Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Grant Writing Success is Just the Beginning

Hearing that your organization has been awarded a grant is exhilarating!  You want to tell everyone.  You want to celebrate your success.  Then it hits you ---grant writing success is only the beginning.

That's right.  While you were focused up to this point on all of the work involved in getting the grant, the real work hasn't even started yet.  The "real work" is all about turning that vision into reality.  It's at this point that you learn some valuable lessons about grant writing, and now is the time to make note of those lessons so you don't have to learn them again, again, and again.

Here are some post-award lessons clients have learned that have helped them to be better grant writers:

  1. A realistic implementation plan and time line are important.  It sounded like a good idea at the time to say that you would get everything going within the first six months of the funding period, but now that you have the money, you understand how impossible that is.  It would have been much more helpful to have a realistic plan and time line to begin with.
  2. Accurate estimation of salary costs can save many headaches later.  Many grant writers like to squeeze more room into a tight grant proposal budget by including salaries at the low end of a salary schedule.,  The problem with that is you rarely hire people at the low end of the schedule.  If there isn't enough wiggle room in the budget to be able to cut elsewhere, you can run into some real trouble when you don't have enough money to hire all the people you said you would.  It makes more sense to use accurate salary estimates and develop a realistic program from the beginning.
  3. Planning the goals, objectives, and evaluation activities to fit the funding source's requirements would have been helpful.  Doing a little bit of extra homework up front to align your project objectives with the required performance measures of the funding source (if there are any) can save many hours of extra work later.  The same goes with evaluation data collection and reporting procedures.  If the funding source has some requirements, learn about them before you write the proposal.  Then you won't have to be scrambling and revising later.
  4. Communicating with all of the project partners and stakeholders in the grant development process saves a lot of explaining later.  Board members don't like to be surprised by things that are in grant proposals - especially when they are asked about them in the community.  Keeping everyone in the loop and involved during the proposal development process saves time and effort later.
A little bit of advanced preparation can help your grant writing success be something you can really celebrate!


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About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.