materials, equipment) necessary to do so? Who will track progress according to the program objectives and outcomes promised in the grant applications?

  • It can lead to mission creep, in which the organization compromises and adjusts its work to fit within the guidelines of a grant.

    • What promises are you making in all these grant applications? Are they aligned with your mission, or are you simply chasing the money?

At Granted Fundraising Consultants, we measure success according to the degree to which we meet clients’ goals. In other words, it may initially sound impressive if a consultant states that they can prepare and submit 35 grants in 12 months. However, it all hinges on what your grant funding goal is. If you’re looking to raise $1 million in grants, but the 35 grants promised represent a total request amount of $30,000 or, on the other end of the spectrum, $600 million–—either well below or well above your grant funding goal–—the situation is one that is ripe for issues.

The Granted team feels so strongly about letting the funding goal guide the grants process that we’ve based our unique 5-Step Retainer Service Delivery Process on this principle. Once we start working with a new client (or as soon as 365 days have passed with an existing client) we initiate a series of collaborative steps (for the grant writer and the client) necessary to lay a solid foundation on which to base grant requests for the next chronological year. This work results in a solid, reasonable grant funding goal and a roster of grants of best fit designed to meet that goal.

We are happy to educate clients during every step of our funding goal-informed process.  If you would like to find out more about the services Granted offers or the processes we follow and why, please get in touch!