Organizations that win the most federal grants are proactive. They stay on top of what’s happening at agencies connected to their issue area, explore the history of relevant funding opportunities, and forecast what competitions are likely to open in coming months.
“These organizations stay connected to the federal pulse,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “They’ve got up-to-date community needs assessments, they’ve built coalitions, and when a spot-on federal competition opens, they’re miles ahead of those who have been waiting around to see what funding opportunity will pop up.”
When you combine proactive federal grantseeking with ongoing work in the community to identify problems, plan solutions, and build partnerships, it all contributes towards impact. “There are two key elements in working this way,” said Floersch. “One is doing what you can with the resources in hand. The other is understanding which federal opportunities are in tight alignment with what you need to accomplish,” she said.
If you need to open a transitional living home for young offenders returning to the community from jail, you might not have the money to get that started without a federal grant. But you can begin building partnerships with other concerned organizations, developing support systems, meeting with local and state authorities, exploring zoning issues, holding community meetings, and reaching out to foundations and corporations that might contribute matching resources.
“When you’re engaged with the issue at this level and a perfect federal competition opens, you’re in the sweet spot,” said Floersch. “You’re ready to match the needs of your community and the intent of the funding competition. You’re well ahead of the pack.”
Keeping your finger on the pulse of federal funding in your issue area is an important part of serving your organization’s constituents. © Copyright 2016 The Grantsmanship Center
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