Hiring a grants professional (e.g., a consultant or a salaried associate) can be a balancing act. Writing grant proposals is time consuming and usually not the best use of a busy executive director’s time.
But, the director is often the one with the best grasp of both the big vision and the nuts and bolts of the project. “The leader needs to be involved,” said Holly Thompson, contributing editor for The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “Even the most experienced grants professional needs input and direction from the organization’s leadership to develop a winning proposal. Without collaboration, the grant seeking process can go off track.”
Effective collaboration happens when the organization’s leader and the grants professional understand their roles and can combine their strengths and knowledge to steer the grant seeking process together. To knock the proposal out of the park, Thompson said the leader and the professional should be on the same page about:
When organizations are under pressure to get funding, it can be easy for leaders and grants professionals to sidestep important strategic conversations and work in silos. “This can waste a lot of the organization’s time and money and also jeopardize funding,” said Thompson. “Successful grant seeking demands an ‘all in’ approach — from the top down.”
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