Reboot Your Definition of a Grant Award

If you want to understand how to work most effectively with funders, you’ll probably need to reboot your definition of a grant award. Most grantseekers define a grant award as the money a funder gives their organization in response to a grant proposal. “That’s true,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calilf. “But if you limit yourself to that definition, you’ll limit your effectiveness as a change-maker and also be less successful in winning grants.” Money is involved in the grants transaction, but the transaction is not about the money.

Every grantmaker has a mission and develops a strategy for accomplishing it. Then, through the grant proposal and award process, they recruit nonprofits to implement that strategy. Funders provide the means, and nonprofits provide the muscle. It’s a symbiotic relationship focused on a common goal of producing positive change.

A grant award to your organization is an investment in the funder’s own mission. It’s a recognition that the work your organization proposes is likely to result in some significant benefit to the funder’s overall purpose. It’s also an expression of confidence that your organization can deliver what it says it can. A grant award represents a formal partnership.

Nonprofits are a bridge between the grantmaker and the community the grantmaker wants to assist. “By understanding that, and keeping a constant, unwavering focus on those you serve, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of what a grant award is all about,” said Floersch. “That understanding will help you communicate more effectively with funders and develop more genuine partnerships with them. It will also help you do better work and win more grant awards.” © Copyright 2017 The Grantsmanship Center.