A successful approach to grants takes more than just luck – just ask our resident Irishman Andrew, who hails from Cork and has been a part of the Strategic Grants team for over two years. 

Andrew leads our Grants Expertise Management System (GEMS) calendar building team. He works hand-in-hand with for-purpose organisations to ensure they receive a grants calendar that is unique to them and their funding priorities. 

Instead of leaving finding the right grant opportunities up to chance (and spending a lot of time researching!) GEMS subscribers are getting a custom-built grants calendar taking into account their mission, their funding wish list, their previous grants history, and where their programs are located. 

Andrew shares some of the behind the scenes work that is involved with building a customised grants calendar. While you will see it is a very considered, strategic approach that has nothing to do with luck – there is still a little magic when it comes to GEMS! 

What’s the first step in a customised calendar build? 

Working alongside our team of Grants Strategists, I begin the task of researching and consulting with the organisation receiving the calendar to make sure I fully understand their mission and purpose, their key projects they are seeking funding for and which geographic areas they cover. We also take into account any grant types the organisation wants to focus on (e.g., government grants or medical grants) and the grant value range they want to focus on.  

This information is then matched to backend coding in our GEMS system. We ensure that we are selecting only the categories that are relevant to that individual organisation. That is where the real magic of GEMS starts to happen! Based on the coding, GEMS automatically selects the grants that match that organisation’s profile to include in their grants calendar.  

How does an organisation’s funding priorities, or wish list, come into play? 

We do not just want to build the calendar for the client and then leave them to it, we want to make sure they are benefiting from the day they receive access to their calendar. Using their supplied wish list means we can get them started with some suggestions of funders they can approach as a priority. In fact, we recommend that all grant-seekers, regardless of whether they have GEMS or not, keep an up-to-date wish list of funding needs – having this list of projects, equipment, operational needs, or capital items that need funding for the next 6-12 months is a must for a successful grants strategy. 

What happens when an organisation receives their calendar? 

Organisations can start identifying grant funding opportunities immediately. The filtering capability in GEMS means that if they are searching for funding in a particular location, or under a certain category, they can easily isolate those grants. They can even download their entire calendar into Excel to sort and filter if they prefer. 

Within GEMS, they can track the lifecycle of a grant from when it is just a prospect through to submission and outcome. GEMS also lets them keep track of when the all-important funder reports are due, and they can even add internal notes to grant opportunities, for example – if they gave the funder a call to discuss their project before applying. And, if they use Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT or Salesforce, they can integrate directly with GEMS and have all their grants information pushed directly into the CRM. 

Our regular GEMS training sessions also mean that if questions ever pop up, or they want to connect with others using the system, there is always an opportunity close by! 

While a successful approach to grants takes more than just luck, it’s your lucky day because, for a limited time, we are offering three free months of GEMS! Simply subscribe to a customised GEMS calendar build before the 30th of April and receive a 15-month subscription to GEMS for the price of 12! Reach out to get your customised calendar build started today.