Some programs are designed to develop a product during the period of grant funding and be done. But the product itself is expected to continue generating impact after the grant funding ends.
For example, a systems-change program that results in a law to reduce pollution is, itself, expected to perpetuate the impact.
- “In these sorts of grant proposals, organization leaders often describe the product they’ll produce and leave it at that,” said Barbara Floersch, chief of training and curriculum for The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “But every proposal is obliged to include a discussion of how impact will be continued beyond grant funding and these sorts of proposals are no exception.” They should include:
- Systems Change. Ensuring that a new law, regulation, or system continues to provide benefits requires some degree of monitoring. “We’re all familiar with laws and regulations that don’t get enforced,” said Floersch. An existing citizen volunteer group might commit to monitoring enforcement of a law. A parent’s group might commit to watchdog a new school regulation. Your organization might not be the long-term keeper of the key, but your proposal should show a partnership with others who can provide ongoing monitoring.
- Planning. When a grant funds a complex community planning effort, the result is a well-supported plan of action. Even though the purpose of the grant was to produce the plan, your proposal should provide some assurance that it will eventually result in action. You might not have all the answers when submitting the proposal, but you need to lay out at least a bare bones expectation of how the plan will be brought to life. That often means making sure that the right players are involved and that they express commitment to implementing the plan once it’s in place.
- Equipment. The new computer lab, medical machine, or other equipment purchased with a grant is expected to deliver benefits for years. The computer lab will become useless without maintenance and repair. Without updates, the medical equipment will become outdated. Equipment ages quickly so be sure your grant proposal includes a plan for maintaining, repairing, and upgrading equipment beyond the period of grant funding.
- Facilities. Buildings are expected to provide long-term benefits, but because they require maintenance and repair your grant proposal should tell the funder how you’ll cover the expense. If you’re replacing an old facility that’s costly to maintain, your current maintenance budget may be more than adequate. But if you’re establishing a new facility, how will you pay for long-term maintenance and repair? Perhaps you’ll rent out conference rooms or extra office space.
When the grant proposal includes a description of how you’ll ensure the protection and maintenance of the product produced with grant funds, you’re assuring the funder that the grant award will be a solid investment. © Copyright 2019 The Grantsmanship Center.