When Crisis Blows Apart Your Grants Proposal Calendar

Top grant professionals collaborate with administrators to hammer out an annual proposal development calendar that reflects the nonprofit’s strategic plan and provides a roadmap for what needs to be done when. But what happens when a crisis blows apart that well-considered strategy?

Lightning-strike events effect every area of an organization’s work and quickly reorder priorities. “In a crisis, yesterday’s primary concern may not even make it onto the first page of your to-do list,” said Barbara Floersch, chief of training and curriculum for The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles. “Abrupt reordering of priorities will always be disorienting, but the job of the grant professional is to breathe deep, settle down, and realign the work plan.” Here are five things to consider:

  • Confer with top administrators to assess requirements for continuation of existing services and to examine new and pressing community needs demanding an immediate response.
  • Dive deep into information about foundation, corporate, and government responses to the crisis and reshape your proposal development calendar to reflect your new priorities and to capture quick-moving funding opportunities.
  • If community needs and relevant funding opportunities overwhelm your organization’s proposal development capacity, reach out to others to bring in more capacity. Board members or other volunteers may be able to help, or you may need to bring in a professional grants consultant to assist.
  • Find and use the best data sources to document how the crisis is impacting those your organization serves. When a crisis hits everything moves fast and the best data sources are likely to be different from those you use regularly.
  • Reach out to partner organizations and explore collaborative grant proposals that will spread the benefit of the funding and lighten the load of the proposal development work.

“The life-altering effects of a crisis are bound to leave us numb,” said Floersch. “But once we absorb the initial shock, it’s time to step up to the promise of our organization’s mission. We’ve never had a greater opportunity to be of service.” ©Copyright 2020 The Grantsmanship Center.