Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity
- Published: Wednesday, 06 April 2016 11:27
Author: Kate Sunners
Writing is the tip of the Iceberg: 10 reasons your organisation needs a grant-seeking strategy.
For most organisations, it’s not going to be news that nonprofits need a strategy around grant-seeking, particularly if you’re here, visiting the Strategic Grants website – really, the name says it all. But for young organisations or small groups who are just beginning to get their heads around grants, it might not be quite so obvious why a grants strategy, the logical step-by-step process that places your organisation in the best position for grants success, is so important.
There are so many reasons, that to avoid overloading you, we made a list of just our top 10.
1. Writing grant applications is just the very tip of the iceberg. Your organisation’s grants strategy underpins and informs literally every part of the grant-seeking process, from project planning, to funder identification, to writing, to funder stewardship.
2. With tens of thousands of charities in NZ and AU, grants are hugely competitive. Organisations with a grants strategy have a much higher possibility of appealing to funders (see point 5).
3. It’s best practice! (Refer to above re: competition. Best practice is something your organisation needs to be aiming for every time!)
4. Why throw energy at something you haven’t planned for? Preparation for grants projects, let alone the grant application writing is a time-consuming process – you want to make sure this is time spent efficiently and that you’ll be getting a return on this time spent over the longer term: this requires strategy!
5. Funders look for preparation, understanding and diligence – having a strategy gives you a leg-up with these three things as it will involve forward planning (=preparation), funder research (=understanding), and shows willingness to be accountable and invest in best practice (=diligence).
6. It makes the grants team’s life so much easier! With the right documents in place you’ll never sit down to the dreaded blank page when writing an application, and you’ll know which grants your organisation should be applying for and when.
7. You’ll have a grants program instead of a list of opportunities with unknown potential for success.
8. You’ll be able to be more responsive to grant deadlines with short lead times.
9. You’ll have a better understanding of the success of your projects, with evaluation built into your strategy, and an easier time of writing funder reports!
10. It will give you an idea of the time and resources you need for grants as compared to your other fundraising types, and an idea of how much time you’ll need to spend on what to ensure a sustainable fundraising mix.
If your organisation needs a refresher on grants strategy, or you are just beginning to seek grants we recommend coming along to one of our Grant-Seeker Workshops. They’re a great place to network and hear about other nonprofit employees’ and volunteers experiences, and you’ll come away with a clear step-by-step approach to implementing a grants strategy and an understanding of why the writing of a grants application really is just the very, very tip of the iceberg.
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