Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Grants Lessons from the Oscars – Who Knew?

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Author: Harriett Carter

 

The Oscars. The glamour, the celebrities, the schmaltz – the whole big show. I love it, a lot.

Yesterday’s 89th Academy Awards, however, didn’t go entirely to plan. One big mistake, a couple of unscripted surprises and yet still the generous scattering of wonderful moments that confirm my affection for the shiny little gold guy.

So, here it is – the top 3 lessons any diehard grant seeker (and Oscars tragic) can put into play today.

1. Things go wrong
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Shock, horror – human error is a thing. If mistakes can be made at one of the world’s most rehearsed, choreographed events, then you can guarantee the same will happen at one point or another with your grant project. And that’s OK. Your grant funder doesn’t expect that things won’t go wrong along the way but what they do expect is that you’ll keep them in the loop. What’s more, when it comes time to prepare your final report, let your funder know what you learnt and how you’ll work towards mitigating similar problems in the future.

2. Details, details, details

If your application is going to contain an error, you can guarantee 9 times out of 10 it will be the super-obvious detail – like the name of a category on an envelope. Before you submit, remember to proof and proof again AND double check all those details that sometimes go awry – names, dates, addresses, phone numbers and dollars.

3. Celebrate

While I’m not suggesting you spontaneously air-drop little parachutes of candy into your funder’s office, make sure you take them along the journey with you. When your project hits an important milestone, or you receive an unexpected piece of genuinely wonderful feedback – send it through to your funder. We all love to be thanked and included and funders are no different. Remember they’ve committed more than money to your organisation. They’ve invested faith in your ability to make great things happen.