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7 Must-Ask Questions Before You Write Your Grant

April 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

Sure, you want the grant money. You may need the grant money. But have you truly spent enough time determining why you want or need the grant money? This is important. Read more to find out the 7 questions you should ask before you ever ask for grant funding.

Sometimes, I come across nonprofits that are absolutely desperate for money and they come to me telling me "I need a grant - quick!" When I ask why or for what purpose, some answers I have gotten include that they need money to pay an Executive Director, that the doors are about to close or that their other streams of funding are drying up. Sure, these are reasons that money is needed to keep a nonprofit going but, unfortunately, grant funders really don't care about reasons such as these. Ouch.

I always advise nonprofits to take a step back from what appears to be a dire situation and to get really clear on exactly what they need grant money for. Think about the overall goal of your organization and think about the target client base that you're serving. That's why you're in existence to begin with, right? Your organization is there to fulfill a need that no one else can fill. You're important and your programs are important. And it's your programming that interests a grant funder.

Think about which projects or programs your organization offers and which of those would be most "fundable." That is, which programs are most likely to be attractive to grant makers as an investment and are in need of funding? Funders are interested in different activities, of course, so pay close attention to their preferences in your research of potential grant makers.

When determining which programs might pique a grant funder's interest, it's best to start with an end in mind. What is it that you want to accomplish? Gather your powers that be including staff, Board leadership and key stakeholders, discuss your top priorities and then begin developing grant program ideas based on your discussions. Just for fun, I've included a few questions to get you started in your valuable time together:

  1. Which current projects that you offer are most compatible for grant funding?
  2. What unique features do you offer in your different programs that no one else in the community offers?
  3. What supporters do you have for your different projects?
  4. Can your organization currently undertake the project you're proposing for funding or would it require additional staff and resources?
  5. Does your Board support the programs you want additional funding for?
  6. How much does it cost to offer your programs to the community?
  7. What evaluation method(s) will you use to determine your grant project's success?

These questions will get you started in your pow-wow. Remember, a good rule of thumb is that in successful, funded applications, 80% of time has been spent in planning and only 20% in actual writing. Do your due diligence ahead of time and you will enjoy much greater success.

Betsy Baker is a grant writer, consulting coach and national speaker and is founder of Your Grant Authority. She is dedicated to helping people jumpstart their own work-from-home career and helping nonprofits find a solution to finally end their financial struggles.

FREE grant writing and consulting guides can be found at You may also call 678-240-0402 to share your own struggles, ask key questions and talk about solutions free of charge.

Source: EzineArticles
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