Use The Strategic Plan To Prioritize Grant Development

Most organizations have a long list of projects that are reasonable candidates for grant funding. But with limited time available, it’s easy for grant professionals to get lost in a prickly thicket of competing demands.

“Grants work should be viewed from the perspective of the organization’s overall strategy,” said Barbara Floersch, chief of training & curriculum of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “Because grant awards bring obligations that can drive the direction of the organization, prioritizing grant development work is a high-level administrative decision that needs to be made in collaboration with your grants expert.”

A Strategic Plan lays out an organization’s priorities over a one to five-year period. It’s developed through a process in which board members, staff members, beneficiaries and often community supporters identify community needs, assess the organization’s capacity and challenges, and then lay out a course of action. “The Strategic Plan provides a logical basis for prioritizing your organization’s work, including preparation and submission of grant proposals,” said Floersch.

Working in consultation with the organization’s grants expert, administrators may decide to sit out some grant competitions. When staff capacity is limited, it makes sense to narrow the field to grant opportunities that are best aligned with identified priorities and are also most likely to result in a grant award.

When time frames for several spot-on competitions collide, it may be necessary to reassign staff to add extra muscle to proposal development. Or it may be necessary to bring in consultants to supplement the work of your organization’s grants team.

The strategic plan was developed to move your organization methodically towards its mission. Using the plan to guide grant development decisions makes sense. © Copyright 2018 The Grantsmanship Center.