Developing winning grant proposals requires a deep understanding of your organization. “You’ve got to understand the organization’s capacity, expertise, and place in the community,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles. “And, you must be able to provide a concise, thorough overview of the organization, highlighting its fit with the proposed program.”
Can you answer the following 12 questions? If not, you’ll need to do some homework.
- What’s your organization’s mission? What’s the specific reason it exists?
- What’s its history? When was it founded? By whom? Have there been major milestones such as mergers, changes in direction, etc.?
- Who’s on the board of directors? How many board members are there? From what backgrounds? In what ways do board members contribute?
- How big is your organization? How many employees? How many locations? What’s the annual budget?
- What’s the service area? What are the specific demographics of the area?
- Who benefits from the organization’s work? What are the demographics by age? Economic status? Health? Education levels? Other relevant details?
- What programs and services does it provide? Can you summarize each program?
- What quantity of services does it deliver? How many and how much?
- Do services produce results? How do you know?
- With whom does it collaborate? Can you list collaborators and describe what they do?
- Has the organization won awards? Been recognized for expertise?
- What’s the organizational structure? Who reports to whom?
“A comprehensive understanding of your organization will increase your effectiveness in countless ways,” said Floersch. “You’ll be a prepared, credible representative, plan better programs, collaborate more effectively–and write more successful grant proposals.”