by Dr. Eliza Sanders, Grants for Growth Consultant
It’s October, and….
Do you hear that?
Oh no! It’s the sound of an approaching deadline for a grant you haven’t written! Run for the hills!
As terrifying as that deadline is, the reason the grant isn’t written could be due to one of the following spooky situations. You need an escape! Let me, intrepid grant consultant, offer some possible routes out of grant paralysis.
Spooky Situation #1: No program budget exists for the program you’re trying to fund.
Escape Plan: Jump into the budgeting fray with your program team! Set a meeting, print out some blank budget templates, and get to work. If the program team simply doesn’t know where to begin, start by asking what percentage of staff time will be devoted to the program, and multiply the salaries of the staff working on the project by that percentage.
Spooky Situation #2: You don’t have enough information to write a compelling proposal, and you’re about to make something up.
Escape Plan: Figure out the communication style of the person who has the information you need. Is it easier for them to email you a few dashed-off bullet points that you convert into sparkling prose, or would they prefer a 15-minute conversation where you pepper them with questions and type out their answers? If you’ve asked and asked and you simply cannot get any information out of this person, ask them to look over a completed draft, and write one – even though you know it’s not accurate. If necessary, leave blank spaces for the program staff to fill. Few things make people provide correct information like seeing incorrect information that’s about to be shared with a funder.
Spooky Situation #3: You’re stretching the program so much to fit the funder’s interests you think the whole thing might snap in two.
Escape Plan: Build a case to present to the development director that shows why time spent on this proposal will not result in funding. Use Foundation Directory Online or Guidestar to create a list of the most similar grants the funder has made in the last few years…and show your supervisor how unsimilar they actually are to your agency’s program.
Spooky Situation #4: You are terrified by the mere thought of grant writing.
Escape Plan: Ask an expert! Contact Let’s Build Hope for help making grants feel less freaky and more friendly. You can attend our two-day Grants Boot Camp to build your skills and confidence, or hire one of our Grants for Growth consultants to just take grant writing and reporting off your plate!
Contact us at (314) 370-1602 or LetsBuildHope@lbh-stl.com to get started.
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