In the very simplest terms, grants are opportunities to make our world better. From grants that boost the sciences to grants that encourage the arts, grantmaking creates impact and change. Offering a new grant presents a wide range of challenges, and not meeting these challenges head on can mean that your grant doesn’t have the impact that it could.
From the first day of planning and research to announcing the grant to tracking final results, adding new funding opportunities creates a long list of challenges for both new and experienced organizations alike. Before launching your next funding opportunity, review these six crucial grant tips with your team to streamline the process and optimize your ROI.
- Build Teams
No matter the size of the grant your organization is offering, you need a dedicated team to execute it properly. Even small funding opportunities need a group of experts to plan, implement, and track results. More complex opportunities need larger, full-time teams to ensure that the process goes off without a hitch.
It’s never too soon to start assembling a group of experts and talking with industry veterans. Don’t wait to build your team.
A few things to keep in mind as you build your team:
- Does your administrator have the knowledge and experience to make this grant a success?
- Is your review team diverse (think about their race, gender, sexuality socioeconomic status, age, and knowledge base)?
- Would having a publicist or marketing team help your grant get the exposure it needs to attract submissions?
- Assess Risk
Offering community-focused grants enables your organization to do good. However, every grant has at least minor risks attached. It’s in your organization’s best interest to assess and address potential issues as early as possible.
Consider developing a risk profile statement to clarify the level of financial risk your organization is willing to take on, and solicit input from all essential stakeholders. Then make sure that any funding opportunity you’re considering doesn’t exceed the risk levels you’ve acknowledged.
- Know Your Mission
When you research and plan your organization’s new funding opportunity, keep your mission at the forefront. Make sure the grant and the mission align. Otherwise, you could risk alienating your audience or compromising your organization’s reputation.
If your organization has a community-focused mission, for example, consider designing your grant around a need specific to your geographic area or the people you serve. On the other hand, if your organization aims to have an impact around the world, don’t hesitate to go big with a global grant.
What steps in the grants process ensure that your grant will aid your mission? Making grant writers speak directly to your mission in the application process can help, as can analyzing the impact of your grant after it is awarded.
- Publicize Widely
Even the most exciting funding opportunities need a publicity campaign to ensure that they attract the highest quality candidates. Relying on word of mouth or free publicity could significantly limit the number of applications you receive and compromise the grant’s return on investment (ROI).
During the planning phase, take the time to create a comprehensive publicity plan. From newspaper features and social media shares to posts in industry journals and community outlets, your team should spread the word to the best of its ability.
- Track and Report
From corporate stakeholders and team leaders to shareholders and community members, you’ll want to share the results of your grant with a wide range of interested parties. To offer key insights and accurate data, take care to track relevant information through each stage of the grant life cycle.
To evaluate the ROI from the funding opportunity, work with your team to calculate the overall cost compared to the gains your organization has made in the post-award phase. A positive ROI may signal a successful grant and can guide your organization’s future funding opportunities.
- Go Digital
With full-service grants management software at your fingertips, handling grants has never been easier. When you go digital, you won’t have to worry about stacks of paperwork, sorting through mail, or collating application materials from multiple different sources. Instead, you can collect grant submissions, track applications, and generate reports all in one software suite.
Using a grants management platform can also help you increase the quality and quantity of submissions, help grant writers pre-qualify themselves, increase accessibility, and minimize bias and discrimination.
Maximize your impact with grant management software. Learn more at submittable.com, or download this free guide. The NonProfit Times’ editorial staff was not involved with the creation of this content.