What it takes to get it ‘right’

What does it take to secure a grant? Anyone who has ever applied can answer that one: Doing the grant application right.

During the 2014 Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Louise Mathias of Innovative Funding Partners and Laurel Hunt of Mission Health System agreed that getting it right is the secret of what it really takes.

Right. Everything has to be right. That means:

  • The right mindset. Grants are not a quick fix for budget shortfalls. Applying is a labor-intensive effort that might not pay off. Tip: Know the ROI of grant funds.
  • The right team, able and willing to commit significant time and do the homework. It requires knowledge of the literature, existing models and supporting data. Tip: Identify expertise within the organization with grant-writing experience and become best friends.
  • The right project, with the right timing. This means demonstrated need, strategic fit, evidence-based model, established collaborative relationships in the community, an implementation timeline that is a fit with the grant award cycle and a plan for sustainability. Tips: Avoid opportunistic or reactive applications that force fit a project that had not been planned, and have someone with a national perspective vet the project idea.
  • The right process to keep on track. Develop an aggressive timeline to submit two to three days before the deadline. Start early on the long lead-time items. Tip: Instructions are confusing and often conflicting. Don’t hesitate to ask the program officer for clarification.