After writing several grants (both successful and not successful), here are some simple tips I learned that ensured the success of the projects that were funded.
1. MISSION STATEMENT: Have a strong mission statement. Start all your efforts by revising your organization's mission statement. This is your guiding light and should highlight the focus of all your efforts. If you don't have a mission statement, be sure to write one before you try any grant writing.
2. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: Develop clear goals and objectives for your organization. Do not think in terms of what you want to buy. Think in terms of what you want to accomplish as an organization. Explore questions such as:
Who are you helping?
What do you want to change?
How are you improving your community?
Which groups benefit the most from your organization?
Where do you want to focus your efforts?
3. Find grant funding applications that match your mission, goals and objectives. Do NOT find a grant and apply for things you don't need. I've seen this done too often and it creates a lot of problems. It's important your organization stays focused and does not create a project or program just to get money. The money must be used in very specific ways so be sure they are for something you really need. Funding should not be used for other purposes other than what is applied for.
4. Plan for additional staff for large grants. If you receive a great deal of funding, it can have a major impact on your budget and may require additional employees. Ideally, you'll want to fund these employees within the grant.
5. Involve your entire organization in planning for a grant. Include as many people as possible in the entire process. Get input from as many people as possible for the mission, goals and objectives. And when you select a grant to apply for, involve as many people as possible in the writing of the grant. You never want to write a grant without talking with the people who are affected by it. If everyone is not on board, there can be a lot of problems with carrying out the purpose of the grant. This could hurt your chances of getting more funding in the future.
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