Grant Funding Success: What Are You Going To Do With The Grant?

| November 20, 2019


The most important thing to know is that grant funding is not a quick fix, so if your organization is in need of immediate funding, it may be time to talk to some individual donors, board members or look at some fundraisers that can be implemented quickly. Grant funding typically takes 6-9 months once the first proposal is submitted. Sometimes, an organization may have the good fortune to receive funding quicker than this, but that is really the exception and not the norm.

Whether your organization has a lot of grants under its belt or just starting on this venture, the following strategies will help your organization reap financial success.

  1. Begin locally. While many foundations indicate they are willing to fund on a national level, you are more likely to be successful if you target foundations in your local region. Once you have success locally, then you can expand your efforts to include a broader geographic area. Local funding sources often have a vested interest in supporting organizations that serve in their local community.
  2. Revisit your mission. It is tempting to “tweak” or “adjust” your mission or purpose to qualify for a certain funding opportunity. However, it is always best to stay true to your mission. It is certainly acceptable to revisit your mission statement to ensure it is still accurate and relevant, but this should be a conscious process and not one necessitated because you are “chasing” after grant dollars.
  3. What need are you meeting? It is easy and tempting to focus on the needs of the organization. Without funding, the organization faces hardships and may have to lay-off people or reduce services. This is not what funders want to hear; instead focus on the needs that you are meeting in the community.  Then, you are able to discuss what will happen in the community without your services. Use relevant data to support the needs that your organization will be addressing.
  4. Follow directions. It may see obvious, but far too many organizations fail to follow all directions. Yes, this includes noting the due date and time, following font and page guidelines as well as using the forms provided by the funding source. Your proposal may be evaluated on how well you follow (or not) the directions. By following directions, your proposal will stand out for the right reasons.

The program description provides you with an opportunity to describe your program in detail to the prospective funder. It answers the question, “What are you going to do with the funding if it is received?”  On many scoring rubrics, this section of the proposal is worth about one-third of the total available points. Clearly, if you don’t receive the available points in this section, you are not likely to receive the requested funding.

Include as many details about the program as possible, in the space allotted.  This section is where you will provide information about the methods you will use in the program for which you are seeking funding.  Describe, using action verbs, the activities that are included in the proposed program.  Unless requested elsewhere in the proposal, it is a good idea to include a timeline of how you envision the program occurring.  In many proposals, you will also be asked to provide detail about how the program will be staffed and the hiring criteria for staff.

Ultimately, the program description is your organization’s response to the needs that you have identified and described in the Needs Statement. The needs statement provided an opportunity for you to go into detail about the issues and challenges facing the community you serve, now you have an opportunity to describe how your organization is positioned to address those challenges.  It may be difficult for someone who doesn’t know your organization to make the connection between the stated needs and your program—it is your job to “spell it out” for the reviewer to be certain the connection is made.

Writing a clear program description will increase the likelihood of grant funding success and increased funding for your organization.

A strong project description:

  • Uses action verbs to help the reader visualize the work being done
  • Is realistic in what can be accomplished with the funding requested.
  • Outlines the time frame in which the work will be done
  • Connects the work being done by the organization to the needs identified in the community.

Category: Non-Profits

About the Author ()

Email | Website | Deborah DiVirgilio is a Certified Governance Trainer through BoardSource and has more than 20 years of experience in providing nonprofit consulting, grant writing and management services for nonprofits, government agencies and faith-based organizations. She is the owner and principal consultant of The Faith-Based Nonprofit Resource Center (formally known as DiVirgilio & Associates). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Sciences from Wilmington College and a Masters Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University, and is Grant Professional certified by the Grant Professional Institute. She has served on the Board of Directors and as an officer of the Grant Professionals Association.