If You Need a Grant Development Consultant

March 12, 2018       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

Organizations often reach out to grant professionals to help them identify likely funders, then develop and submit funding requests. “Working with a grants consultant can be great for your organization,” said Barbara Floersch of The Grantsmanship Center. “But if you’re seriously considering this approach, here are a few critical considerations.”

  • Grants consultants can’t pull rabbits out of hats. They’ll need program information, service data, evaluation reports, organizational charts, resumes, financial data, and research to develop a strong proposal. Staff within your organization will need to provide this information.
  • Grants consultants are not your organization’s administrators and should not make decisions regarding the direction of the program. Consultants can help you understand the focus of the funding opportunity and identify strategies to increase the competitiveness of the application. But your organization’s leadership is responsible for keeping activities aligned with mission and hammering out approaches that best fit community needs.
  • Good grant consultants are professionals. They don’t work for free and they don’t work on commission. Their job is to work collaboratively with you to produce a solid, competitive application that puts your organization into the running for an award. Whether or not you win an award, they’ve done the work and must be paid.
  • It’s smart to develop relationships with a couple of high-level grant consultants you can work with over time. As they learn more about your organization and working style, they can be more efficient, and having a couple of trusted consultants gives you options if one is busy or away.

As in any field, the more you know about the work of getting grant funding, the better you’ll be at hiring someone to do it. You might want to consider learning more about effective grant proposal development (take a class, read a good book) even if you ultimately don’t want to do the work yourself. You’ll be better equipped to evaluate who can do the best job for your organization, provide oversight when they do work, and use the consultant’s skills most productively. © Copyright 2018 The Grantsmanship Center.