Once you have identified the community needs and determined your eligibility for funds that are applicable to address the needs, you should secure the commitments of your key stakeholders such as board members, contributors, volunteers, advisors, clients and staff, potential partners, and community supporters. Consider the following key issues before making the commitment to proceed with the grant proposal:
- Staff Capacity to Complete the Application
Successful grant writing is a time- and labor-intensive job. If you are new to grant writing, consider attending a workshop or taking a grant writing class, often offered through local community colleges and other organizations. The Grantsmanship Center offers online grant writing assistance to organizations and conducts classes in communities across the country. Online resources are available at http://www.tgci.com/.
- Hiring a Consultant
Hiring someone outside of your organization may be a good choice if you or your staff members lack the time, experience, or expertise to produce a well-researched and well-written proposal. Contracting with a consultant may be a better, less expensive option than trying to hire a new staff person to prepare the application. The right consultant can enable your organization to seek more funding from a wider variety of sources and free your staff to continue to carry out their regular duties. Also, a consultant who is new to the organization can provide a valuable, objective viewpoint.
- A Team Approach
If you do not hire a consultant, it is generally best not to have one individual complete the application process alone. Having one person do everything—planning, writing, reviewing, and editing—may result in a one-dimensional proposal. There may be gaps in the proposal that a single set of eyes cannot see. Also disconnect between the proposal writer and those responsible for implementing the program can lead to later conflicts. Therefore, it is generally best to have a team work with a writer/editor on the proposal. Your team should include your organization’s top-level staff, those responsible for implementation, any organizations who will serve as partners in delivering the program, the person responsible for evaluation, and the individual(s) responsible for developing the budget.