Evaluating grant opportunities

Grants can support great work. But organizations must vigilantly avoid a culture in which getting a grant — any grant for any purpose — is what matters. Grants are a means to an end, and that end must always be the outcomes the funding supports.” Before pursuing grant opportunities, said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

Floersch suggests considering the following questions:

  • Would the grant fit your organization’s mission? When the fit is good, the funder, your organization, and your community win. When it’s bad, your organization is in grave danger of “mission-drift” and it’s unlikely that the grant will produce meaningful results.
  • Would the grant support current priorities? Once your organization has charted a course through careful strategic planning, hold that line. A dynamic grant opportunity that fits the mission may persuade your organization to seize the day. But carefully consider the pros and cons of moving forward if the award could disrupt the overall game plan.
  • Can your organization handle it? Be realistic. Can your organization deliver the services required? A proposal that inflates your capabilities may bring in an award, but it can also tarnish your organization’s reputation and decrease the likelihood of future awards.
  • Organizational leaders who consistently win funding are careful about what opportunities they pursue. “Being aggressive in seeking grants, while also being highly selective, is a characteristic of a mature organization,” said Floersch.